When I went searching for the translation of the word “Namaste”; a word I used repeatedly a year ago while volunteering and traveling across Nepal, I came across the definition that Mohandas Gandhi offered Einstein in response to a letter of inquiry Albert sent him after seeing silent TV footage of the hands in prayer greeting he offered everyone who came to see him.

“What are you saying to them and what does it mean?” Einstein wrote

Gandhi replied:


“I honor the place in you where the entire universe dwells. I honor the place in you that is of light, love, truth, peace and wisdom. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, We Are One.”

I can not think of a more beautiful greeting, a more beautiful good bye or a more beautiful thank you. I now understand, one year later, why I found the word so inviting and so easy to share. If you practice Yoga, as my fiance does, virtually every session requires that Namaste be spoken at the beginning and end of every exercise and when you use it as Gandhi did then it calls to mind a symphony of relationship and respect.

While I served in Nepal with the Nepal Volunteer Council (NVC) that respect was everywhere. Voices were never raised once while I was there and even when there were differences of opinion the respect offered by the leadership of the council, always in quiet response, was unlike any other I experienced around the world.

It is not difficult to understand why the people of Nepal, even when they have so little, manage a day to day relationship with their Universe with such a calm and peaceful manner and how we in the West might view that as being slow to action or indicate a lack of motivation.

In our hurried existence we are taught to accomplish quickly and meet unreasonable deadlines. We tend to think that if something remains uncompleted then it is the same as unaccomplished. We can’t distinguish between purposefulness and immediacy. This in fact is our downfall in many respects.

We in the west don’t want to give people; be it our leaders, our friends, our families, our jobs or our companions more time than we think appropriate to “get it done”. To often we set unreasonable goals and we rush to a self imposed deadline that may not be part of the Universal harmony of task.

The founder and leader of the NVC; Keshab Acharya, is quite a story. By the age of 23 he was a principle of a school in Khatmandu and then after quiet contemplation he decided to start a volunteer program in Nepal to bring among other philanthropic ideals; a better education to children and provide comfort and relief to the people of his country who were not getting it from conventional means.

After I had the good fortune of spending time with him in November 2011 I learned a lot about contemplative motivation and why the NVC was an important organization to support. When I arrived with my friend Ana we were greeted with that serene Namaste and every day started and ended with this expression of respect and unity.

The NVC have a methodical approach to aid. They provide tutors to enhance the experience and education of numerous schools in their supported community; they provide scholarships to students who show an exceptional work ethic, direct assistance to a home for eight orphaned boys and they provide medical care to patients who can’t afford it.



The NVC has never rushed to place volunteers ahead of their readiness to serve and they quietly approach everything they do with a patient sense of value; even when there is only a small amount of progress that can be measured. Something we social entrepreneurs in the west sometimes forget as meaningful.



There are many opportunities available to sponsors who have a heart for the people of Nepal. Volunteering with NVC is just one of them but this adventure at the top of the world is truly like no other. I can not recommend it highly enough. Reach out to us at Orchid so we can better introduce you to all the possibilities available to you at NVC. If you think you would like to get involved we would love to facilitate it on your behalf.

Just send a comment to this blog and we will be certain to respond quickly to your inquiries.





Leave A Comment