Aspen 2018: trip reflections

For the past 11 years, we have had the great privilege of partnering with Aspen Insurance. Each year, staff members from Aspen offices across the globe visit Adara’s projects on the ground to see firsthand the impact of this partnership. Until 2017 this visit was to Kiwoko Hospital in Uganda. This year, for the first time ever, a group of seven staff visited Adara’s Nepal projects!

 As always, they left inspired by the incredible experience and invigorated by the knowledge that so much of this work has been made possible by Aspen’s support. They have been kind enough to share some of their stories with us.

It was hard to believe that the week had come to an end. We all realized we had changed in two ways.

First, we had the good fortune of getting to spend a week with colleagues we never knew. We range in age from 25 to 54 and are evenly spread across that spectrum. We are from five countries — Australia, Bermuda, Ireland, UK and the US. We play various roles across Aspen and have very different personalities. But sharing this kind of experience together forms a bond that will last a lifetime. As the closing line from The Breakfast Club says: What we found out is that each of us is a brain…and an athlete…and a basket case…a princess…and a criminal. We are quite different, and yet we’re all one in the same.  What we learned is a privilege to learn firsthand, and we are incredibly grateful to Aspen for supporting the work of Adara and selecting us to represent the firm on this journey.

But more importantly, we saw the difference that passionate, caring people can make in the lives of others. Adara’s work in Nepal — and Uganda — is literally changing the course of the lives of so many people living in poverty. Remote mountain villages that are 25 kilometres “as the crow flies” from Kathmandu but take six hours to reach by jeep because of a total lack of infrastructure, made even worse by the 2015 earthquake. Most of the people living in these areas have no electricity or hot water. School children who walk 2+ hours to school each way, down and then back up steep terrain. And teens who were trafficked as young children, from Humla and Ghyangfedi, saved by the kindness of Adara who created a new family out of these kids and their teachers. They are the face of resilience.

These are the people helped by the work of Adara. You realize that life is largely a matter of where you are born, and into what family. Before starting out in life, these circumstances alone often determine one’s entire life experience. The rare person may break out of this, but the deck is completely stacked against them. Unless they are given a helping hand by people who care. People like Adara.

With all this in mind, we parted ways with our new Aspen friends, as we had all week long from our new Nepali friends. It was bittersweet in so many ways.

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