Maya Washington (Nepal)

Maya grew up in San Francisco, CA. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science and is currently a graduate student at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management; pursuing a degree in Coexistence and Conflict with a focus on Humanitarian Aid. Maya is a former Peace Corps Volunteer having served in Kenya under the Ministry of Health as an HIV/AIDS education and prevention volunteer, where she helped provide Traditional Birth Attendants with kits needed to perform safe deliveries and assisted in training those attendants. After being evacuated from Kenya due to political turmoil, Maya served under the Ministry of Health in Lesotho (Southern Africa) as an HIV/AIDS education/prevention and youth development volunteer. While in Peace Corps Lesotho Maya helped HIV positive mothers learn how to better care for themselves and their newborns through nutrition and women’s health education. She helped begin two Libraries within her rural community of Nazareth, Lesotho and ran diversity camps throughout the country. Contact: mwashington@advocacynet.org



Lost in Dhankuta

07 Jun

http://www.advocacynet.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Women-Looking-Out-300×200.jpg

Over the past few days I’ve felt like I’m simply going through the motions; smiling at those who smile at me and greeting those that greet me. Yesterday was filled with political figures and members of parliament in positions of authority. The majority of them were men; men who sat above the women and spoke with authority, not entirely seeing the needs of the people they represent. One of the funny things that kept getting to me about this culture is the etiquette when it comes to meetings and cell phones . Of course in the United States if you’re in an important meeting you don’t have your cell phone on and you surely would not take a call in the midst of an important figure making a comment or speech but that happens time and time again in this country. Even the important officials take calls while speaking and no one thinks twice about it.

It’s an interesting patriarchal society; filled to the brim with a deep desire by the women and even some men to make change. The people are are very kind, always smiling; and always staring at me (mostly because I’m African American and they don’t see people that look like me very often). They are most interested in my hair. I have to remind myself, when they stare that they’re just interested in me and are often too shy to talk to me even if they speak english. Last night at a dinner being held prior to the health camp I sat next to an 8 year old girl. She really wanted to talk to me so she asked her father if he would introduce us. He did and she spoke amazingly good english. We sat and chatted about school and her life and the songs she’s teaching her little sister. She even had an opinion about the ongoing politics in Nepal. I’m quite certain that she will be President of Nepal some day.

http://www.advocacynet.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/IMG_0132-300×225.jpg

I seem to be more of a celebrity than anything else around here. All of the young girls keep coming up to me and asking my name and if they can take a picture with me. When they find out that my name is Maya they are so excited because it’s a Nepali name. Which means love in Nepali; in case you didn’t know. 🙂 When I explain to them that I was actually named after famous author and poet Maya Angelou they have no idea who she is. I did recite my favorite Maya Angelou poem for a few of them. I think they got a kick out of that, even if they didn’t understand most of it.

http://www.advocacynet.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/IMG_0129-300×190.jpg

Tomorrow we are heading off to Mare Katare, Dhankuta Nepal for the first health camp of the summer and I’m sure to learn more about this whole process and the people of Nepal.

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Over the past few days I’ve felt like I’m simply going through the motions; smiling at those who smile at me and greeting those that greet me. Yesterday was filled with political figures and members of parliament in positions of authority. The majority of them were men; men who sat above the women and spoke with authority, not entirely seeing the needs of the people they represent. One of the funny things that kept getting to me about this culture is the etiquette when it comes to meetings and cell phones . Of course in the United States if you’re in an important meeting you don’t have your cell phone on and you surely would not take a call in the midst of an important figure making a comment or speech but that happens time and time again in this country. Even the important officials take calls while speaking and no one thinks twice about it.<\/p>

It’s an interesting patriarchal society; filled to the brim with a deep desire by the women and even some men to make change. The people are are very kind, always smiling; and always staring at me (mostly because I’m African American and they don’t see people that look like me very often). They are most interested in my hair. I have to remind myself, when they stare that they’re just interested in me and are often too shy to talk to me even if they speak english. Last night at a dinner being held prior to the health camp I sat next to an 8 year old girl. She really wanted to talk to me so she asked her father if he would introduce us. He did and she spoke amazingly good english. We sat and chatted about school and her life and the songs she’s teaching her little sister. She even had an opinion about the ongoing politics in Nepal. I’m quite certain that she will be President of Nepal some day.<\/p>\n”,”class”:””},{“id”:”7″,”block”:”image”,”source”:”~wp-uploads\/2015\/08\/IMG_0132-300×225.jpg”,”alt”:”IMG_0132″,”link”:”~wp-uploads\/2015\/08\/IMG_0132.jpg”,”class”:””,”scale”:”75%”,”position”:”center”,”size”:{“width”:495,”height”:371},”store”:{“source”:”~upload\/7-515557fbd7182f2f431921d2c6f7eb78.jpg”,”width”:495,”height”:371,”mime”:”image\/jpeg”,”size”:111807}},{“id”:”10″,”block”:”divider”},{“id”:14,”block”:”layout”,”layout”:”6-6″,”childs”:[[{“id”:”15″,”block”:”rte”,”content”:”

I seem to be more of a celebrity than anything else around here. All of the young girls keep coming up to me and asking my name and if they can take a picture with me. When they find out that my name is Maya they are so excited because it’s a Nepali name. Which means love in Nepali; in case you didn’t know. 🙂 When I explain to them that I was actually named after famous author and poet Maya Angelou<\/a> they have no idea who she is. I did recite my favorite Maya Angelou poem for a few of them. I think they got a kick out of that, even if they didn’t understand most of it.<\/span><\/p>\n”,”class”:””}],[{“id”:”16″,”block”:”image”,”source”:”~wp-uploads\/2015\/06\/IMG_0129-300×190.jpg”,”alt”:”IMG_0129″,”link”:”~wp-uploads\/2015\/06\/IMG_0129.jpg”,”class”:””,”scale”:”100%”,”position”:”center”,”size”:{“width”:323,”height”:205},”store”:{“source”:”~upload\/16-c9d51d57b64d8ef7223de8cb2204992b.jpg”,”width”:323,”height”:205,”mime”:”image\/jpeg”,”size”:48554}}]]},{“id”:”17″,”block”:”divider”},{“id”:”18″,”block”:”rte”,”content”:”

Tomorrow we are heading off to Mare Katare, Dhankuta Nepal for the first health camp of the summer and I’m sure to learn more about this whole process and the people of Nepal.<\/p>\n”,”class”:””}]}[/content-builder]

Posted By Maya Washington (Nepal)

Posted Jun 7th, 2015

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