“There is a sense of urgency in everything that I do.” Says Sarala, as she throws her bag over her shoulder. Our taxi couldn’t go any further up the steep mountain. The driver rallied the little Suzuki Maruti as far as he could, often times scaring me and Sarala as we sped through dangerous corners in the Nuwakot Nepal valley. The driver pointed to a tree below and said he’d wait for us to return. I had just spent two weeks hiking in the Everest mountain region and my legs felt strong. I let Sarala lead the hike and it was apparent, in the first five minutes, that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with her. She had the lungs of a strong Nepali hiker and legs of superwoman. I was more than happy when we took our first break.
After a few minutes six girls came walking down the trail who attend Sarala’s awareness workshops. The girls were giddy to see her. She embraced all of them. She teaches the girls about strangers who guarantee work in India; that they are wolves in sheeps clothing, luring them into danger with false promises. After the girls leave I ask, “What troubles you the most about your work?” She says, “That I haven’t made it to every girl in this valley.”
I point to the top of the mountain far away where I can see some homes. “Have you made it there yet?” I ask. “Of course,” she smiles, ‘It’s a 3 hour hike!”
Sarala is a social worker for Shaki Samua, an organization that we praise and support for their work preventing trafficking, and caring for of survivors.
Written by: Casey