Editor’s note: Leah and Luke are now serving as MCC Representatives in Nepal, and are coordinating the response to the earthquake. This is a glimpse into their lives last year, as they built the relationships that are now informing our response.
Names: Leah and Luke Reesor-Keller
Hometown: Kitchener, Ontario (Erb Street Mennonite Church)
Assignment: Leah, as MCC Nepal’s food security advisor, consults with five partner organizations to design projects and assess their impact. Luke serves as a project officer, working with three MCC partners on project development, budgeting and reporting. Since two of Luke’s partners are involved in food security, our work sometimes overlaps.
Typical day: In Kathmandu, we cycle 15 minutes to our offices for a 9–5 workday. We travel about one week per month to visit projects. On visits, we’re normally awake by 6 to drink a quick cup of sweet and spicy Nepali tea before starting the day. The morning meal of dal bhat (rice, lentils and curried vegetables) comes at about 10. In a day, we might go to an office of a partner organization, meet with a self-help group, visit several people in their homes and stay with a family overnight. We’re busy talking to people until we fall into bed after the evening dal bhat at around 8:30 p.m.
“As many of our partners work in remote rural areas, visits typically involve quite a bit of travel; including by plane, jeep, bus and rickshaw; and often hiking to villages not accessible by road.” – Leah Reesor-Keller
Joys: Having the chance to work together on some projects, especially when it means we get to travel together. Also, Nepal is a naturally gorgeous and fascinating country, and we love exploring its jungles, hills and mountains as part of project visits, and in our time off.
Challenge: When we travel to a new area, community members and sometimes project staff focus on Luke and see Leah only as the accompanying wife. It’s tough to be either suddenly in the spotlight or overlooked. We have to have a lot of grace for each other and be conscious of clarifying our respective roles within MCC to those around us.