It was sometime in late May 2015 that my life’s path was changed drastically. At the time, I was a year out of university and working for a general contractor building large projects around San Francisco. I loved the company I worked for and the people I worked with, yet I still felt driven to make a change and build things for people who needed help in different parts of the world. I was getting ready to apply for a master’s degree in Engineering for Developing Communities, and I was trying to find work with non-profits that would allow me to serve the global community. I was overwhelmed by the number of opportunities and didn’t feel qualified for many of the positions. What a strange feeling that was- feeling under qualified to make a difference in the world. Just a year prior I had traveled across the globe to Rwanda to build a water system that my good friend and I had designed for our senior design project, so I knew that it was possible to have an impact in the world.
Oddly enough, after all of my searching, I found my path while I was at a music festival. It started with a yoga class that wrapped up with an inspirational talk about how each one of us can make a difference. The teacher told in detail about her experience at an ashram in India where thousands of homeless were fed everyday. She told of the humble beginnings that such a huge movement had come from and explained, “You don’t need a college degree to change the world. You just need a heart full of grace and a soul made of love.” That statement really resonated with me because of the life changes I was considering at the time. I was determined to find a way to help those who need it. We were headed back to our camp site to prepare for our day, when I walked past a tent that was asking for volunteers to go help rebuild in Nepal with a new organization called Conscious Impact. I eagerly signed up and immediately began to think of the possibility of me going to Nepal a few months after the earthquake to begin the long process of rebuilding. That thought may have remained just a fantasy had it not been for an installation at the festival that I came across immediately after these other two events. It was essentially a circle of doors lined up side-by-side, and I curiously walked around until I found the door that I liked the best. Upon entering, I found that the insides of all the doors had a fortune associated with them. Mine resonated with me, to say the very least. The fortune was that of the Emperor and read:
Empower Your World.
Guiding principle: Construction.
Go for it. Make your plan and take action now. Inspire your team. Lead the way. Allow your passion to guide your steps. Commence and go forth.
What are you building? What are your goals? What is your plan of action? How does your enterprise serve the collective?
Affirmation: I am going for it. I am forging the way. My vision is taking off. I lead to serve. I serve to lead. I construct my world. The time for action is now.
I must’ve been visibly shaken because when my friend asked if everything was alright, I told him, “I think I’m moving to Nepal, dude.” It was then and there that I decided to take the leap of faith. The timing for everything was too perfect to ignore. My project at work would be wrapping up around the time I wanted to go. My lease was ending at the perfect time, and I would be at a point where there was nothing holding me in San Francisco. I decided that I would go across the globe to a place that would allow me to use my knowledge for the greater good.
I originally intended to go volunteer for two months, travel for two months, come home for the holidays, and then return to work in the Bay again. I truly planned to return to life as it was before my trip, but once I arrived at our land in the hills of Nepal, it didn’t take me long to realize that I would be gone for a while. The hills that we live in are magical, the people with whom I have the pleasure of working with everyday are truly inspirational, and the work that we are doing is benefiting the community that we are so privileged to live and work in. It is now almost eight months after I arrived in Nepal, and I still wake up with a smile on my face, eager to work everyday.
This post was written by Scott Hansen, an engineer who has volunteered his time to help us rebuild Takure. Last year he oversaw the rebuilding of Takure Primary School. We look forward to working with him for many years to come. Read more of Scott's writing on his blog...