Student makes journey to Nepal

Not many teenagers have the experience of traveling to a third world country, but that’s exactly what a CFHS student did in January.

The group walking from the village of Ghorepani to view Poon Hill about 45 minutes more uphill. From left to right: two porters, Morey Lindquist, Honor Heindl, Luke Heindl, Sami Schildroth, porter, Diane Heindl and Mike Heindl.

The group walking from the village of Ghorepani to view Poon Hill about 45 minutes more uphill. From left to right: two porters, Morey Lindquist, Honor Heindl, Luke Heindl, Sami Schildroth, porter, Diane Heindl and Mike Heindl.

Senior Sami Schildroth made the long journey with her boyfriend, Luke Heindl (‘12), his parents, Mike and Diane, and his sister, Honor (‘07), and her boyfriend, Morey Lindquist. The Heindl family spent 10 years in the hills of Nepal as missionaries and were returning to visit old friends and see how the church is thriving. They started the trek with a lengthy 12-hour flight from Chicago to Istanbul, Turkey. The plane was outfitted with working televisions and offered decent meals, making the long flight time more bearable. After a four-hour layover and a three-hour delay, a connecting flight took them to Kathmandu, Nepal. “The second flight was awful. We didn’t have working TVs and we had to circle Kathmandu for two hours because of the smog,” Schildroth said. “We went to Kathmandu, Pokhara, a trek leaving from Pokhara to a view of Annapurna Mountains, Baitawa and Butwol,” Schildroth said.

The culture shock was immediate. “It is so incredibly different there,” Schildroth said. Water was a precious resource, so the travelers had to use squatting toilets, brush their teeth with bottled water, filter water of contaminants each night to avoid sickness and shower using cold water and buckets. They had to bring their own toilet paper wherever they traveled. The group also had to bundle up in layers at night because the houses were not heated.

The group was never bored: they went on a four-day trek to Poon Hill to view the Annapurna mountain range, went shopping, explored large Hindu and Buddhist temples, visited a hot bazaar filled with produce, attended a two-hour church service and rode rickshaws.

Food was quite a different experience in Nepal compared to American culture. Nepalese water was not always safe to drink, so eating habits adapted. “In America we are spoiled with clean water; we were only allowed to eat hot food and things with peels (bananas and oranges),” Schildroth said. Dal baal, a dish made of lentils and rice, was a staple at meals. “We ate a lot of dal, chicken curry, mixed vegetables with sauce, fried pockets filled with potatoes called samosas, porridge and drank a lot of chia (chai) tea,” Schildroth said.

Schildroth enjoyed meeting the fellow missionary families, though it was tough to communicate at first. Schildroth only knew around 10 Nepali words, and the families didn’t know much English, so Diane Heindl served as the translator. The families stayed together and gathered at meals. “They are doing so many cool things in Nepal for God,” Schildroth said.

Every day had a different experience for the group. An average day: “Get up around 7 at our lodge in a village, have breakfast there, walk for a couple hours, stop for tea in a village, walk for a couple more hours, have lunch in a village, walk for a couple hours, have some oranges and walk for a few more until a village to stay the night. We slept in layers and in sleeping bags on the beds they provided. We would eat dinner at our lodge and go to bed around 8 since we were so tired,” Schildroth said.

Class of 2014

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply