(Posted with permission; original post here: https://erinkathrynmcbride.blogspot.com/2017/12/dan-and-anthony-awesome.html)
They say when life hands you lemons to make lemonade, but how many of us actually do? Well my friends Dan and Anthony have taken that saying to heart and have devoted their lives to making lemonade in the form of helping the Nepalese community.
Dan and Anthony first came to Nepal six years ago to trek and volunteer on farms. The experience forever changed them. They immediately fell in love with the beauty of the country. Yes, the beauty of the landscapes, but more importantly the beauty of the people. Both men are outgoing, charming guys who can easily win over the heart of any old Nepalese woman. I saw it firsthand when we went to the coffee farm and Ama, the matriarch of the family, treated Dan and Anthony as her sons. It was evident that she loved them and even more evident that they loved her.
It’s clear that Nepal got in their bones and heart and wasn’t an experience they could shake. It was something that would be with them forever. When Dan got back and I was talking to him about Nepal, I knew I had to go with him someday. There are a few people in my life who I think feel so passionate about a place, it becomes their second home, a place so close to their hearts and a place I want to experience with them. For me, it’s Ireland. For my friend, Kelly, it’s El Salvador and I was blessed to have experienced that with her last year. For my friend, Sarah, it’s China and for my friend, Raj, it’s India. For Dan, it’s Nepal. I knew I had to experience Nepal through Dan’s eyes. I distinctly remember seeing him at Jine’s Restaurant in Rochester one snowy December morning after recently returning from Nepal and Dan saying how he’d love to start an organization to help Nepal. He’d love to have volunteers come over and work on rebuilding efforts for part of the time and trek for part of the time. I remember telling him what a great idea it was and how I’d happily go on the first trip to try it out and help him. Who ever would have guessed that it would only be a few short years later until that idea became a reality?
But that’s Dan. He’s a passionate, loving person who is optimistic and embraces life and all its opportunities at full speed. When the earthquake hit Nepal, he led fundraising efforts for the Nepali people and left his job and the comforts of home to come to a devastated country to help pick up the pieces and rebuild. It wasn’t a thought for Dan, but a necessity. After all, we’re all humans and why shouldn’t we help each other out?
Dan and his best friend, Anthony didn’t stop there though. At this point, they had only squeezed a lemon and hadn’t fully made the lemonade. When so many of us would have been satisfied and even delighted with ourselves for making a donation, the boys decided their love and passion for Nepal was too great to stop there.
Gandhi so beautifully said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Instead of think it, the guys did it. Both men have left their jobs to fully devote their lives to Elevate Nepal, Inc., the amazing organization that they have put their blood, sweat and tears into in order to help with the rebuilding and relief efforts that still plague the country even two and a half years later. They spent all summer traveling to markets and festivals to raise money and awareness for Nepal. They quit their jobs to focus on their work with the organization and live off their savings, not taking a penny from the money raised. They take to heart the saying, “Live simply so others can simply live.”
I have always been impressed by Dan and his life of traveling the world, helping others and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes his way. He continually inspires me and has helped me make some pretty important life decisions such as moving to Australia. But of all the cool things I’ve seen Dan do over the years, this takes the cake. Watching Dan and Anthony work in Nepal is amazing and inspiring. They are well loved and respected by the people here and they return that love and respect. All they want to do is make this country beautiful and strong again. The beauty of Nepal though is the beauty wasn’t lost. Even in the devastated areas, the people still have beautiful souls with so much love to give. Rather than focus on what they don’t have, they focus on what they do.
I’m so proud to call Dan and Anthony my friends. They are incredible people doing incredible things to help rebuild this gorgeous country of Nepal. I’m so inspired by their abilities to walk away from their own comforts to help bring comforts to others. They have inspired me to live simpler, be grateful for what I have, love a little deeper, embrace life a little more passionately, to always show kindness and to not just squeeze a lemon, but it make sweet, sweet lemonade.