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Unbeknownst to me, Nepali thunderstorms don’t always involve thunder. After a day cycling around the Southern town of Lumbini, viewing monastaries and the sacred birthplace of Buddah, I took a stroll down the settlement’s bustling residential lane.

Government policy here in Nepal demands that power be rerouted to India, where it attracts a higher price. Nightfall, then, darkens the streets.

Breaking through this darkness as I wander are bright flashed of light, perhaps a consequence of poor electrical wiring above. “Namaste”, greets a boy walking in the same direction as me. He explains the lack of power, before pointing out friends playing a dice game, and a streetside Hindu temple.

After an uncomfortably hot and humid day, some spots of raiun are welcome for me, but others begin to run. Puzzled (for all else seems peaceful), I turn to walk back towards my lodge, but as I do so a hand grabs mine and leads me through the darkness.

The boy, Sumit, has brought me to shelter from a tumultuous storm; one that is devoid of thunderous sound. Invited to sit, I meet Sumit’s family, the Paudel’s, including his sister Sushmita and their father. Their mother is away today.

This is a Christian family, the father a priest at Churches both here in Lumbini and in nearby Sunali. Their house is welcoming, clean and – quite rightly – a subject of obvious pride.

My gratitude isn’t even vaguely conveyed by the Polo mints I offer round, but as the rain continues to crash down, I enjoy chatting with the three Paudels about them, about me, about our respective homes and our respective churches.

The conclusion of the rain hints at my departure, but before I do so we share a prayer. The prayer, said in Nepali, is for my safe travels, for the work of Churches both here in Nepal and in the UK, and for the joy of this evening.

I owe my thanks to the Paudel family, but even more, I feel priveledged to have met such thoroughly nice people.

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