Gautam, our Chief Finance Officer in Nepal, took a one month whirlwind trip to the USA during May-June of this year. It was a fun filled work+adventure for him who was visiting the USA for the first time and who spent half of his visit working away at our Colorado office. Below we revisit Gautam’s visit through excerpts from his tour diary as we prepare for another board meeting this fall.
dZi Office, Ridgway
Date – May 23- 25, May 31, June 1-2
I flew for over 40 hours and finally arrived in Ridgway. It is just like our working areas in Nepal because there are snowy mountains and green hills all around. The town is smaller than I expected and people are very friendly. Worked with our US team, attended a fundraising event (also my first time seeing our Jim dai in Action), and learnt how the US side communicates with our donors and larger network. Our US team shows me around a lot during our evenings and weekends. They also take me to the beautiful beautiful Black Canyon hiking.
Date: May 26-27
Even before being in the US, I knew the importance weekend held over there, so I am thankful to all the board members who came to the board meeting which was on a weekend. I meet all of our members and advisors. I got to be part of visioning sessions and discussion related to dZi’s sustainability. On the second day, I also had to do a presentation on financial update of Nepal Country Office. I am quite nervous at the beginning, but in no time it becomes fun as everybody are so engaged with what I present.
Date: May 27-30
We had been hearing a lot about Mountainfilm since many years in Kathmandu, and what I experience did not disappoint me at all. In Telluride, I watch a lot of amazing movies in different theaters, participate in different talk shows, even interact with so many random strangers on the street! I also participate in the ice cream social with Mark dai. It was enjoyable to see many social organizations (including ours) do their promotion in the street. Mountainfilm is definitely a place where we naturally connect to a lot of diverse people from all corners of the world. Now I understand why it is a central theme for dZi every year.
June 3- 7
New York City
After completion of my official time in Colorado, I fly to Chicago where my uncle, niece and brother-in-law received me at the airport. The next day, they we are on a tour of New York city. I meet my cousin who came all the way from Boston to meet me. He had left Nepal six years ago and we had not met since. I take a double-decker bus with my uncle, visit the 9/11 Memorial Center, Staten Island by Ferry, the Famous Times Square and other New York landmarks. New York is so different from Colorado – the huge buildings, narrow roads, heavy traffic. The next day of sightseeing is ruined by rain and we drive to our uncle’s house in Baltimore. The whole night we spend talking and catching up with each others lives.
Washington DC and Niagara Falls
There is no rest for me as my relatives have planned more touristy stuff for me. So, we drive to Washington DC, walk around the White House, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and other famous tourist sites. I am sometimes a bit tired due to all the sightseeing, driving around, but since this is my first time and there is no saying when I would be back, I take it all in strides. My relatives also left no stones unturned to help me see and experience US as much as possible. I also visited my other cousins who were living on Fredrick, and who I had not met for 3 years. I also got to see and play with my nephew.
The next trip on the list was Ocean City but it changed into Niagara Falls which took almost 8 hours of driving. But the driving was not painful like it usually is in Nepal. We went to the famous Maid of the Mist tour right after arriving there. We went to Cave of the Winds Tour next morning. This was a very refreshing tour for me, and I saw how well the natural landscapes had been preserved here.
Mini US tour Comes to an End
It was nice to spend time with my family and relatives in a new place which made it feel familiar. I don’t remember if I had spent such quality time with them in Nepal, but in the US I also got that chance. I flew back to Nepal on 14th with many fond memories, lessons and a souvenirs for my friends and families.
My time in the US taught me that it is important to know about and be aware of different places and cultures of the world. It is also refreshing, motivating and important for personality development. This was once in a lifetime moment for me, and I hope we can keep doing this exchange to the USA so that other Nepali team member also get a chance. Such visits help us to learn more about our US work, also helps the US side understand more about our work in the field, learn about US culture, and cultivate appreciation for our donor and support network in the USA.
I would like to thank all the dZi Nepal and US team for providing me this grand opportunity along with the constant support, encouragement and motivation which made my visit successful and remembering.
Written by Gautam Raj Silwal
Chief Finance Officer