A Large Cooking Pot

welland-nepal-05Little did I know how owning a large cooking pot would cause my entire life’s path to veer unpredictably. Never mind the details of that story, but the cooking pot eventually led to a life-changing experience when in 2006, completely by accident, I became immersed in the tiny country of Nepal, its people, its beauty and its many tragedies.

I was in the country trying to adopt an eight-year-old orphan who had serious medical needs, ignorantly confident that I would quickly be able to expedite the maddening and illogical movement of the Nepal government. Five long months (and one civil war) later, we were finally successful and I came home with my new daughter, but my narrow Western thinking of how the world is – and understanding of what real hardship is – were shockingly, indelibly altered.

A Country of Contradictions

Nepal is a country of contradictions: beauty, warmth, simplicity, Laura Welland in Nepalbreathtaking scenery and a culture of sharing, alongside corruption, poverty, aid-dependent greediness, trash littered-streets and pervasive neglect. The shambles of their government – a monarchy overthrown in 2006 with nothing but violent political jockeying since then – made me frighteningly aware of the treasure we have in America with our functioning democracy, despite its many flaws.

Electricity, water, health care, good food, roads – these are things that we Americans take for granted, things we feel innately entitled to. Those kinds of luxuries, along with the rule of law and an expectation that justice should and will be served, is completely lacking in the life of the average Nepali.  The earthquakes in April and May of 2015 added another crushing blow to people who seemed to have nothing to lose, yet lost even more.

A Fraction of a Dropwelland-nepal-03

Since adopting our daughter, I’ve been back to Nepal over 20 times, spending weeks in remote rural villages as well as Kathmandu, doing whatever seems reasonable, logical and achievable to help. My contributions, an immense amount of time and effort, have assisted a very small number of people, and I’ve learned that such is the nature of aid work.

My projects’ achievements are less than a drop in the bucket of Nepal’s need – but I also understand that without people who give a fraction of a drop, the bucket will never have any water in it at all. This thought is what keeps me going in the face of unreasonable, illogical and seemingly unachievable challenges, along with the camaraderie and support of others who give of themselves to make the world a better place, who share laughs with me when we find leeches on ourselves or ride for two hours over a dry creek bed in a jeep carrying 26 people and some goats.

I challenge every reader here to make sure that you are giving at least a fraction of a drop more than you take from the world. The bucket will fill.

For more about on my projects in Nepal,
Read this News Article from Namlo International
and watch the video below.


Laura Welland in NepalLaura Welland in NepalLaura Welland in NepalLaura Welland in Nepal








I've worked with:
  • CARE Nepal
  • Engineers Without Borders USA
  • Engineers Without Borders Nepal
  • EWB Engineering Service Corps
  • Himalayan Wild Fibers
  • Namlo Nepal
  • Nepal Police National Headquarters
  • Organic Village
  • Room To Read


I've worked on:
  • Community needs assessments
  • Irrigation feasibility assessments
  • Kathmandu Composting/garbage solutions
  • Nettle fiber processing research
  • Post-earthquake needs assessment and reconstruction planning
  • Translation editing/speech writing
  • Water Supply system evaluation, planning & construction
  • Women’s Economic Empowerment Program


I've worked in these roles:
  • Business plan advisor
  • Professional Mentor
  • Project Advisor
  • Project Engineer
  • Project Lead
  • Research partner
  • Travel Team Lead Safety Officer

The construction of a water supply system in a small village in Nepal

Contact Laura Welland