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Memorial to the Ancestors

Over 9 intensive days, students constructed a Memorial to the Magar Ancestors at the remote villages of Namje-Thumki in the eastern foothills of the Himalayas. Students designed the memorial during the spring semester at Catholic University, in which they were immersed them in study of Nepali and ethnic Magar culture and history, and the ecology of the village site. The entire village participated in the project, from schoolchildren, who sang songs, and passed stones to the students while they worked, to the elder shamans who dedicated the project with a ‘puja’ ritual. Hundreds of villagers were part of a day of opening ceremonies full of song and dance. It was a cross-cultural exchange that was life-changing for both students and villagers alike, with friendships forged, and connections made for years to come. Located on the highest hill of the Thumki village, the Memorial to the Magar Ancestors is located in an ancient burial ground surrounded by the growing fields of a newly-established sustainable agricultural education center. It is envisioned that the memorial will not only honor the dead, but will be a symbol of regeneration of the deepest aspects of the culture of the villages to inspire new development for housing, tourism, education, and employment within this community, and as a model for other villages in remote Nepal. (excerpt from

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