WordFood - how we feed or starve our realtionships

- Julia Hubbel

Julia’s ability to get this group of type-A executives to engage in true networking was incredible. She is truly skilled at motivating the group to engage and interact with each other, and her openness and honesty really come through.

— Shelley Stewart, Jr.,
Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence and Chief Procurement Officer, Tyco

June 26, 2014

Wordless WordFood

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Julia Hubbel @ 9:01 am

It had been a very long journey of seventy miles up and down the Himalayas. The adventure had been great fun even though some of us hadn’t quite gotten to Everest Base Camp, thanks to a very late spring snow storm that dumped nearly three feet on our heads over the course of three days. As it was, the views were stupendous, the journey amazing, the company great fun.

However, at the teahouse at the top, I managed to pick up an ugly bug which chased me all the way down the mountain back to Kathmandu, and I barely made it back to the hotel to collapse into that big king bed before I succumbed to a combination of the Kumbu cough, a digestive “disorder” and whatever else attacked my innards.

For the next four days I spent most of my time in bed, sleeping. The cleaning crew, a group of very sweet natured Nepali women led by their supervisor Anu, came in every day and went about their business quietly and carefully, minding that I was ill. I had a supply of Snickers bars and dried cherries and made sure that they were distributed among the women. As I got well enough to venture out, I visited the neighborhood supermarket and bought more supplies, including Oreos (you can get them anywhere), which the women loved.

Anu took to spending more and more time in my room. Their office was right across the hall from my suite, so I saw them every day coming and going. We got to know each other a bit, and Anu and I had long conversations about work and life and women’s opportunities in Nepal. Over the course of that week I became very fond of them, and having them visit every day as I began to shake off the ugly bug with my antibiotics was some of the most fun of my time at the hotel.

Two days before I was scheduled to leave I was locking my room in preparation to head up to the top floor breakfast bar when I spotted Anu heading up the hall towards me with a small package in her hands. She made a beeline for me. In her halting English she gave me the bag and said that she and her crew wanted to express their appreciation for my being a kind client for the past week.

Inside the package was a pair of turquoise Nepali pants and a light cotton top, clothing far more appropriate for the 90+ temperatures than what I had been wearing during my Snickers hunting excursions. The items were lovely. But it wasn’t that.

These women, Anu and her crew, don’t make very much money. In fact, they make very little. For them to make such a gesture was a gift of great consequence, and it moved me to tears. I honestly didn’t know what to say, and Anu saw this in my face. She understood that sometimes, there just aren’t words. We hugged. We also agreed that I would dress in this clothing the next day and I asked her for a group photo.

The following day I was in my Nepali clothing- and someone had an excellent eye because everything fit perfectly-and we hustled the entire group together on my floor for a big group photo. Later, Anu asked if I would be willing to write her a letter of recommendation to her boss, and she provided me with paper and a pen to do so. Easy to do.  I wrote her and her crew a glowing letter. She was delighted.

While the adventure was an amazing trip, I consider these moments with Anu and her crew some of the highlights of my time in Nepal. Sometimes it’s what we don’t expect that moves us the most. Anu floored me with her generosity, humbled me with her gift.

To be graced in such a way, there are no words.

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