Guest Column: Going Home to Khushi Ghar

Katie Naber

HCC Supporter Katie Naber wrote a guest column about her visits to HCC Youth Home Khushi Ghar. Check out her reflection on her most recent visit in November of 2017. 

HCC Katie with Students

Katie with students in 2011

My first time visiting Nepal was in 2011 to teach English to the students of Himalayan Children’s Charities. I spent a couple of months working with the eager students on their grammar, pronouncing “th” or “sh” words, and even a day of learning to swim at the local pool. I was there to teach children and experience Nepal and fell deeply in love with the country and the people, especially those at HCC’s youth home Khushi Ghar, or “Happy Home” in Nepali. My time there was a whirlwind of Nepali phrases, dancing, beautiful clothing, rhythmic music, building relationships, new tastes, and juicy mangoes. I delighted in the lifestyle and culture and felt immensely connected to my Nepali family. Since returning back home, my mind has been focused on finding ways to stay connected with the people I met in Kathmandu who added so much happiness to my life, looking for the next opportunity when I could travel back to see them again.

I had that chance in November 2017. The day I arrived in Kathmandu was a lively day. Leaving the airport, I couldn’t believe the added traffic and new construction within the city, a place where more people were flocking to live, work, or visit, and now catering more to tourists.

Katie Naber

Khushi Ghar in Nov. 2017

With great excitement, I took a cab to Khushi Ghar. Through the gates, I was greeted by my Nepali family in such a loving way that made me feel as if little time had passed since I was last there, and as though I have remained a cherished member of the family. Outside, the city had changed, but inside, I felt the same warmth and love I had experienced before. Through my stay, the tastes of masala tea and smells of turmeric, curry, rice, and vegetables brought me back to my first time here. We reminisced over my lessons, creating art, and funny stories. I learned about the accomplishments of the students. It’s hard to believe that those I worked with so closely when they were children are now young adults in graduate school, working in fulfilling jobs, and some even married. Little Dikshant, son of Khushi Ghar’s loving house parents, is now 12, loves making omelets and is learning how to play the piano. I also met a new member of the family, Bob, who brings laughter and mischievous liveliness to the home.

HCC Nepal Sharing Laughs

Sharing laughs in Kathmandu

Now, a small and strong team works together within Khushi Ghar – including some of the students that I worked with. No one is more important than another, as all play vital roles and work together in maintaining what HCC stands for: education, compassion, and opportunity. They have developed new projects benefiting children affected by the earthquake, creating awareness for anti-trafficking, guiding a new generation of students to live fulfilled lives, and in all, creating change that will benefit their country and future generations.

Though some of the familiar faces have grown up, their hearts and energy are the same. It’s beautiful to see and to be reminded of how they have a greater emphasis on relationships in Nepal with family and friends. Though my stay was brief, I look forward to when I will go back again to our Happy Home.