Namaste, Pranam & Salam & Shu Swagatam!
First of all I would like to congratulate you and want to welcome you on an incredible journey in the beautiful Himalayas! I want to thank you for choosing the Nepal Summer program 2019 and taking one of the biggest decisions of your life to spend 4 weeks learning about this beautiful part of the world. Nepal has many fascinating traditions and is a very spiritual place.
I am sitting on the banks of the Ganges River and watching a ceremony here while writing this Yak. My name is Saurabh Kumar Pandey, and I am from Varanasi, India. I grew up in a middle class Hindu family in a village two hours outside of Varanasi. My grandfather was a farmer, so I helped so I used to help him on the farms when I was a child. There was no school in my village so I used to walk 5 kilometers everyday for study, but that was a fun part of my life. The first time I got to meet Dragons students was when they came for a homestay in my village to learn about rural life. My uncle also works with Dragons, and he has been my guru (teacher) who has taught me so many things in my life. Seeing my uncle’s dedication to his work with Dragons and the way he worked with students inspired me a lot because he was teaching about our culture and traditions about our country, all the while learning about the world. I realized there is still so much I have to learn about this world. I felt so blessed when my uncle invited me to Varanasi to attend high school and college, because neither exist in my village.
When I moved to Varanasi, I got the chance to host Dragons students in my home and become a part of the Dragons family at same time. I started teaching Hindi and little bits about my culture. After finishing my schooling, I was invited to help on Dragons programs, meet students who were my age, and learn about the methodology and philosophy. During this time I graduated with degrees in sociology and philosophy, and completed a Master’s in Indian philosophy and religion from Benaras Hindu University. After all this time, it’s a joy to look back and realize that I have been working with Dragons since 2005.
I am excited to work with my colleagues this summer. Nick is very wonderful teacher and I learned a lot from him when we worked together last fall. I am also looking forward to working and learning with my sweet sister Shanti as she is great person who knows a lot about Nepal. I am also getting ready to meet you all and learn from everyone. This will be my first time working in Nepal and it is a big opportunity for me!
I hope you are all ready to begin our journey up into the beautiful Himalayas, where we will get to challenge ourselves along the ups and downs of the mountain contours, similar to life. This is the first lesson to learn! We will follow many beautiful rivers and learn from them to be like water. Nepal contains so many colors and histories, religions, different foods, and welcoming hearts. Get ready for the many flavors of Nepali cultures and cuisine!
I am really excited to meet you all and share my experience and knowledge. I hope to make this 2019 summer Traditions Of Himalayas program the best time of your life. We’ll lots of fun at the same time as learning a lot. If you have any question related to our program, you can post them here on the Yak board. You can also email me at the address below.
Welcome you all and thank you one more time,
PS: This picture is in the biggest point of happiness in my life: my daughter!