K – Kathmandu



Map of Nepal






Kathmandu, Nepal hid my brother, Jim, for three months in approximately 1991.  My brother, then a Buddhist monk, accompanied his Hawaiian Lama and the Dalai Lama around India distributing funds.

Quote about Nepal

From the time my brother was extremely young, his one desire in life had been to grow up to be a Japanese Boy Scout.  He was intrigued with the Asian cultures.  As Jim aged his interest in Asian cultures and religion grew until he became a Buddhist monk living at the Honolulu Ashram.  Jim’s gift was learning and speaking foreign languages as he spoke: French, Spanish, English, Russian, and Tibetan plus some German and Dutch.  Because of Jim’s capability to speak and read Tibetan Jim was invited by the Hawaiian Lama to accompany him to India to distribute funds to the monks in the temples.  Ecstatic, my brother accepted the invitation.  Here was his opportunity to experience the Asian culture, practice his Buddhism, and meet the Dalai Lama.

Picture of Kathmandu

Jim’s experience in India was mind-blowing as he learned that he hated the caste system.  The monks lived in lovely clean temples, where the nuns lived in corrugated metal huts with dirt floors.  The nuns stayed vigilant to keep the cobras out of their dwellings. Jim experienced living in the filth first hand as the Gulf War was taking place and the people in India hated Americans. Since my brother was light-skinned, blue-eyed, and red haired, the monks dyed my brother’s red hair and beard, black.  Then they darkened Jim’s skin.  Since Jim was blue-eyed, people considered Jim Nigerian. Then the monks took my brother to Kathmandu and hid him out in the squalor there for three months.  Eventually, the monks figured a way to sneak Jim out of the country and back to Hawaii.



After my brother’s experience with life within the Buddhist religion and caste system, he turned in his robes as soon as he returned and left the Buddhist religion.  Sadly, while in Kathmandu my brother picked up three unknown (to the American Medical Association) parasites.  By the time doctors determined what was wrong with my brother, the parasites had made “Swiss-cheese” of his organs.  Due to Jim’s additional illnesses, he was told he was going to die.  The question was how long could his body fight off the illnesses.  Approximately two years later, my brother dropped into a coma and passed away three days prior to his 42nd birthday.  Due to his wishes his ashes have been spread in Tibet, Hawaii, and here in the states.

Living in Kathmandu definitely was a unique and life altering decision for my brother.

Nepal quote





(For more information about this subject go to my Family Section on this blog and read my story “Acceptance.”)


About Gwynn Rogers

After 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the fields of real estate, high tech, and corporate travel, Gwynn has moved on to the career of “Grandma.” When not teaching her granddaughters an extensive vocabulary of “alley-oop-boop, ups-a-daisy, cowabunga or bummer”, Gwynn can be found hunting for mentors for the Kitsap Youth Mentoring Consortium, or chasing her fantasies on her treadmill. Gwynn currently freelances for magazines.
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16 Responses to K – Kathmandu

  1. Wow, Gwynn. Just wow. So much to learn here, so much beauty to all you’re presenting to the reader, and I love it. I’ve read about your brother before, this brought it all back. What a good, sweet, and wonderful person, Jim. Thank you for sharing him with us. I’ve enjoyed reading every single word, and learned more about the world in the process.

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Thanks Silvia for your kind comments. I was having difficulty coming up with a “K” so this popped into my mind. My brother lived quite a unique life. He wasn’t afraid of charging ahead like I am. I do miss him though.

  2. pat garcia says:

    Your brother had some very deep experiences. This is a wonderful tribute to your brother and the life that he lived.

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Thanks Pat. I so wish I knew more about my brother’s experiences in Kathmandu. If he told me, I simply don’t remember and he didn’t put much information in his journals. Plus, I accidentally threw out his journal about his trip to Nepal. Jim’s other journals didn’t speak about his life. I had wanted to see if I could write a book about his life, but I don’t have enough information. If I wrote it, it would be a fairy tale.

