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NEPAL, WE MORN WITH YOU. WE PRAY WITH YOU. WE DREAM WITH YOU.
December 31, 2015
A year ago today, on the 25th of April 2014, I was boarding a plane in Kathmandu which would take me to Doha before a connecting flight brought me home to Switzerland. Those two weeks spent in Nepal aiding children in need at the Sagarmatha orphanage altered the way I view the world. I left this fascinating country feeling ever more grateful for the luck of being born in such a wealthy and developed world, but also wanting to offer everything I could to the ones who need our help.
This morning, a year later, an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 devastated the country. The epicenter located less than 50 miles from Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, has placed the death toll at over 1,500. This number keeps increasing every minute.
Below is a (reviewed) report I wrote last year about the Nepal Mission, it explores dream jobs of the orphans and the students who took part in the mission. It was fascinating to realize that we all dream of the same things. Even though we come from completely different backgrounds, live in different worlds socially, culturally and economically, we still dream the same.
So tonight when you are lying in your warm bed, with a safe roof over your head, take a minute to not only be grateful for the life you were born into, but to send your thoughts out to the hundreds of thousands of children and adults who will be spending the night out on the street, scared, cold, hungry. Nepal, we mourn with you. We pray with you. We dream with you.
I was fortunate enough to be selected to partake in a humanitarian mission this year, taking place in Nepal. This country has fascinated me for many years, and it was top on my list of countries I wanted to visit in my lifetime. After spending two weeks in Nepal, I’m glad to say it reached and exceeded my expectations. It’s a very special country full of breath-takings scenery, majestic temples and wonderful people. We spent a lot of time at the Sagarmatha orphanage and this gave us a chance to befriend the remarkable orphans. Every single one of them has their own story and their own personality; but all of them are joyful, caring and united.
For my report I thought it would be interesting to ask some of the orphans what their dream job would be, forgetting about issues such as money, skill and location. In other words, what they would love to spend their whole life doing. And with this compare what the students that came on the trip would want to spend their life doing to see if there is a link; despite the enormous cultural, economic and geographical difference.
I started by asking some students on the trip as I thought it would be more straightforward to them, as we are asked this question frequently. Carl’s dream would be to play football at a professional level, Zachdreams of being a football manager. Lia would like to be a writer and Julia a doctor. Raph’s dream job would take him cruising down the mountain as a professional skier. Noémie would love to be a commercial fashion designer in a big metropolitan city like London or New York. Mine would be to to make a living out of music. Note that it took me a bit of prying to really get the person to picture their dream job. Some of them answered by giving me the job they were most likely going to be performing in a few years. This shocked me and made me realize that most people in our society don’t even bother dreaming anymore, because they convince themselves that the chance of those dreams becoming reality are slim, but to me dreams are probably the most important aspect in life.
As we can see, the students from Switzerland dream big, and all of them have a degree of fame and achievement linked to them. There is however a broad range, varying from sports to arts and medicine.
I asked some orphans what their dream job was and where they’d first heard of it. Aniland Rezin want to be professional skateboarders after watching skateboard videos on YouTube. Dawa’s dream would be to rock the stage as a professional guitarist in a band. He loves watching people play guitar in videos, but also in the streets in Nepal. Ganesh wants to be a cook. He helps a lot with the cooking at the orphanage. Dilip would love to be a footballer, and after playing with him several times during our stay, I can assure you he is already a very good footballer and on good tracks.
As we can see, there is not much difference between the dreams of the Nepalese kids and the dreams of the Swiss students. Even though we come from completely different backgrounds and live in a different culture and economic situation, we still have similar visions of our ‘dream’ job. In both cases, we see a prominent dream of professional success in sports like Carl, Zach and Dilip interested in football, Raph in skiing and Anil and Rezin in skateboarding. There are also the arts, with Noémie wanting to be a designer, Dawa a guitarist and myself a musician. And then in both cases there are other dreams, like Julia wanting to be a doctor and Ganesh wanting to be a cook.
I find these results fascinating. I have to say I expected such results, but I still find it extraordinary that teenagers living so far apart, coming from such different backgrounds and living completely different lives, still have similar visions of what they would dream of doing when they are older. Our society and culture promotes individuality, pushes us to live our dreams, yet it is organized in such a way to condemn these individualities. Most people in my entourage don’t even have dream jobs anymore, or when asked what their dream job would be, their answer is the job they will most likely end up doing in the future. I find this saddening, that most of us will spend our life doing things that we might not even like, when it is so obvious that there are certain paths that seem to provide joy and make people dream.
Overall I think this trip has changed the way I will view the world as a whole. We live in a time where globalization is at its peak, where it has never been so easy to travel and meet people from around the world, but I feel that as a human race we’ve never been so trapped under domes. To be able to discover new countries and new cultures, and to meet people who come from unimaginably different backgrounds is what we should live for. To me life is about discovering who you are, about knowing what person you are and what trace you want to leave behind you; and this trip is one step further down the path I want to take.