'Faces of Nepal' features photos of G-AHS grad

Shawn Hardy
Chris Bonebrake conjured a cobra during a visit to Nepal in 2011 and will share his experiences in the photostory 'Faces of Nepal' at Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library on Thursday, March 22.

Riding elephants, conjuring cobras and teaching English in a Tibetan monastery were some of the experiences Chris Bonebrake had in Nepal in 2011.

Local residents will have an opportunity to look through the lens of his travels when Bonebrake, a 1966 graduate of Greencastle-Antrim High School, presents the photostory "Faces of Nepal" from 6 to 7:45 p.m. Thursday, March 22, in Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library in Greencastle.

Bonebrake studied at a Tibetan Buddhist Center in Poolesville, Maryland, for six years, learning meditation because the practice is good for peace of mind, before being offered the opportunity to teach American English to monks in their teens and young adulthood.

His year-long stint was cut to three months by an intestinal illness, but he still had time to travel from the heights of the Himalayas into the lush jungles and from Tibetan and Hindu holy sites to the busy streets of Kathmandu.

*** His journey ***

Bonebrake was drafted during the Vietnam War, served as an Army musician in Germany and Washington, D.C., and earned an associate's degree in humanities from Hagerstown Community College. He worked in marketing, advertising, public relations and Internet communications for 20 years, before leaving the corporate world and starting ProShots Photography in Washington, D.C., in 2000.

He retired in 2009, but used his photographic skills to capture the images that illustrate his program which covers art, architecture, religion and culture, focusing especially on the "Faces of Nepal." He also will have a show and tell with items like prayer books, fabrics and statues.

Library literature describes the presentation as "An intimate portrait of the faces of the people and a personal view into the political, cultural and spiritual reality of the area."

Bonebrake remains in touch with friends he made in Nepal, including a man named Badri who told him, "One day I will be in your home and meet your mother."

That statement came true about a year ago when Bonebrake was able to bring Badri, attending college in the U.S., and his wife, Sushila, to State Line to meet his mother, Sylvia Bonebrake.

"They just hugged her and I watched his dream come true. I broke into tears," said Bonebrake, who lives part of the year in State Line, helping to care for his mother who just turned 90.

During other times of the year, Bonebrake travels across the U.S. visiting friends and family, including his four children. This year he is headed to Colorado.

"I always try to do something different and enjoy myself along the way," he said, noting visits and photography in places like a Navajo reservation in Arizona, Teddy Roosevelt National Park, Utah, Idaho and the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state.

Badri is planning to return to Nepal next year and Bonebrake is planning to go with him.

"I want to ride elephants again in the jungle," he said.