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Robert Cain

Momo Challenge in Pokhara


Here in Pokhara I am completing a community development internship. In addition to teaching English at local elementary schools, co-leading an afterschool program, and supporting other GVI initiatives, the internship includes completing the Institute of Leadership and Management Course, preparing a leadership presentation, and implementing a leadership project.

On Wednesday (September 4th), I experienced my favorite moment in Nepal thus far. One of my fellow volunteers, Nadia, hosted her own leadership project. The stated objective of the project was to make 900 Momos (traditional Nepalese dumplings) in one hour and raise $750 for the Women’s Empowerment project in Pokhara. However, the actual accomplishment of the project was much more transformational.


The day arrives!

After much preparation in the weeks leading up to the Momo challenge, Wednesday finally arrived. Despite scrambling around to finish last minute details, the clock still struck 2pm, and the one-hour timer began. Women from 3 different women’s empowerment projects across Pokhara converged and intermingled for this Momo Making Challenge. In addition, local Nepali GVI Staff’s family members came to join in the fun. These men and women furiously worked to roll and cut the dough, fill and shape the dumplings, and deliver them to the steamer. GVI staff, including myself, worked in the kitchen steaming the Momos and packaging them into take away containers.

It was an incredibly beautiful sight to see men and women from not only across Pokhara, but from across the world, working side by side for a common goal. In the end, we easily made 1,180 Momos within the one-hour time limit. We also raised $890, surpassing the original goal by $140!


Actual Achievements

Although both of the stated objectives were surpassed, the actual accomplishment of the project cannot be defined by numbers. The key word in the previous paragraph is we. The entire GVI community worked together to accomplish these goals. It was not Westerners raising money and awareness, but rather Nepalis raising money for a cause they believe in. Nadia worked tirelessly to ensure that the fundraiser was inclusive and community focused.


As the Momo Making challenged came to a close, each woman walked out with 40 Momos each, a tangible reminder of the collaborative and sustainable accomplishments completed in just one hour on a random Wednesday in September.




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