I am so thankful for the time, energy and effort put forth by the Cultural Society of India to raise monetary relief for the earthquake victims of Nepal. The Nepal Earthquake Relief Fundraiser organized by the Cultural Society of India challenged the communities of Owensboro, Newburgh and Evansville to donate money in response to the damage caused by the two cataclysmic earthquakes in late April and early May in Nepal. These earthquakes, epicentered in the midwest and eastern parts of this tiny country, rocked the capital of Kathmandu, reducing many parts of the ancient city to rubble. The Cultural Society of India, led by Dr. Mahesh Moolani, mourning the loss of those culturally similar to them, were stirred to action. The fundraiser, which featured dinner from the kitchen of acclaimed Chopped chef Maneet Chauhan, entertainment from classically-trained Indian musicians and live and silent auctions, raised over $110,000 for earthquake relief.
I was blown away by the efforts of the Cultural Society of India and the generous outpouring of the community of Owensboro. The country and people of Nepal hold a special place in my heart. For the last seven years, my wife and I, along with our three kids, have lived in Kathmandu, Nepal. We were sent there in 2006 as missionaries with the International Mission Board. Although our lives were centered in Kathmandu, a portion of our work required several trips a year into remote mountainous areas. Our vision was to share the love of God with the people of Nepal, most of whom have never had the opportunity to hear the good news of Christ. During our time in Nepal, we were involved with sustainable literacy, healthcare and development projects, aiming to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of the people.
Nepal is an extremely beautiful country. From the rolling foothills of the Himalayas, with cities developed in valleys and along ancient trade routes, to the snow-capped peaks of Mount Everest, the scenery and unchartered landscape of Nepal is unrivaled. At the same time, Nepal can be a very difficult place to live. With daily power outages, shortages of natural resources like water, gas and petrol, unmitigated government corruption, traffic, pollution, lack of infrastructure and a consistent feeling of social unrest, along with violent and non-violent protests erupting almost weekly, the climate of life in the capital can be difficult to weather.
Although Nepal has struggled to keep pace with the development of surrounding countries, there is a sense of pride in the uniqueness and self-sustainability of Nepal. The geographical beauty of Nepal is accented by the beauty found in the people of Nepal. The people there are a warm, inviting and hospitable people; always willing to open their homes and share their culture. The Nepali people are also very resilient. With the Himalayas to the north and the flood plains of India to the south, the country, once a collection of autonomous, Himalayan kingdoms, has withstood invasion from the north and south and colonization from the west for centuries. Nepalis are passionate about their independence and the preservation of their culture. They are proud of their heritage and the unique place they hold at the rooftop of the world. They are an unconquerable people, surviving in the harshest conditions on earth. Whether in the sweltering, flooded rice fields to the south or the rugged, nearly inhabitable mountainous terrain to the north, the people of Nepal have found a way to thrive in this gem of Asia.
This indomitable spirit gives me hope for the future of Nepal. Although the earthquakes in April and May ravaged Kathmandu and utterly wiped out entire villages west of the capital (like Langtang, Gorkha and Rasuwa), causing mass casualties (death toll nearing 10,000) and incalculable property damage, the people of Nepal have responded with strength and courage. They’ve selflessly sacrificed for the sake of others and rallied together as a people for the goal of rebuilding Nepal. They’ve not lost hope and have demonstrated an unwavering resolve to rise from the rubble of brick and mortar, to heal from untold heartache and loss and to once again press on toward becoming a great nation.
Many in Owensboro gave sacrificially to assist the people of Nepal in this time of recovery. On behalf of my family and my Nepali brothers and sisters, thank you!
Bo and Summer Alexander are on a 2 year leave of absence from the International Mission Board. They currently live in Owensboro, where Bo is the Accounts Director for the Publications of Tanner+West.