By: Ally Stevens
Today I am writing with a particularly grateful disposition. Coy and I were just able to take part in a very special celebration with one of our friends and Connecting Champions pals, Lila. Lila has been a part of Connecting Champions since this summer after we paired him with two professional soccer players with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Lila was nice enough to invite us to his home to help him and his family celebrate the Nepali holiday of Dashain. Lila and his brother explained to us that Dashain is a five-day festival where family comes from miles and miles away (as far as Australia!) to celebrate, eat and dance!
Coy and I came a little bit before Lila’s relatives, although I think we can both agree that we were treated as if we were a part of their family. When we arrived, we chatted and were able to learn a little bit more about Lila and his family. We were even introduced to Lila’s absolutely adorable niece Sophia, who kept us smiling the entire time.
After catching up, Lila’s mother placed a mixture called Tika on our foreheads, to bless us in the upcoming years. Even though I did not know much about this celebration, Lila and his family made me feel right at home, which was a truly touching experience for me.
Once we took Tika, it was time to feast. I am not exaggerating when I say that Lila’s family prepared more food for us than I could ever have imagined! I had never eaten most of the food before, so it was really interesting to learn about Nepalese food.
The energy I felt when I was at Lila’s home is indescribable. It’s hard to explain how much I truly did learn about the Nepalese culture, Dashain and Lila’s family in one short visit. There are so many unique and beautiful celebrations that go on every day, and I am so happy I was able to learn about one of them through Connecting Champions. I hope Lila is experiencing the same joy that I am after spending just one morning with him and his family.