© Ruth Millington

This photograph was taken 20 years ago in a small village up in the Ganesh Himal region of Nepal.  It had taken me four days to get there through knee deep snow up mountain sides and across dangerous ravines.  One night I had to pitch my tent on icy ground up a mountainside – probably one of the coldest nights I have ever spent in Nepal.

As I arrived on foot, the village was full of children running and playing. They had never seen a white, western woman before and followed me around like I was the Pied Piper! I was perplexed at first why there were no adults in the village until a couple of hours later they appeared from the fields they were working in.  

The little girl in the purple jumper will always have a special place in my heart. She was four years old. Barefoot and carrying a small machete, with her beautiful face battered by the high altitude sun, she insisted on holding my hand constantly for the next three days. She never cried once until her parents had to tear her away when I retired at night to my tent and all I could hear was her wailing in the distance as her mother dragged her home.

Ganesh Himal region: centre of map, above the city of Pokhara

Like many people I have met on my travels, I have often wondered where these children are now. Do they have families of their own? Did they move away? Did they survive the harsh realities of living in rural Nepal?  One day, I would love to go back and search for them.

Travelling is a snapshot into people’s lives. Like a photograph, it can capture some of the most beautiful moments.


Ruthie x

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