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Elderly Newar woman, Bhaktapur, Nepal

Elderly Newar woman, Bhaktapur, Nepal

Pottery Square, Bhaktapur, Nepal

I could see her hobbling along the cobblestone-and-brick streets of Bhaktapur. Her vivid purple shalwar kameej stood in stark contrast to the beige and ruddy hues of old-town Bhaktapur.

As we approached, she moved toward us slowly, carefully, her frail body illustrating every ache and pain. Hunched and somewhat crippled from age and a difficult life in Nepal, she only came up to my ribcage. Clasping her hands in a begging position in front of her face, she explained in a shrill voice through rotted teeth that she was suffering from tuberculosis and had no money for food, let alone medical care. "Please," she wailed, "please, sahib, please help me."

In Nepal in general, it is not customary to give money to beggars unless they are physically or mentally incapable of helping themselves. This kind old woman certainly feel into the acceptable donations category, and thus I gave her what I could. It was but a financial Band-Aid - she needed far more money than I had to ensure a healthy life and a positive future. But, it was something, and hopefully that night she was able to fill her belly and buy some medicine to help her rest comfortably...

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