With mountains at its heart and its people as its backbone, Nepal is a country of extremes, lost in isolation, yearning to be part of the larger world.
The border of this small country first opened to the outside world in the 1950s. The siren song of the Himalayas has continued to draw professional and armchair mountaineers alike to this land for 60 years. But Nepal is more than mountains.
It is difficult to separate the culture and history of this country from who its people are today. And at the heart of all of it is religion. Perhaps more than any other place in the world, religion is intertwined in daily life in Nepal.
Nearly 80 percent of the population of Nepal identify as Hindu, worshiping a myriad of deities. Temples and other sites of worship can be found all over Kathmandu and throughout the country.
Those who do not follow Hinduism in Nepal tend toward Buddhism or a hybrid of the two. The rituals of the religions consume life in this country and make the past, present and future of this country blend together as one.
30.5 million people call Nepal home. The country is one of extremes, the bustle of Kathmandu balanced against the slow, changeless pace of life in the villages.
Nepal is one of the 10 poorest countries in the world, with the vast majority of the population living on far less than $1 a day. While the life expectancy is high for a third-world country, 62, quality of life is less than optimum.
Even in the city, electricity is scarce and water shortages are common. Poverty and diseases ravage the country and the caste system is still ingrained in the fabric of society, often leading to violence and abandonment.
While the world has showed up in Kathmandu to help, Nepal still faces an uphill climb. A country trying to find its place in the 21st century, Nepal faces a number of complications. Just now regaining its balance after a decade-long civil war which ended in 2005, Nepal finds itself with a tenuous government structure, no constitution and strife among the people.
Please pray with us for the country of Nepal