Bob and Georgia Talbert traveled to Nepal two years ago.
The Kennewick couple hiked in the Himalayas and got an up-close look at the stunning peak Ama Dablam — something they’d wanted to see for years.
It was the trip of a lifetime, Georgia said.
But it wasn’t the trekking or the mountain view that made the journey so special. Instead, it was the people they met in a small, earthquake-racked village.
Bob helped clear land for rebuilding. Georgia taught English to the children.
They were so moved by the experience that they’re going back — and they’re bringing money and supplies to do even more good.
“Every one of the kids wanted to learn. They were like sponges. What I’d planned for the first four days, I finished in two hours,” Georgia said. “They touched my heart.”
Georgia retired from the Kennewick School District in 2011 after working there for 30 years as a teacher, assistant administrator and technology coordinator.
Bob is retired from Battelle. He worked as a nuclear physicist.
The couple will head back to Nepal this month, spending nearly four weeks there.
They’ll once again do some trekking, and they’ll visit neighboring Bhutan.
They’ll also spend time in Gyandaphia, the village they visited two years ago, plus another nearby village.
They’re coming loaded for bear. The Talberts are bringing 100 pounds of books, largely paperbacks, easy readers and picture books.
They’re also bringing teaching posters, plus money for school supplies.
They raised more than $1,800 through two garage sales. Georgia said local teacher friends have been instrumental, helping with the fundraising and donating books.
The Talberts are making the trip through Over the Edge Travel, the same company they used two years ago.
They’re excited. It feels like they’re “coming home to meet with family and good friends,” Georgia said.
When they last were in Nepal, the country was recovering from a massive earthquake that hit months before, killing about 9,000 people and injuring many more.
Gyandaphia saw its share of destruction. One of the first structures to go back up in the village was a temporary school. It was primitive, Georgia said, but it showed how much the community values education.
She’s honored to be going back, to be using her skills to help out, she said.
The trip was life-changing. “One thing we learned is that it’s not stuff that’s important,” Georgia said, recalling how one Nepali man told them that his family was “wonderful” after the earthquake, because — despite losing everything — they survived.
“It just made us come back and say, ‘Family, friends, your neighbors, your life — living it healthy and to its fullest — that’s way more important than material things,’ ” Georgia said.
She and Bob love to travel and take in as much of the “diverse, beautiful world” as they can.
For them, “travel is a two-way street,” Georgia said. “It’s not just, ‘I’ve been here, here, here.’ It’s, ‘I’ve learned from this place. I’ve learned from the people who are here.’ ”