nepal

A day in Nepal with Breyona

Breyona Midgett serving in Kathmandu, Nepal with Serving and Learning Together (SALT) program

Hi, I am Breyona! I am from Fresno, California, and am currently serving with MCC’s Serving And Learning Together (SALT) program in Kathmandu, Nepal.

I started my year-long term in August serving as, Mental Health Administrative Coordinator at  KOSHISH - a nongovernmental organization that supports people with mental health and psychosocial issues. The word "KOSHISH" means "making an effort”.  KOSHISH is different than other organizations in Nepal because it is carried out by people with a lived experience of psychosocial disability issues that are driven by passion for the work they do to help others. 

Breyona (middle) is pictured with Sarvada (left) a MCC YAMENer from India and Megan (right) a fellow SALTer enjoying time at a famous Buddha Stupa - Boudha in Kathmandu, Nepal.MCC photo/Breyona Midgett

KOSHISH has established a transit home for women who are experiencing symptoms and living with severe mental illness. During their stay at the transit home women receive therapy, necessary medication, socialization and lodging. The goal of this service is to identify the mental illness, efficiently treat it and reintegrate the women back into their home and community.  

Currently, I am working on collecting information for research that focuses on the reintegration process, treatment, and therapy aspects of their mental health program that will be helpful to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. In addition to research, I edit documents in English for publication to KOSHISH’s donors and work on various projects like the rally for international disability day.

Breyona attended the International Disability Day in Nepal.MCC photo/Breyona Midgett

In Nepal, mental illness, mental disability, and psychosocial disabilities are not widely accepted or understood, so persons living with severe mental disabilities face discrimination and maltreatment in their communities. I’ve had the honor of watching some women be reintegrated back to their families or communities. For example, a young 19 year old woman who has been reintegrated back into her community for almost two years now helps her father tend to their farm and does household chores on her own. She is much happier and healthier then when she came to the transit home.

The majority of women who arrive are not talkative, do not engage, or they walk aimlessly about the courtyard and may sit isolated from the group engulfed in a delusion. Over time, we start to see that women start to open us during dance therapy and began to talk with the other women and nurses.

I am learning a lot about the culture here, there are so many differences in Nepal than from my United States culture. Nepali’s eat with their hands. There are utensils, but are predominantly used for cooking, serving, or guests. I live with a host family, so I have a typical Nepali diet. Everyday, twice a day, I eat Daal Bhat which is white rice and lentil soup served with either Saag (mustard greens) and/or Tarkati (potatoes).


Breyona attends the Tihar Festival, a national five day holiday in Nepal. MCC photo/Breyona Midgett

There are so many ethnic groups and festivals in Nepal and every week is an opportunity to learn about a specific God or ethnic group in Nepal. For instance, in November a national five day holiday called Tihar.

Breyona creates the Laxmo symbol with white rice dyed with powered paint on the ground at the Tihar Festival with fellow SALTer Megan in Nepal.  MCC photo/Breyona Midgett

In the second half of my placement, I look forward to continuing and completing my research project. I have learned so much about Nepal, mental health, and myself through this process. I look forward to learning more about Nepali culture and making more friendships and deepening the relationships I have made so far.

Please pray for me as I continue my term in Nepal for my overall health - I had a parasite and was horribly ill for a week and a half. There are moments that I get homesick, feel lonely and disconnected, so pray for my mental and emotional health.

Breyona had enjoyed numerous hiking trails during her time in Nepal.MCC photo/Breyona Midgett


Serving And Learning Together (SALT) is a unique year-long cross-cultural immersion experience for Christian young adults from the U.S. and Canada, ages 18-30, sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).

During their assignments SALTers are immersed in another culture, living with host families or communal settings such as dormitories or teacher housing in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin and Central America and the Middle East.

For more information, visit mcc.org/SALT or contact Thomas Adlard, West Coast MCC Young Adult Coordinator, at ThomasAdlard@mcc.org.