Watching the revolution and violence in Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya, I’m reminded of volunteering in Nepal during the civil war, and the events leading up to the violent revolution in 2006 when the people overthrew the monarchy.
We volunteer because we want to help. We want to lend our skills, or at least our passion, to a place where we think we can make a difference.
But here’s the part I don’t like to admit: there were many times early in my first volunteering stint that I felt superior to the people I was there to help. After all, relatively speaking, I was far wealthier and far better educated than the vast majority of folks in Nepal. I spoke English fluently, a language they naturally struggled with. I took pride in how worldly I was, and in the fact that I was willing to give my time so selflessly.
The more time I spent in the country, the more this pride began to break down. It was ridiculous, this pride, of course. The Nepalese people I knew spoke passable English, while I spoke just enough words in their language to get ripped off in taxis. Yet still I clung to that feeling of superiority. I was there to help them, after all — not the other way around.
Then came the revolution.
In Nepal, the Maoist rebels led the charge in the spring of 2006, declaring they would call for a nationwide strike until the King stepped down.
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