Every morning in the village, we were startled awake by the sound of chickens clucking and fires crackling. Although feeling groggy, we were encouraged to get out of bed by the smell of दुधको चिया (milk tea) and रोटि (tortillas) that our ama and buba had prepared for our village families. One sip of tea and one bite of our breakfast (which we ate with our right hand) and we were ready for the day to begin.
Our village homestay taught us that a tight knit community is crucial for the success of a small village such as Ale Gaun. Every member of the community played a minor but essential role in supporting the community. Some families took care of chickens, goats, and cows in order to provide milk, eggs, and poultry not only for their own families but to others as well. Every morning, the amas hiked to cut grass and branches for the animals to produce food for the village families. We joined our amas one day in the jungle hillside and carried back large loads on baskets that hung from our foreheads. Carrying the baskets was difficult and a bit uncomfortable and it taught us how important their work was, even though the task seemed small.
We will never forget the compassion that every community member held for their work and for their neighbors.This experience was one of the clearest times we have seen and felt how individual contribution, no matter how big or small, can result in a community that is fully supported and successful.