Firstly, many thanks to everyone who commented on my quandary about returning to Nepal . If you missed it, you can find it here.
I don't suppose any of you will be surprised to know that I'm going - though not until September.
Why? Because I have friends in Nepal who want me to. They don't share my concern that visitors might exploit their poverty, or see their destitution as some sort of tourist attraction. Such first world angst means nothing to them - they simply want visitors, in any shape or form, to help give their tourist industry the kick-start it so badly needs.
I'm not clear, yet, what I'll do while I'm there - Tika will take care of the details. (Oh, where would I be without Tika!!)
The biggest decision will be whether to visit a project supporting those affected by the earthquake. My instinct - at this point - is to play that by ear. I'll only go if I can be useful - and I do, given my working history, have the skills to help traumatised children. I'll not engage directly in any therapeutic play with them - such interventions need the context of a relationship with someone who can be alongside them for weeks or months and not a fleeting visitor, but I can talk with those helping such children and pass on some of the ideas and techniques that I used in the past.
(Having said that, I shall - of course - have balloons in my pocket. Sometimes having fun is just the best thing that could happen, even if it is all over in half an hour.)
I do hope to visit some of the beautiful places that have nourished me in the past - I know elephants still tramp through the jungle in Chitwan and all the temples in Lumbini are undamaged. No trip to Nepal would be complete without a beer by the Lakeside in Pokhara or stroll around the Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu.
And the rest of the time - I shall wait for the Nepali to tell me what they need. This may or may not reflect the appeals from Aid Agencies - but I feel strongly that we infantalise local people if we make assumptions about what they need and what help we should provide.
So there we are. I have accepted an invitation to visit. There can, surely, be no better reason for going.