Part 4 of the Storytelling Series in Nepal: The Beauty of Our Journey
Rasmi Dangol currently serves as the Accountability Assistant for HelpAge International Nepal, where she has worked since 2014. She has been an instrumental player in the Hilton Prize Coalition Storytelling Program in Nepal, supporting Steve Connors, the Master Storyteller, and working alongside the In-Country Coordination team. In this piece, Rasmi reflects on her experience as a young Nepali woman finding a balance with the people she has met during discussions of how the April 2015 earthquake affected people and communities.
The Beauty of Our Journey
by Rasmi Dangol
I have been fortunate enough to have spent hours and hours in our working areas, supporting our beneficiaries and communities, spending many nights inside hotel rooms whose walls and windows seemed to veer slightly every now and then. I have seen many older people cry tears of relief and joy when we have handed out what we in HelpAge believe to be ‘age-friendly’ earthquake relief support materials to our communities affected by the April 2015 earthquake. These materials are distributed so that their immediate medicinal, nutritional, or simple everyday needs can be met. Few moments have been as innately complete and resonant as the one I just concluded with my small team of five – Steve Connors, our director, Amul, my new friend at SOS Children’s Villages, Shyam dai, our cameraman, and Dawa dai, our fearless warrior behind the wheel.
When my supervisor first described the job details for the Storytelling documentary, I had just treated the meeting like our usual meetings – talk about work to be done, data to be updated, beneficiaries to meet, and so on. When he asked me if I was interested in being the coordinator, this is when my heart skipped a beat! I was pleasantly nervous about it!
Then, from the first introductory call, I knew that the Storytelling project would be a good project to work on. Now, the entire pre-production work has almost wrapped up, and I suspect Steve is probably taking in more than his normal daily espresso intake as he works furiously on post-production. Each one of us is now back to our work, busy as always. But every now and then, I take a moment to think and remember that one month – where all five of us, representatives from organisations who barely knew one another, just clicked and brought this documentary into fruition in a spirit that was almost extraordinary on its own.
All together from six organizations – BRAC, Handicap International, HelpAge International, Heifer International, SOS Children’s Villages, and Operation Smile – we were able to capture the stories of people including key staff members, beneficiaries and stake holders that were impacted by the 2015 earthquake and aftershocks. When I look back on the overall memories of our time together, the travels, the endless conversations, the occasional highway stop to take in the ‘beauty of our journey,’ and when I hear words of gratitude and thanks from all, I truly feel that I have contributed a small, wee bit.
Of course, a collaborative effort like this is only possible when you have the support and encouragement of everyone you work with. And I can safely say that that has happened. For everything that has transpired, especially in the course of my involvement with the Storytelling movement, I am truly grateful.
(Rasmi – 3rd from right, connects with HelpAge beneficiaries in Sindhupalchowk district during Nepal Storytelling program)
(Storytelling Team, L to R: Amul, Dawa, Steve, Shyam and Rasmi, Helambu Village Development Committee in Sindhupalchowk District)