Despite all of the carnage and brokenness around one boy, he was able to find freedom from the desolation with the simplest of items: a bamboo pole with metal wheels attached to the end, and then, with his WOL gift, a safely lit passage home.
Co-Founder John Economou says goodbye to the Nepal Global Travel Team.
This young Nepali boy looked so lost and alone surrounded by all of the earthquake devastation.
Founder Nancy Economou walks and share a moment with a local Nepali women.
Besty Hurely and Nancy Economou care for one of the local women that lost her foot by a sever kerosene burn.
Despite the beauty of the Nepal mountains area, when the earthquake hit most of the homes in this region were destroyed.
One elder, Kishor Dhungana, was charged with calling out the names of the recipients. The villagers gathered around him and waited for their names to be called. He read this list with such reverence, knowing exactly what these lights would mean to the people. If someone whose name was on the list wasn’t present, he sent another person to retrieve them – and some of those people lived 45 minutes to an hour walk away.
The elders took their roles seriously, holding each other accountable for ensuring that the proper people received the lights. There was never any moment when someone tried to secure lights for a friend. The experience of watching them work together on behalf of the team, with so much respect and integrity, was incredibly humbling for WOL.
In the photo above, Bharat Sigdel and his family are standing on the rubble from the collapse of their home. The building behind is his grandparents’ house, also uninhabitable. The father and son (left) spoke English and offered their services as translators, helping train other light recipients.
The entire WOL team and villagers take a moment before the light distribution began.
Nancy Economou and Kevin Kuster and some very happy villagers.
WOL also provided medical care with the help of Betsy, a WOL volunteer and nurse, who offered her skills as needed. So many of the wounds in this region are emotional, as well as physical and medical.
Although this Nepal man continually thought we had "alternative motivations" to help his village, he finally came around and even drove us around on his motor cycle to reach people.
Kevin Kuster carries a very special light donated by his son from Chicago to Nepal.
There were so many displaced people that the Nepali government set up tent cities all around Katmandu.
Our camp site on the side of a mountain wasn't much to look at but, it served us well.
Joel, Tammy and their entire Iris Nepal team were amazing to watch as they helped villagers tear down their home so they could begin rebuilding.
The men pictured above are teachers. The team gave lights to as many teachers as possible. They received double panel solar lights, with MP3 radios, to help them teach English.
It is always so rewarding to see villagers helping their elders with their new solar lights.
Both of Gauri Bhandra’s parents had leprosy. He himself does not, yet he has managed this leper colony for the past 20 years.
Loading up the team to head back home to the United States.
Our entire WOL team and Iris Global.
The old women went crazy when Kevin asked them to take a "Nepali-selfie." So much fun!
WOL team back and ready to leave O'hare airport. Next stop Nepal.
Our WOL team gets ready to board Etihad Airlines for their trip to Nepal.
Despite his hands being over his smile, this Nepali man’s eyes still reveal his complete ecstasy after receiving his new solar headlamp.
Betsy Hurley share a moment with one of our amazing translators.
Most of the families living in the tenant cities in Katmandu needed to received meals and water from the Nepali government.