The track is a thin slash of uneven rocks and dirt wriggling around the most breathtaking of mountain regions. Trudging in mid morning heat we skirt a ridge and suddenly there is Tari, a small, weathered settlement in this craggy eastern part of Nepal, reports Aurora.
About 50 men, women and children plus several chooks, a couple of dogs and three piglets are out to welcome us.
Our guide and mentor, Yadav Gurung, says locals heard three Australians were coming to help install solar lights in the Salyan Health Centre (about another hour’s walk) and the Tari community wanted to show its gratitude.
Women rub a bright red powder on our foreheads and soft white scarves and garlands of fresh pink bougainvillea flowers are draped round our necks.
We are seated on grass mats in a dusty courtyard surrounded by thatch roofed stone and mud homes. Everyone looks on as a few youngsters try to catch the piglets. Soon a man shoos the would-be catchers and piglets away.
Men from Tari sit with us and a bowl of oranges is offered on a metal plate. As the fruit is shared Yadav says we’re the first foreigners to receive such a welcome from these financially poor people.
Words stick in my throat as tears struggle to be free and then a smile floats to my lips on the hope of at least one little piglet making good their escape.
Language cannot capture how humbling it is to dwell in this silent moment.
It is no dream, we really have trekked into a magical country and the wide-eyed gaze of villagers and the unforgettable taste of their oranges are something of what we will take home with us. This feeling is surely much more than we could possibly leave behind.
FULL STORY Untethered (Aurora)