      I wish I had learned to charge off into life as my brother did. More importantly I wish he was here to talk to me.

  3. What a story! As I read it, I noticed the past tense as you wrote about your brother, and I thought, “This can’t be good.” My heart breaks for its end.

    This line really got to me: “The monks lived in lovely clean temples, where the nuns lived in corrugated metal huts with dirt floors.” I had no idea.

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Nadine, I think I have some of my brother’s pictures of the nuns’ huts. You would cry. Some of the world’s mindset about women truly is sad… beyond sad… horrific! Most of all I miss my brother. He definitely was a Hippie and quite a character… but in California in the 60’s it was “sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll!”

  4. Susan Scott says:

    I also remember him from a previous post Gwynn. You bring him alive again. And you can talk to him – I’m sure the lines of communication are open – just writing about him now is an indication of openness of communication. And a worthy tribute. Thank you for sharing him again.

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Thanks Susan for your comments. Sadly, this is all I remember about Jim’s trip to Nepal. Jim and I definitely were strongly attached for quite a while. I have not felt his presence for some time. I suspect he is out there into too many adventures. Or he has landed back here on earth somewhere starting a new life. I sorely miss the conversations we used to have though. Now, I have to create a two-sided conversation and talk to myself. 😉

  5. suzanne says:

    Oh my gosh Gwyn. I started out loving your post, meeting the Dalai Lama is on my bucket list and reading about your brother having to be in hiding! Then learning how he experienced the caste system, I never realised just how bad it was, but totally understood that it made him give up his robes. And then to learn that he picked up parasites that ultimately took his life, so sad, I am just speechless. Something that should have been an amazing, wonderful experience went so wrong xx

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Hi Suzanne, My brother was quite a character. As I mentioned, go into my family section on this blog and read my story, “Acceptance,” and you will get the FULL story.

      I did not personally meet the Dalai Lama, but I heard him speak when he came to Seattle. He is an inspiring man. I would be curious what he thinks of women’s issues though considering how the nuns live.

  6. Marsha Lackey says:

    What a story. My stomach is quivering. That’s the only way I can explain the physical experiences. The spiritual as well. His sensitivity brings tears to my eyes. He searched for a powerful faith and found mankind is capable of the ugliest deeds. What a rich soul he IS!!! Only his physical body has died. His love and concern lives within you. Your writing expresses that so beautifully! Thank you for sharing Jim with us. Thank you for sharing him with me so many times. I know that our souls have met. Love you & your creativity.

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      You are always SO kind!! Thanks Marsha. My brother was an OLD soul. I do miss him. He lived way beyond his time!! He was your 60’s Hippie! 😉 Thanks for being the dear person that you are!!

  7. I can’t say it better than Patricia already has, above. Your brother did indeed have some deep experiences. What an amazing individual he is. And what an enriching story you have given us here, Gwynn. Thanks, too, for displaying the maps, to recall just exactly where Kathmandu is on the world map.

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Thanks Samantha for commenting about my brother phenomenal life. He went out and faced life while I sit here. The good and the bad is that my brother was very proactive about what he wanted in life… experiences. He had no interest in material things but he craved knowledge and experiences. He lived WAY more life in his almost 42 years than I have in my 65. I do miss him.

      • That was his karma, Gwynn. This is yours. You are right where you need to be, doing what you need to do; and as Susan reminded you replying to a comment on a recent one of her Dream posts — focus on yourself, not him. You are doing just fine.

        Believe me, I must remind myself of this advice constantly, especially when I look at Facebook and see how successful, happy and accomplished everyone else is. It can depress me if I let it. It can be unsettling, uncentering, to say the least.

        • Gwynn Rogers says:

          Yes, watching others when I am dealing with pain is NO FUN. I fall into the trap of being depressed too. Thus, my walking and work at climbing out of that hole. I keep trying to fill that DARN hole in, but I haven’t found enough dirt yet to level it off. I wonder what part of Karma made me go through this… or what I did in another life time!

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