Mother Group Bids Me Farewell in Puma, Nepal

Puma’s Mother Group is normally on hand to greet the few visitors who make it to this remote mountaintop but on the day I arrived they were performing traditional songs and dances of the Gurung caste in southern Nepal. Instead, on the morning of my departure the mothers trickled into Aama’s compound and climbed over the garden walls to pick flowers. Laden with blossoms, they gathered back on Aama’s porch and began stringing together marigolds, daisies, and bright red flowers into long chains. Focused on gathering my luggage in time to catch the four-wheel drive jeep down the mountain, I paid little heed to what they were doing, as I was by this time used to neighbors coming and going throughout the day.

I was about to say my goodbyes to Aama, Didi, and Prakash when the mothers gathered around me. One-by-one they expressed gratitude that I had chosen to visit Puma, garlanded me with flower leis and silk scarves, and bowed to me with a Namaste, the word traditionally used for hello and goodbye. Instead of a formal welcome, I got a grand send-off, which touched me to the core. I saved the scarves and dried a selection of the flowers; both will always remind me of the love and caring that I experienced in this rare mountaintop Shangri-La.

Aama ties silk scarf around my neck
Aama ties silk scarf around my neck
Another Mother Group member presents me with a flower lei
Another Mother Group member presents me with a flower lei
Puma's Mother Group gives me a warm sendoff
Puma\’s Mother Group gives me a warm sendoff

Giri Gurung, managing director of Nepal Tourism Travels & Adventures, organized a portion of my travels in and around Nepal, including my trips to Nagarkot, Changu Narayan, Chitwan National Park, and this amazing four-day home stay with his family in Puma. Nepal Tourism Travels & Adventures office is in Kathmandu, conveniently located in the Thamel backpacker district. Their website is, and Giri’s email is [email protected] or [email protected].

25 thoughts on “Mother Group Bids Me Farewell in Puma, Nepal”

  1. This is the culture Nepalese people to put MALA( Necklace of flowers ) during farewell and welcome to the people. These people are become friendly very soon with others people but there has been lots of changes made by MAOIST conflict during 10 years war. people are afraid when they see a stranger.

  2. Those garlands of flowers are somehow so touching for us, I remember feeling so moved when I was in India and was similarly garlanded, what a lovely farewell

  3. The joy evident on your face in the pictures really shows how this place has touched you and really add life to the post. I’m loving the increase of photos and video of late which are adding a great new dimension here 🙂

  4. I loved this whole series on Puma. You are a model for mindful travel. Even though you chastised yourself for not taking time to say thanks for your blessings, in an earlier post, you say thanks by sharing these lives with thousands of people. Thank you. (This identity is not correct because it picked up the wrong Twitter account. Should be Vera Marie @pen4hire)

    • Thank you so much Charnell and Vera! I spent so much of my life focused on
      making money and acquiring things and never gave back much of anything. I
      had to lose it all to realize what is really important, so what you wrote to
      me means a great deal.

  5. Very touching. Normally we get grand welcomes, you got a grand farewell and one that is soul-filled. This is very touching. I hope to see photos of your re-visit someday.

    • Kristina: Interesting you should mention a return visit. Usually, once I
      have left a country I don’t go back because there are so many other
      wonderful places to visit. But in the case of Nepal, it has touched me so
      deeply that I now I will return again and again.

  6. Barbara,
    It sounds like you had a great experience there. The pictures are great and capture what I’m sure was a moving farewell. Boy, threshing the grain looks like a workout. Perhaps you can return leading a tour of people looking to develop their upper body strength…fitness touring! “Develop yourself while touring the developing world.”

    • Oh, too funny, Jason. I laughed when my trekking guide told me the bit about
      not needing gyms or health clubs in Nepal because everyone gets their
      exercise in the fields. Instant fitness, he called it, and he was so right.
      These folks work hard, all the time.

  7. I almost cried reading this and looking at the photos. The worst part of being somewhere you feel really good is leaving, but it is as if they have turned a farewell into a thing of beauty too. I don’t have the slightest doubt you will returning there!

    The older I get the more a fan of woman-power I become!

    • Isn’t that the truth about woman power. Strangely, it’s the women who keep
      this country running, but they are not really recognized as a strong
      influence in the cities. Fortunately, up in the mountains it was a bit
      different. They still did much of the work, but I felt they were better

  8. What a wonderful farewell – it sounds like both parties were touched by your visit. What a great job the Puma ladies are doing from your description.

  9. It really is Donna. But I think I’m getting ready to head for warmer climes,
    since it’s getting really cold here and there’s no heat in any of the

    • Hi Ruth – well, that is the question, now isn’t it? I am absolutely flourishing here and feel better than I have in months, perhaps years. But I’m taking it a day at a time, staying in the moment, enjoying the experience, and trying to recognize the path I am supposed to take when it is laid out before me.

  10. The women are so lovely. This has been my favorite of your trips. Though I loved Mexico, too.

    I just got back from Oxford, Mississippi, and was tired after a week-long event. You are amazing 🙂

    • Thank you ficwriter! I must say, this trip started out horribly but has turned into my favorite all time trip as well. No worries abut your comment, I took care of the typo and deleted the other. So glad you are following me along. And if YOU say my writing is good, well, it’s an honor.

  11. such a lovely farewell.

    Barbara, I can read & enjoy your posts through facebook, but not through email. Wonder why?
    Happy trails…

    • Hi Johanna: Are you subscribed to get an email each time I publish a new
      post? And those are the ones you can’t read? If so, can you tell me what you
      see, if anything at all. Might help me to troubleshoot the problem.

  12. Its so wonderful to see that the mother group has really taken hold there. When I arrived there is wasn’t quite as organized as it is now! Strangely my favorite part about visiting Puma is always the process of leaving. It’s sad, but I always know I’ll be back. And yes – I still have every silk scarf they have given me – I store them in pockets of my backpack and suitcases for good luck and memories.

    • ottsworld: I’ve done exactly the same with the silk scarves! In fact I’ve
      already recycled them as I get blessings from Buddhist monks, wrapping up a
      small donation in the scarf. When the monk unrolls the scarf and takes the
      money, he puts the scarf back around my shoulders. That way, it’s getting
      double and triple blessings. 🙂

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