Continuano i nostri Quarantine Journeys con Olha e la sua avventura in Nepal.

di Olha Vozna

Ogni giorno vediamo decine di fotografie e video dal mondo ma non sono mai abbastanza per descrivercelo.

A year ago, in the first days of April 2019, I, Andrea Morghen, Michele Colombo and Matteo Campestrini set off to discover Nepal. For Andrea it was not the first time, as director of Religion Today Film Festival he had already been to Kathmandu to participate in the Human Rights International Film Festival and now he was coming with me and Michele, two participants of the international project “Youth on the routes of cinema and solidarity ”, And Matteo collaborator of Religion Today, to present the film“ Alganesh ”in competition at the festival and to accompany us to visit the projects of Trentino international solidarity.

Arriving in Kathmandu (like in Dhaka which I had visited two years earlier) again gave me a jolt to the perception of life and the world. Every day we see dozens of photographs and videos from the world but they are never enough to describe it. Immersing yourself in that reality so different from ours as soon as you leave the airport causes a certain shock. The succession of days full of extraordinary events transforms the “shock” into a continuous wonder.

On the same evening of our arrival, after meeting the organizers of the festival and seeing some Nepali friends who had been our guests in Trento, we met Federica. She organized visits to some of the little train projects outside the capital.

Abbiamo avuto modo di visitare non solo Kathmandu, ma anche la bellezza della natura, dei templi e delle altre città

In the first days of our trip we were busy attending the cinema hall of the festival. We watched various films and discussed the films with directors from all over the world. I remember with great pleasure that we met our Bengali, Korean and Kazakh friends met at the Dhaka International Film Festival and a friendship was born with two Danish directors with whom we spent hours discussing the films seen, the creation and production of films in general. . We were also able to visit Kathmandu’s Durbar Square where Hanuman Dhoka is located, a complex of structures with the Royal Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After the festival we got on an off-road vehicle with the Nepalese guide Lilabahadur, who spoke perfect Italian. We headed to visit the Rarahil Memorial School, one of the Trentino international projects in Nepal. After visiting the school we were welcomed into the home for women victims of violence, managed by the Apeiron association. Many women wanted to share their stories and show us how their life was changing for the better in that refuge. Finally in the afternoon we visited the Pashupatinath Temple: Shiva Temple, on the banks of the sacred Bagmati river, a place of pilgrimage and cremation of the dead. A funeral was taking place while we were there and the cremation was taking place before our eyes. This religious site is considered to be the holiest in the world for Hindus.

The next day we set out on an adventure in a, as the boys called it, a “short” trek. For me it was a big challenge to get to the destination. We started from a small village that led us into the dense forest crossing one of the famous suspension bridges. As we walked the landscapes kept changing. From the woods we passed through fields to arrive at a central road in a mountain village. Small detail: the night before it had rained, we were walking in the most complete mud of this dirt country road that did not have time to dry, sinking to the ankles.

Mentre camminavamo, i paesaggi continuavano a cambiare

We met some women who carried fresh grass in large baskets to feed the animals. These women walked confidently barefoot on rough paths, where I thought I would fall down the next step. We had lunch with momo, Nepalese ravioli stuffed with meat and spices, in an inn in a country that showed us the way to our destination: Namo Buddha. This is a very picturesque Buddhist monastery, where legend has it that the Buddha fed the flesh of his body to a hungry tiger with cubs.

After another two hours of walking, when I thought I had reached the monastery, hundreds of steps awaited us that took us to the top of the mountain with prayer flags all around. A thousand colors accompanied our journey to the temple. Once we arrived we admired the breathtaking view and dined with the young students of the monastery in their dining room, kneeling in front of a small wooden table.

Mille colori accompagnavano il nostro cammino verso il tempio…

Our last day ended with a visit to the Deupur school, whose construction is supported by the Associazione Amici Trentini ONLUS. It is located along the slopes of a mountain, with a view of a vast valley and the Himalayas in the distance. To reach this school, many children make a walk of up to an hour along the mountain paths. Finally we went to the SOS village, family homes where orphaned children are adopted and live the normal life of a family, attending school and doing housework. A couple can accommodate up to 10 children and, despite being an adoptive family, a bond is created as between parents and children.

We got to visit not only Kathmandu and its historical places, but also the beauty of nature, temples and other cities. We met new people and met old friends. In the Buddhist monastery we looked inside and reflected in silence and peace. We have seen the difficulties of many Nepalese in facing each day but also their strong and deep spirituality.

Colors, smells, traffic, nature, temples, people, flags with prayers… All of this has settled somewhere in my memory. And sometimes, unexpectedly, it takes me back there and I relive, again and again, those places and that journey.


After this adventure in Nepal, why not continue traveling with other Quarantine Journeys? We also take you to Kenya, Bolivia and India!

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