Following the steps they take
With every step, I grew closer to the goal. The next village was only a couple hours away. I turned to look at the path we had covered and realized we had gained significant elevation in the past few minutes. I wiped my brow from sweat and needed a quick water break. My guide, Madan, and I leaned on a rock aside the path.
We briefly chatted about some of the beautiful 20,000-foot mountains upon the elevated horizon. Their names, history and local folklore are unique and thought provoking. Upon exhale, Madan and I noticed two Nepali teens quickly approaching in front of us. Gracefully powering down the carved stone path, both girls were holding bags with books in them. As they passed, I smiled and said "Khusi Ko Jindagi” meaning “cheers to life!” They returned the smile with a polite “Namaste,” as they passed us on their way to school.
“Madan,” I exclaimed, “are they going to school? I don’t think we have passed a village for 30 minutes!” Apparently, we had passed a small school almost an hour before, those girls were on their way to their first class of the day. Over the past five days of our trek, we had seen many other kids passing us but this time it held different merit. This time, I began to understand where they were coming from and where they were going. Curiosity shattered listless apathy, I was no longer only considering my trek, and I began to think more about theirs.
Questions flew through my mind like a busy intersection. ‘Where did these girls come from, what type of village do they live in, what type of family do they live with, come from, associate with, socialize with, not get along with, how, why and since when? What is their school like? Anything like the Indian school I had been teaching in for the past few months? How many people were in the classes, what would they learn, is it taught well….could they use some help?’
Bam! It hit me like an airbag, saving my wandering business mind and focusing it on a way to help others. ‘I bet if there were western teachers in the classroom, the students would not only learn more but they would come to class more often and increase their motivation. I also bet that westerners would love to live here and teach those kids, too!’ Inspiration hit and it hit hard. The following day, after discussing the idea with a school in a beautiful village, and them gladly accepting the idea, the business name surfaced like a deep ocean bubble. It would be called Trek to Teach.
Those moments of inspiration are the ones that remind us we are alive. They give us that extra drive, a motivating push that we often desire. It is not easy to come by, but I believe it is more often achieved when in the processes of giving back to others. The happiness that you can attain from knowing that your efforts have made the lives of others better is deeply gratifying and inspiring. Those two students, who politely passed me on my trek through Nepal’s Himalayas, were on their way to school that day. What did they learn, and what could they have learned?
Teaching is among the greatest ways to give back. Giving knowledge to an eager mind is fulfilling in every sense of the word. Recall the most influential people in your life; it is likely that a teacher gave you more direction and insight than any celebrity or sports star. The students in Nepal have great people teaching their classes, but over the years, perhaps they will all merge together. Having a Western teacher with a positive message in their classroom will allow them to shift from monotony; they will remember the teacher and the message for the rest of their lives.
That teacher can be you! That message can be your own! Be the change you want to see in the world and gain perspective like you never would have considered. The opportunity is out there, the first step is the most difficult and yet, it is a simple click, TrektoTeach.org!
“Inspiration through Elevated Education.”
Brad is the founder of Trek to Teach, believes in Traveler's Karma, passion and living the dream! He's also our Trek to Teach Editor. You can learn more about Trek to Teach at http://trektoteach.org/
All photos courtesy and copyright Trek to Teach.