Flying to Nepal was decided on a whim. Whispered conversations about trekking Everest and the passion of an old friend brought me to Conscious Impact intending to stay only for a week. Warm milk, earthy bricks and a je ne sais quoi have kept me here for two months.

I carried with me apprehension and expectations on the flight, but all that melted away in the frosty starlight. With the coffee scented sunrise I fond true tranquility and in the leisurely dusk I learned guitar, knitted scarves, beaded anklets and embroidered jeans. By flickering campfires life time friendships were forged. In the noon day glare I smiled and sweated with friends and family from Nepal and beyond.

It seems an impossible task to sum up the constellation of my Conscious Impact experience. With love and laugher the daylight hours pass so quickly and nights flash by in song and dance. Out of everything, the building, the hiking, the planting, the sharing, it is the genuine connections that have made my time with CI so special.

It is the people who are the heart of Conscious Impact. This community of passionate, kind and engaged volunteers give rural Takure a zesty intoxifying flavor. In the past days, many bright spirits, thoughtful minds, and dedicated volunteers have caught the misty morning bus down the mountain. Their departure, and the quietness left behind, feels like the end of an era, but also part of the beautiful evolution of CI community.

All over the world hatred, bigotry, and fear are being normalized, rewarded and justified. Yet, daily life at CI feels like taking a stand. For every sweet soul down the mountain side, a new volunteer comes up. In the quiet and stillness, in the absence of old friends we make new and so our conscious community grows in conscious citizens who bring home more than suitcases, backpacks or rucksacks can hold. More than airline weight allowances, more than bricks, mortar, or coffee plants. We bring home experiences, questions, skills, networks, dreams and friends.

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I am so lucky to have been a seed which was blown here, to have learned and lived side by side on terraces bright with plans and hope. Nepal’s earthquake was almost two years ago, but widespread rebuilding has barely begun. Almost every home, store and school are still dark shacks of corrugated tin. We are working to brighten Takure. We are digging foundations, building walls, planting gardens, sharing knowledge, growing community, growing love.

Living at CI has brought to my life so much joy and hope.

Written by Morgan Smith

Volunteer, January - May 2017