On April 30th I had the opportunity to sit down with Hamlin parent Bhushan Mudbhary to discuss his life growing up in Nepal and learn more about the current situation in that country during the aftermath of a devastating earthquake that destroyed close to 70,000 homes and took the lives of thousands of people.
Bhushan grew up in Katmandu in a joint family which included most of his extended relatives, aunts, uncles, cousins, all living as one household. From a young age Bhushan embraced the outdoor environment, especially the land near his grandfather’s house, where he chased insects, and took buffalo and goats out to graze.
In first grade Bhushan enrolled in a Jesuit boarding school where he was taught world religions, supplementing his familial understanding of various aspects of Buddhism and Hinduism, the prevailing religions present in Nepal. Through his education and family, Bhushan learned Hindi, Nepalese, and English. I asked him if he was taught meditation through his upbringing. He responded by saying that the Tibetan monks meditated, but not the lay people. He was taught transcendental meditation by the Jesuits at his school. He currently maintains a Soto Zen meditation practice that gives him a sense of cultural connection to the monks that he witnessed growing up in Nepal.
In 1985, Bhushan left Nepal to attend Ohio Wesleyan University where a friend was already enrolled. He felt prepared for the transition to living in the United States by his Jesuit teachers who regularly showed documentaries about American life and shared accounts of their experiences from the states. I asked him about the process of adapting to college life in Ohio. He credited the school wide approach to global awareness that Ohio Wesleyan embraced; the school provided incredible support for international students, including host families and well-informed teachers who knew the importance of a diverse campus. Bhushan also mentioned that the innate, easy-going, flexible nature of the Nepalese culture helped him adapt.
Bhushan continued his schooling at Caltech and eventually moved from southern California to San Francisco in 1995. During 1999 and 2000, he and his wife backpacked around the world for fourteen months, embracing many cultures, often forgetting traditional time, submerging fully into the present moment.
After learning about who Bhushan was as a person, I asked him about the current situation in Nepal. He was clear and direct in his response, “It is bad, a massive 7.9 earthquake, the infrastructure was not good to begin with, Nepal is lacking resources, healthcare, money, clean water.” He emphasized that the government was not capable of providing services, and without assistance people will remain homeless and lacking food. He went on to mention that the Nepalese government owns a total of 8 helicopters, which is clearly not enough. I asked him about reports stating that people would resume climbing Mount Everest next week. Bhushan shared that climbing Everest takes away resources that are desperately needed. It takes a couple of helicopter trips to ferry people and goods for adventure trips, those resources could be used to help earthquake victims. He said that climbing Everest is a leisure activity, one that should not be conducted amidst so much devastation.
I concluded our interview by asking Bhushan about his family living in Nepal. He expressed feeling very fortunate that everyone was safe, but went on to say that his ancestral village in the district of Nuwakot was completely destroyed.
Bhushan listed off many organizations that are providing crucial resources to Nepal, high on that list was Global Giving, you can visit their relief fund at: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/nepal-earthquake-relief-fund/
Stay tuned to learn more about how Hamlin students will also be supporting the awareness and relief effort in Nepal.