Nepal: Shop Ladies

I love the people of Nepal because their happiness is authentic, effortless, and humble – a true statement of how living simply can provide you with an abundantly satisfying life. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to adopt this way of living? Here are two of my favorite portraits I took so far and a quick snippet I wrote about each woman.

Fabric Woman, Nepal

around you, above
you, below
Antique charm,
ageless grace,
your breath illuminates me.
You are happiness:
the simple kind,
the kind that blooms
out of
patterned fabrics,
sewing machines,
pin-needles, and
colored thread.
Toothless smile,
wrinkled eyes –
the stars bathe in you.
Can I wrap your
in this cloth, can I
your spirit into my
I come,
and you smile. I leave,
and you smile.

Store Woman sitting on coke bottles

Crated coke bottles,
piled potatoes,
a gust of wind passes by.
You are love,
soft and effortless.
Silky like the sari
rolling down your shoulders,
steady like the
wall that supports
your back.
As if newly in love
or awake in a dream,
you are a
a beam of light.
Pure, effervescent,
I move forward and
carry you along –
winged butterfly,
petaled flower,
existing in
each moment.



      • Okay… I hope to read more from you in the future than. It’s one of those countries you must see before you die I think. We can’t all make the peak of Mt. Everest, but we can go to Kathmandu and from there into the mountains. Into the world of monasteries, sherpa’s and yaks…

  1. Great photos and lovely verse. Just before discovering this post on FP, I was discussing how robotically we relate to each other in (American) cloned convenience stores, across wide formica counters, etc. And then I click to find a warmer, more interesting way. Thank you and Shalom. Beth

  2. Your photo of the woman sitting on the soda bottle cases is wonderful. I particularly like the contrast between the wall, her and the interior of the shop. I spent a month in Katmandu, and really enjoyed it. My wife had an artist residency with one of the paper making factories. We went to work almost everyday via public transportation.

  3. Gorgeous pictures, certainly worthy of National Geographic! I wonder, however, what effect our tendency to assume, that these women lead simple but happy lives, has on our global responsibility to ensure equity across the planet. I’m not saying that these women are not happy and they could be wealthy in their communities (nor am I suggesting that you are guilty of this), but I see all too often “exotic peoples” stereotyped as being poor but happy. I worry that this might lead passivity in the face of inequality. What do you think? (a point for discussion)

  4. Thank you for your compliment and for taking the time to write such a thoughtful message. I do know what you are saying regarding making the assumption that people that live simply are happy. My experience with Nepal was powerful and inspiring. I worked with women who were victims of sex trafficking and they were the most incredible women I have ever met. If you read my previous posts, I talk about what I expected them to be, and what they really were. Very moving indeed. They have suffered atrocities that neither you or I could ever fathom, but they are courageous, forward thinking and insightful with regards to their suffering. They subscribe to the belief that suffering is universal and that they are just part of that universal bond that links humanity together. They find solace in working hard to make a future for themselves and also helping others. They had just recently made a quilt for women prisoners in Africa and were inspired by how moved the women were when they received it. This nation is predominately Buddhist. The Buddha taught compassion, kindness and altruism as the key to live a happy life. The people of Nepal illustrate that ideal in more ways then I could ever imagine. If you stay tuned you will see more postings about Nepal and perhaps you will see it is not a stereotype at all. Thank you so much for stopping by and for participating in this discussion!

  5. Lakshmi Loves To Shop

    Well done on your Freshly Pressed…I love when blogs that I follow and adore are appreciated too! Keep up the great work 🙂 Lakshmi x

  6. I absolutely love this! And congrats on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂 The joy is evident on these ladies’ faces. They’re beautiful. Something tells me their stories speak volumes.

  7. Pow Pow

    Jenna…. i stopped by and, again, i’m moved. You write so beautifully! My favorite part is “As if newly in love or awake in a dream..” Keep it up my love!

  8. Very nice. Launched me into a daydream of stumbling out of a busted up truck, buying a cold drink and having some sort of a conversation with this woman, even though I dont speak the language. I could sketch my through our differences..

  9. Nepal is on e of my favorite places in the entire world. Lovely images and poetry. Congrats on being freshly pressed. It brought me to your site. Happy that it did. Thanks

  10. Your words resonate with such elegance and intricacy. Thank you for your truth that you spoke over these women! “Ageless grace”- wonderful. “The stars bathe in you”-profound.

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    truly knows what they’re discussing on the web. You certainly realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people need to check this out and understand this side of the story. I can’t believe you aren’t more popular since you surely have the gift.

  12. Aww I love old people and the grand ma in the first picture forced me to comment 🙂 She is beautiful 🙂 I have never been to your country but I guess You people are love 🙂

  13. Oryian

    Dear Jenna, after spending a whole day planning a trip to Nepal I found your beautifully inspiring blog. Thanks a lot, it vibrates with positive energy! 🙂 May I ask you who have you worked for? I’m looking for an ngo volunteering/job opportunity in Kathmandu and I’ve already worked with women in South Asia, so you might have a good advice for me…

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