A transforming trek

On a humanitarian trip to the Himalayas, an Australian poet and writer finds life-changing views and healing.

ONE SATURDAY AFTERNOON in July 2002, my wife, Jodie, and I wandered into an opportunity shop in a neighboring country town. The shop was called "Shed the Light," and that's exactly what it did for us. As well as stocking interesting recycled clothes, the shop had framed photos on the walls of villages, an orphanage, and amazingly happy-looking little children. Sue, the woman who owned the shop, told us that she used all the profits to support an orphanage in Katmandu, Nepal, and a village on the slopes of the Himalayas. Jodie and I were both blown away by her love and commitment to these people.

Over a coffee across the road from the shop, both Jo and I were thinking the same thing: "How can we help?" By the end of that day we had made a travel booking for a three-week trip to Nepal. Six weeks later we arrived at Katmandu International Airport, carrying one hundred kilograms (220 pounds) of clothes, books, toys, writing materials, and bed linen, all kindly donated by the good people of the community in which we live.

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