By Naomi Yakawich
“You don't always need a house to make it a home and you don't always need books to learn lessons.”
Global Peace Youth Exchange delegates embarked on an unforgettable outdoor adventure following their participation in the Global Peace Leadership Workshop held in Nepal from April 21-27.
The youth division of Global Peace Foundation (GPF) challenges young leaders with outdoor adventure programs as an essential and irreplaceable component of leadership and character development. Nature treats every human being the same, no matter our nationality, ethnicity, or religious or political beliefs. In nature, we learn to see each other and ourselves for who we really are, growing as individuals and as members of a larger team. As heard in an African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Beginning with a cultural and service expedition to Nepal’s Patle village, a remote community hit by the devastating earthquake in 2015, one GPYE delegate was deeply touched by the kind welcome of the villagers, many of whom were living out of temporary houses made of tin and wood. Their attitude was so overwhelming that Isha Poudel could easily overlook what the villagers lacked and instead pointed out the wealth of compassion and happiness saying, “You don't always need a house to make it a home and you don't always need books to learn lessons.”
The GPYE adventurers were sure to learn many new lessons as they took on the rapids of Trishuli River and the steep heights of Poon Hill. Facing their challenges and fears together, the delegates rafted for three hours through the rushing river, learning the importance of teamwork and recognizing the unique value of each member of their team. The rapids seemed to wash away the Global Peace Volunteers differences and bring them even closer together.
Joyce Cuerbo from the Philippines described the outdoor challenge as the greatest way to discover her strengths and weaknesses. “The experience of meeting everybody, from the locals to different nationalities, broadened my perception and vision of the world.”
Upon reaching the summit of their mountain challenge after four long days, Farah Afzan Faridi from Malaysia reflected, “It is not about the success of reaching the top but how all of us could manage to reach the top together through our leadership.”
“It is not about the success of reaching the top but how all of us could manage to reach the top together through our leadership.”
Filipino delegate Yussef Paglas was transformed by the adventure. “Traveling with people from across the nations and sharing stories about each other’s lives has made me realize how amazingly connected we all are. This program gave me inner strength to face the obstacles in my life.”