Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without – Buddha

Limbu from Nepal won UK writing contest with a poem about the shock of life in Britain

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 2, 2015

A pupil from Nepal named Mukahang Limbu has won a Sunday Times-backed writing contest with a poem about the shock of life in Britain
mukahang limbu     Mukahang Limbu receives first prize for his poem from the Princess of Wales Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

A 13-year-old schoolboy who moved to England after spending his early childhood in Nepal has become the first winner of national writing competition sponsored by The Sunday Times.

Mukahang Limbu’s poem, about the shock of adapting to life in Britain, was one of more than 3,000 poems and stories on the theme of “home” submitted by state school pupils. The contest was organised by the charity First Story and judged by a panel including the writers William Fiennes and Laura Dockrill. Mukahang’s prize was presented by the Duchess of Cornwall.

First Story was set up seven years ago to bring writers into state schools to work with underprivileged children and encourage their creative writing.

Every year a writer-in-residence runs after-school workshops encouraging pupils to write about their experiences. The charity is working in almost 50 schools in the East Midlands, Gloucestershire, Lancashire, London, Oxfordshire and West Yorkshire.

His poem:

When I came from Nepal

As I clutched my suitcase …

thick hot sweat

built in the slits

of my palms, which

shook holding its cool

metal brace. We walked

into day-winds, thick

as dried out paint

on unwashed canvas.

The sky was painted

daffodil yellow. The ground

was a dirty grey.

There was a metal bird:

an array of fearful,

forgotten paint


Missing the feeling of home

I smell the iron rust

of the Municipal Gardens.

The sour tang of home still

sits on the tip of my tongue

like the zest of sweet citrus



I did not know

of grey, gravel roads,

or the bright buzzing

of scarlet cars.

I did not know

of lonely red-bricked


gazing strangers,

standing next to next,

military officers, in endless

I did not know

of silence in the streets,

or the secret whispers on

the buses,

or the sly gestures of

I know now

In this place

where I did not know,

the things I did not know

embrace me in ways

I didn’t know.

Mukahang Limbu.

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