Backpacking 4 Betty is more than a program – for me, it’s a way of life. Why do we do what we do? I have spent many years asking this question. That quest took me through Seminary and all the way to Asia which claimed the majority of my last 3 years. Often we never ask why. We simply do things- out of habit, customs, obligations, and sometimes simple boredom. Backpacking 4 Betty believes in doing with purpose, doing out of love, doing, why? Because why not?
When we know ourselves- our passions, dreams, goals, fears, etc … we can more easily navigate all aspects of our life. I was taught strength comes from the ability to be flexible in all circumstances, to have integrity in difficulty, and to always lead with an open heart & hand, never closed. The caveat to staying strong is always Balance. Knowing yourself and your needs, being able to fulfill those needs is important. Because in that place of contentment, you can truly give abundantly. Only from a strong foundation can intense giving be realized.
Only you can know yourself. Backpacking 4 Betty encourages both self awareness and extreme giving. There are times in life to be more selfish and times to be more selfless. I’ve always known my heart was restless in America. Traveling brings me to life. The challenge of navigating, respecting, and attempting to understand another culture is thrilling. You NEVER know what’s going to happen next, much like the formation of B4B.
After the earthquake, I attempted to volunteer for many organizations- all focused on water (this why is another Blog). No one wanted me, so why not start something myself? 2 years later, it is the best decisions I have ever made. I love Nepal- the good, the bad, and the ugly (which there is plenty of). It has both incredible amounts of inspiration and staggering amounts of challenges. This is why knowing which challenges (much like the formation and development of B4B for myself) are going to grow you without breaking your spirit.
What B4B does changes based on resources, volunteers, and situations. However, we are always focused on health- mainly making clean water available to more people throughout Nepal. Our WHY though, never changes. It is because we can. Because we should. When life throws you into a situation that demands a response… what can you do? We responded to the earthquake and now we continue.
Going through Seminary taught me to be extremely cautious in these situations. It is hard to say what we “should” do. Especially in relation to helping others. In Nepal, it is also an ethical question- it is not my home, it is not my culture. However, it is our world. Whether we see it improve or be destroyed is our collective responsibility. Therefore, with love and through continued cooperation with locals, B4B challenges everyone in our mission to know our why even more than what we do! Why do we work in Nepal, why do we focus on water … why we care.
We also challenge you to know the same about yourself!!
What are you living for? Why do you do what you do? Don’t know…? Maybe it is time to visit Nepal. To go and do nothing- no volunteering, no work, just be. Be there to experience the present, to figure out what drives you. From that place you can use your skills and passions to help the world. Helping not from a place of obligation or martyrdom, but from love. Love of what you do and then doing that for the benefit of others.
Humanity is a community. Coexisting is difficult enough with greedy and reactive people. However, through self awareness we become less reactive and realize there is no need for greed, only giving. B4B reminds us that while we may be the center of our universe, it is a universe shared with others. This is the “4”. For better, For other.