On the way to Everest Base Camp, we always pass through a beautiful rhododendron forest where Buddhist nuns have taken refuge from the instability in Tibet. About 14 nuns live in a small community in the forest. Many of them speak only Tibetan, having crossed over the mountains in order to practice their religion without obstruction.

Nearly a year ago, I found out what nuns want, and my relationship with them has gradually grown stronger since then. This spring, with an unusually high number of women in my trek group, I arranged to visit and receive a special blessing from the nuns. As afternoon sunlight faded to dusk, we had the unique pleasure of sitting in a small monastery enveloped by women’s voices chanting prayers to cleanse us of our sins, to help us achieve our dreams, and to ensure our well-being.

Afterwards, as we sat in the courtyard putting on our shoes and saying goodbye, I asked if there was anything they needed when I came again. It is a testament to our growing familiarity with each other that they did not dismiss my query with a polite, “whatever you want….” Instead, they held my hand, talked amongst themselves for a moment, and said, “Yes, there is something we need.”

…to be continued