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article imageOp-Ed: Nepal's poor yet beautiful women, young and old Special

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By R. C. Camphausen     Apr 29, 2013 in Travel
Kathmandu - Nepal is among the most impoverished nations in the world, but you wouldn't suspect it when seeing the smiles and open faces of its women and girls. Most travelers are drawn here because of the magnificent Himalayas, yet the people are even more majestic.
I've been fortunate enough to have traveled to Nepal several times, spending altogether five months in the country. Sometimes alone and sometimes with my life-companion, I've stayed nights in both cheap and luxury hotels in Kathmandu, in simple lodges in smaller towns or villages, once rented a primitive house near Pokhara for a month, and went trekking through the amazingly beautiful mountains on sometimes dangerous paths and, of course, without guides or porters.
Unpaved roads everywhere. In the background the majestic Himalayas. South of Kathmandu.
Unpaved roads everywhere. In the background the majestic Himalayas. South of Kathmandu.
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Every time on returning home, either films or memory chips were filled with images, and among them I always found a great number of portraits depicting open faces, wide smiles, honest eyes ... beauty young and old.
Knowing that all of the women I've photographed lived in what we regard as as very poor and 'miserable' circumstances makes it all the more surprising -- or does it?
I want to 'share' these images with you, and without much comment. Have your own thoughts when you view them, hopefully taking a bit of time when you do so.
By the way, there's not a single image here where the photographed person was not asked for permission and gave it; not even the two older ladies who look less happy than the rest.
Girl returning from school. Nagarkoth  Nepal
Girl returning from school. Nagarkoth, Nepal
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Wise woman near the Swayambhunath temple outside Kathmandu  Nepal
Wise woman near the Swayambhunath temple outside Kathmandu, Nepal
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Like many of the poor  men and women  this girl earns her living by carrying heavy loads through the...
Like many of the poor, men and women, this girl earns her living by carrying heavy loads through the mountains; often on bare feet.
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Young mother  begging on the stairs leading towards the large Swayambhunath Stupa near Kathmandu  Ne...
Young mother, begging on the stairs leading towards the large Swayambhunath Stupa near Kathmandu, Nepal
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Girl or woman  how can you tell? Nagarkoth  Nepal.
Girl or woman, how can you tell? Nagarkoth, Nepal.
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Ginger selling market woman. Kathmandu
Ginger selling market woman. Kathmandu
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Wild and homeless girl. Pashupatinath temple  Kathmandu
Wild and homeless girl. Pashupatinath temple, Kathmandu
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Weaver  Kathmandu. The red dot on her forehead signifies that she s married.
Weaver, Kathmandu. The red dot on her forehead signifies that she's married.
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Lady with honorary wrinkles  Kathmandu
Lady with honorary wrinkles, Kathmandu
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Sisters ... Kathmandu
Sisters ... Kathmandu
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Two market women in conversation. Durbar Square  Kathmandu
Two market women in conversation. Durbar Square, Kathmandu
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Two girls. Durbar Square  Kathmandu
Two girls. Durbar Square, Kathmandu
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Young one carried by her mother through the streets of Kathmandu. The black  kohl  under her eyes is...
Young one carried by her mother through the streets of Kathmandu. The black 'kohl' under her eyes is not make-up, but a protection against the sun.
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Street-view (without Google) of women and girls. Kathmandu
Street-view (without Google) of women and girls. Kathmandu
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Having seen all of this, and being high up in the Himalayas, sometimes above the clouds, it often truly feels as if you're in a different world, at the end of the world ... or the universe. The restaurant in the picture below really exists, and they took their clue from Douglas Adams (1952 – 2001) and his book by that name.
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Nagarkoth  Nepal
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Nagarkoth, Nepal
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Last not least, here's an image of another primate species one often encounters in Nepal.
Swimming monkeys near Swayambhunath  also known as Monkey Temple.
Swimming monkeys near Swayambhunath, also known as Monkey Temple.
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This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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