Date Completed: (8/1/2015)
Connor, the main character of this memoir, is somewhat aware of his privilege. This is why I would recommend it, although not terribly highly. He journeys to Nepal by chance, picking the little town of Godavari and the orphanage called Little Princes out of a hat as a volunteer abroad experience. He signs up for three months of service to this orphanage, but by the end of the three months, he discovers that he truly loves the children and decides to head back for more.
During his year-long break, he travels the world, mostly Asia, but his heart is in Nepal. Connor explores the politics of Nepal during his second three month stay. He writes, The February elections were, by any measure, a complete failure. Public turnout measured about 2 percent. Most polling stations had more soldiers than voters…. Maoists had threatened to murder candidates, and they succeeded in at least one case…. The government, in response, offered free life insurance to anybody willing to run for office. The king declared the election a victory for democracy.” The Maoists began their revolution sometime around 1996 and the Civil War reached the height of things in 2006, when Connor and Farid were in Nepal.
The highlight of this book for me was the descriptions of the children and the reuniting of the children with their families. Sometimes I definitely felt weird about what he was doing, but he explained it in a way that I enjoyed. He recognized his white privilege and chose to do what he felt was best for the children, while trying to maintain their culture. For example, rather than buy them lots of clothing, he recognized that most people in Nepal only had one or two changes of clothing and they did not need very much to be happy. Clothing is not the focus in Nepal. The story became rather muddled at the end when he’s going on and on about the romance, blah, blah, blah. And religion. Like, I’m glad you’ve discovered Christianity. You’re not that unique.
I would like to try daal bhaat, but I can’t imagine eating the same thing every day.
Connor was a blog writer before he went to Nepal, and continues to be a blog writer. He continues his work with his non-profit, Next Generation Nepal, that helps children first to have a home (a.k.a. he started an orphanage) and secondly to return to their homes with their families if possible.