From the first moment our team met Bimala, her joy and love shone through her. She hosted one of the first afternoons of Christmas caroling during our time in the village of Sanga, and she spent much of her time joining us joyfully dancing to the songs we all sang, teaching us Nepali dance moves, and grabbing unsuspecting people from the audience and forcing them to join her.
Later that same day, she shared her testimony during the middle of our caroling, and while I couldn’t understand the words that she said, she shouted them with such joy that it was impossible not to join in in her exuberance. It was contagious.
Filled with unbelievable generosity, on two separate occasions, she gave one of my team members and I each one of her own beautiful Nepali dresses. Just because she had taken a liking to the two of us.
When I showed up sick to caroling one day, she was so distressed that she wrapped me up in multiple scarves (even though it was boiling hot in the sun) and strictly ordered me not to dance at all that day.
Another time, she was showing me pictures of her family and her house using her limited English, and as she pointed out the ears of corn that she had stored up in her house, I got excited, because “corn,” for some reason, is one of the few words I know in Nepali. “Macai?” I said hesitantly.
Here eyes lit up. “Macai!” she exclaimed, her face bursting into a huge smile, “Yes! You like macai? I bring you some!”
And then I’m pretty sure we hugged. Just because I knew how to say “macai.” It was beautiful.
On Christmas, she grabbed my arm in the middle of the church service and forcefully said, “Come! Come!” As she led me outside, she gave me a huge bag of popcorn, as well as a bag of kernels, to which she proudly said, “Macai!”
What a loving, generous woman. To pour out love onto people she barely knows. Even when they can hardly communicate with her.
One day, as she got tears in her eyes when she thought about me leaving, she just looked me right in the eyes and said, “I love you. I miss you!” And then we just hugged each other for a long time.
What kind of love is that? How is one woman able to pour out love so generously onto people she barely knows?
I’m not sure, but it floors me. And I will never forget Bimala. My Nepali mother who speaks a completely different language from me.