Nicole Farkouh

Nicole Farkouh (Collective Campaign for Peace – COCAP): Nicole graduated from Smith College with a BA in Cultural Anthropology. She also has a Master of Education from the University of New Orleans. Nicole’s professional background is in education. She has worked as a teacher, administrator, and consultant, mainly with middle school students with special needs. She is also a certified community mediator and has studied a complementary model of mediation based on Non-Violent Communication. She has studied abroad in India, lived and taught in Mexico. At the time of her fellowship, she was studying for a Master of Public Policy degree at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. After her fellowship, Nicole wrote: "More than anything, this summer I received a new level of understanding /appreciation for the complexity involved in “development” and “human rights” work…. Particularly being a foreign body trying to work in a new culture."


23 Aug

These past few months in Nepal have been and on going process of having my eyes opened. It was one thing to sit at home and read about life in under-developed countries or see images of them on TV. But my theoretical understanding can’t even begin compare to the understanding I’m gaining here. Ironically every time I think, “Okay, now I get it,” another experience whacks me upside the head and reveals the next layer. The opportunity I had recently to visit my close friend Parmila’s home village of Harriya was such an induction.

My good friend Parmila had to return her 4-year old daughter Rachanna to her grandparents home in their village because school was starting, and she invited me to come. Parmila’s uncle, Arjun-dai, joined us for the 1-day/1-night trip so he could return to his home to check on his fields and his family for a few days.

In preparation they asked me if I wanted to walk, ride cycles, or take a taxi. I certainly had too much pride to request a taxi, knowing they would only use that method for my benefit, didn’t think walking would be efficient given our time constraints, and thought the 2 hour bike ride sounded quite and fun – not to mention it is the way they usually travel.Arjun-dai on one of the nicer sections of road

Arjun-dai on one of the nicer sections of road

Unfortunately, my decision making hadn’t accounted an afternoon with blazing sun and 95% humidity or for the need to ride/pushe our one-speed bicycles over an often flooded rock and dirt road, across sand dunes, and along cow paths in the forest (the reality show Survivor had nothing on this..).Parmila pausing for a rest as we crossed the sand....

Parmila pausing for a rest as we crossed the sand….


Somehow, after some informative detours and incredible views, several stops in the shade for guavas and chai, and with Rachanna leaking tears of soreness and exhaustion from straddling the rear rack of my bike for roughly 4 hours, we straggled into Harriya.

Guava vendor

Posted By Nicole Farkouh

Posted Aug 23rd, 2014

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