In less than a week, my husband and our 2 younger daughters - who aren't really so young anymore - will be leaving for another adventure, this one in Kathmandu, Nepal. We will be spending 6 days at an orphanage that my kid's school has had ties to for over a decade, having sent supplies, money and able-bodied teens and teachers there for weeks of service and fun. My own family has gotten to know the place well over the years. Child #1 and #2 spent time there when they were in high school; Child #3 has been 4 times already and Child #4 is anxious to follow in her sibling's footsteps. My husband and I feel the same way.
This trip is not just about service, though. We will also be traveling with a local film crew who, after hearing about the relationship between our school and the orphanage, decided they would like to make a documentary about it. At first I was concerned. I was worried what it would be like to travel to a third-world country where people are often times exploited, and whether or not the people I would be traveling with might have a different agenda than ours. I was worried they were going to try to make a film that focused on the idea of: "Wonderful White People Spending Their Spring Break Helping Those Less Fortunate Than Them".
But after many meetings and time together, I feel differently. And when the director asked Child #3 why she keeps wanting to go back, my daughter quickly explained, "It has very little to do with the projects we do there or even handing over the money we've raised throughout the year to help them out. I mean, I know those things are important and all. But for me? I have to be honest. I go back because of the people. They're my friends. Sure, they may be growing up different from me, but we're not that different, really. I miss them. And they miss me."
So, regardless of what the film crew's agenda may be, I know my kid has her own. And this is why I'm going. This I've got to see.