I am my own peak to reach: 21kms to celebrate myself on women’s international rights day.
Puja Dhangana, Green Village Kathmandu, Nepal
My Professional Training of Entrepreneur at Green Village (GV) was over with a blink of an eye, and yet I really recall my arrival at Green Village. I graduated when International women’s day was just around the corner. I had heard the news about various events being organized to mark the event and salute women across Kathmandu. It saddens me to think that every year there are hundreds of events on this day and still no real change occurs that I can consider a change for the betterment of women on the whole. As far as I know, the government of Nepal has brought many schemes for women. Women are allocated seats on public buses and in schools and government offices but the way women are viewed has still not changed. I almost feel like people are incapable of change.
For instance let’s take the gender pay gap. There are so many indifferences that can’t even begin to describe ! There are women who speak up against these monstrosities but there are uncountable numbers of them who do not dare to do so. This women’s day I was thinking what should I gift myself? And then my coaches at LP4Y told me about this run in Sindhupalchowk. My heart and mind had only one unanimous reaction : I Have To Go !
I did not have running gear but motivation, I had plenty. As soon as I put my concerns forward, Pauline happily helped me by providing the sports gear. I love doing sports and my heart was filled with joy at the possibility of doing this run and to add to this I received a video of Mira Rai from a friend. I was speechless when I watched the video. The humility, the motivation, the energy to change not just her own life but the lives of so many young women! How deeply she has experienced life. I was overjoyed at the proof of such an exemplary nepali woman.
You can find the video here.
Bright and early morning of 7th March brought with it it’s promises of good weather and a safe journey to sindhupalchok. I travelled with Catalyst Emilie till Ratnapark and from there we were with Catalyst Pauline and Mr. Ram. We reached sindhupalchok safe and sound and rested ourselves at the Last Resort. The journey was filled with discussions about books and our common love for hiking in the beautiful hills of Nepal.
Life has a funny way of working things out doesn’t it? Bungee jumping is in my bucket list for someday and here I was at the last resort .. Pauline told me she has had the experience of bungee twice already. But for me, right now all I could afford was imagining myself bungee jumping and imagining is what i did. Like I said, life has a funny way of working out. I couldn’t believe myself when I found us in the presence of the famous Mira Rai. We offered our namaste and later that evening after talking about social work we again found ourselves sharing a chat with Mira Rai together with the young women from her initiative.We couldn’t miss on the chance to introduce LP4Y. An introduction about the Mira Rai Initiative was exchanged. We shared a good dinner together. The evening was extraordinary. The night sky was clear and the ambience was amazing but most importantly I was so happy at the thought that Nepal is soon going to have so many young, motivated, resilient women who will change the face of this country for good.
As lovely as the evening was, we needed proper rest for the run the following day. So we put ourselves to sleep and woke up as early as 5:15, had our breakfast and prepared ourselves for the run. The run was set to begin at 7 but alas with the nepalese time mentality, I wasn't surprised when the actual event began at 9.
Nevertheless, I met many young women and had a chance to share brief moments of chat with everyone. Many asked me if I did this often. I said, sometimes I used to run when I was at home in Kavre in the morning but this 21km run was my first undertaking. Some were surprised and some questioned me if I thought I could do this. I realized i had not asked myself this question but i simply replied, ‘I want to challenge myself.’ To be honest, this conversation was energizing me even more as much as the environment there was.
The most awaited moment was here soon enough. The run began. Everything went smoothly in the beginning but as time progressed the run became much more tough. I started feeling heavy and tired. The journey in itself wasn’t a piece of cake. I tried my level best but the walks and runs in the roads of Kavre had done nothing to prepare me for this ultimate challenge. But there was one thing that rang in my mind like a mantra: you got to run. Run. run. The scenery was like something out of a painting. The hills, the terrace farms, the villages, I wanted to stop running and admire the scenery. I really did. Under my breath, I kept saying ‘oh how beautiful’. I really have never understood why it is that time flies when you are enjoying something. The run was difficult but i was enjoying the pain. Do you know how they say, pain is so close to pleasure? I guess this was one of those pain-pleasure moments for me. I had reached the destination finally and when I did, the winner had been announced. But I felt like I was the winner. And in this moment i realized, if i win against all odds in life, this is where pleasures of life begin. I didn’t realize when the 21km race was over. The race felt like forever and yet went by in the blink of an eye. The lessons I learnt however will forever remain in my heart. ‘ If i never fall i will never know i am capable of getting myself up again. If i never speak i will never know the power of my words. If i never fly i will never realize i have wings and if i never fail i will never know i can be a winner if i try.’
I have celebrated many women’s day and by far this is the one that will be engraved in my heart and mind. I gifted myself a 21km run ! one important takeaway from this women’s day for me is that one only gets weak when one believes one is fundamentally weak. This perceived weakness has a cure ! Women can be strong when we enable ourselves physically, mentally,economically and spiritually. Empower yourself dear women and your family will never have to worry when you don’t get back home at 9. I am eternally grateful towards LP4Y, towards you dear Catalysts Pauline and Emilie for having presented me with this unparalleled opportunity to empower myself this women’s day and taking such good care of me throughout this event !
Thank you LP4Y and thank you life !!