It's official, Anjali's Do Lecture has made its way out and into the world. I love how The Do Lectures crew ultimately titled her talk “Little Miss Sunshine.” It's a powerful story and I am so proud of Anjali for sharing it. It took some guts to get up there! There was so much emotion in the room and I practically broke out into tears just introducing her. She was nervous in the beginning and then she really got her confidence and ended strong. Her last line is my absolute favorite part of the entire talk. I remember reading it (as she was preparing her draft) and getting goosebumps. Thank you to the entire Do Lectures family, our hosts CampoVida and to Safira (our Kopila Home Fellow) for practicing with Anjali for the days leading up to our trip. Thanks to all of you for cheering on the journey, and making our trip to the U.S.A. so special.
Here's Anjali's talk for when you have a quiet 18 minutes. It has a wonderfully happy ending.
Anjali and I typed up a post about our trip on the long plane ride home. We tried to think of questions that people asked her the most.
Here’s our little Q & A with more of the back story.
Also, a beautiful piece published by Peck News with some great photos.
What did you think when you got on an airplane for the first time?
It was soooo cool. It would have taken a lot longer on the bus, that's for sure. Sometimes my ears bothered me. I chewed a lot of gum. I liked the big planes where we could watch movies.
How did you get your passport and visa?
We knew all a long that there was a chance I might not get it. (Maggie was stressed.) It’s hard to get documents in my village and I don’t have parents or lots of family but we found one of my cousins had kept my father’s citizenship after he died so that helped us. We had to make a police report on my case and find witnesses. In Kathmandu they asked lots of questions and investigated our NGO and last we went to the U.S. Embassy for an interview. They said yes, after a few hours and some more questioning. We were so happy!
Were you scared to get up on stage and tell your story at the Do Lectures?
Yes, I was so so scared and nervous. I practiced a lot, mostly with Safira and then a little with Maggie on the plane. Then like the day before at Campovida Anna and Duke took me into the barn and got a crate for me to stand up on so I was tall enough on stage. They let me practice with the microphone. Everyone’s advice was to talk slow and take deep breaths. We were worried people wouldn’t understand my accent. Right before I got up on stage, they played Maggie’s Do Lecture from a couple years ago and we all watched it on the big screen. I had never seen her talk before and it was so sad, I started crying and then I thought, “Oh no, like I am crying and I haven’t even gotten up there yet.”
Did you write your Do Lecture by yourself?
Yes. I started writing it 4 or 5 months before our actual trip when we got invited and Maggie asked me if I wanted to go. I worked on my speech even before I knew if I would get my passport and visa. I thought about all my memories and tried my best to write them. First, I wrote 4 or 5 pages about my life story. Then one day I looked on the computer and realized my speech had been accidentally deleted from the computer so I had to start all over again! It didn’t take me that long to write it again though.
I really wanted to get my English right. Libby, my English teacher worked with us a lot on reading and writing over the past couple years at school. I tried to use what she taught me. My grammar is not perfect and I made a lot of mistakes but Maggie helped me edit and also tell more about certain parts of my story. There were parts that I went back to talk through and tell her about. She recorded what I said. Then we went back and typed it.
In your Do Lecture you talk about your big brother? Where is he now?
I haven’t had any contact with him. When we went back to my village I searched for him. People from my village told me he has gone to India to work. I left messages for him and I hope we will be in contact one day soon.
What was your favorite food in the U.S.?
Chicken nuggets, french fries, bagels, peanut butter, potato pancakes, OH and brownies!! Yum. Don't worry, I ate a lot of eggs, celery and cucumber and fruits too, not just unhealthy food. I didn’t really like cheese too much. Grandmother weighed me every few days to see if I was gaining weight. I didn’t gain weight but everyone thinks I got taller.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Everyone asks me that. I have 3 things I want like to be: An author, an actress, and I want to help people like Maggie does.
Did you like going to school?
Yes! Everyone was so nice. All the students wrote letters to me when I was leaving and I read them again and again. My favorite part of school was lunch and recess and art class. I also liked learning about satellites in Science. Kendall was my friend and she helped me and showed me around. Everyone made me feel so welcome. Thank you Peck School!
How was American school different from your school in Nepal?
The first thing I noticed was that the kids don’t only read text books. They do lots of other activities and they use computers a lot. There were lots of similarities too. The kids all liked to do the same things we like to do, like play, dance, sing and go to recess.
What did you miss the most?
Definitely my brothers and sisters and all the other Kopila kids, aunties and uncles. I missed them a lot.
What was your favorite place?
We traveled to so many places in just a few short weeks. I’m lucky I got to see many places. I enjoyed everything. New Jersey and Campovida were at the top of my list. I loved playing in the garden at Campovida and New Jersey was cool because I got to see Maggie’s home and all her friends there. I also liked playing with girls my age. (Hi Tessa and Stella, Gabriella and Faith, Sophia, Sydney and Piper, Christy and Taylor!)
What was the most surprising thing about your trip?
The buildings. I remember looking up in Times Square and wondering how all those tall buildings didn’t fall down. It was also really clean everywhere. I didn’t see a lot of garbage on the ground like I see in Nepal. Also the Ocean. Oh my God, it was so cool to see. Seeing and visiting with all the volunteers who had been at Kopila was fantastic. I also liked spending time with Kate, Libby and Grandmother (and dog Hank) and seeing Maggie’s house in New Jersey. It was so pretty and the leaves changing colors was cool. I loved hanging out and watching the Disney Channel. Giving my talk was really great, although it was a little bit scary, I’m really happy that I did it.