Photo courtesy of Kaitlyn and Luke Jantzi

For Kaitlyn and Luke Jantzi and their children, Mirabel, 5, and Leo, 7, the rooftop of their home in Nepal is a space for play and relaxation.

Names: Luke and Kaitlyn Jantzi

Hometown: Kitchener, Ontario (Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church)

Assignment: From our base in Kathmandu, Luke oversees MCC’s work in Nepal, serving as MCC representative for Nepal and reviewing projects and plans. Kaitlyn provides mental health resources and counseling across the MCC system.

Typical day: Starts when our children (Leo, 7, and Mirabel, 5) wake us up. We take them to the bus stop on our electric scooter (doing our best to reduce our contribution to pollution here). Then Luke heads to the office. After a staff devotion, everyone gets tea and heads off to work. Kaitlyn works from home, seeing clients online, planning webinars and providing mental health resources as requested. The children get home around 4 p.m., and we spend the evenings much like we did in Canada — supper, LEGO® play, stories and then bedtime. After that, we sometimes have meetings with staff in Canada or the U.S. (time zone changes make this work best), but we also are able to kick back and relax in our cozy apartment.

"Nepal is rich in culture and beauty, and we share awe and wonder as a family, which brings us closer."

Joys: Being a part of such an excellent team. The Nepal staff have a wealth of knowledge and wisdom, and grace for our learning curve, which has been a gift. Further joys have been watching our kids flourish in this new environment. Nepal is rich in culture and beauty, and we share awe and wonder as a family, which brings us closer. We have had opportunities to travel around the country, including into the mountains and throughout the Kathmandu Valley.

Challenges: Arriving in Nepal during a major spike of COVID-19 in 2020. With no access to vaccines and a precarious health care system, it was a strange and challenging time to adjust.

On climate change: Shorter monsoon rains mean a shorter growing season and greater food insecurity. Our children have indoor recess not because of rain or cold like in Ontario but because of pollution. These are reminders of the ways in which we humans are having a direct impact on the climate and our own health

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