When Muna Gurung returned to her native Nepal in 2016 after years living in the United States, she quickly realized that she was returning to a very different place and that her mother was adapting to a changing country accordingly.

“In the years I’ve been gone, two things have happened,” Gurung wrote in a moving new piece for Roads and Kingdoms. “One is that an earthquake had shaken her and the country, and the other is that she had started taking English classes.”

 

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The aftermath of the earthquake — and the knowledge that her life and home could disappear in an instant — sent Gurung’s mother on a emotional journey. Ama (as she is referred to throughout the piece) began focusing on getting an education and figuring out how she could further build her skills.

“All my life, I’ve cooked three meals a day and cleaned the same dishes over and over again. I’ve achieved nothing. Given nothing. I have no knowledge,” Ama said to her daughter one day. Troubled by the conversation, Muna writes that she began to think of ways she could share her mother’s excellent cooking and knowledge of food with the world.

 

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Our achārs are born in Kathmandu but they travel the world with our customers! Here are some jars of ĀMĀKO sitting comfortably at dinner in Khartoum, Sudan! A warm thank you to our beloved friends at @cosynepal who make a gift out of our achārs at home and wherever they roam! #amako #takeuswithyou #madeinnepal #amachori *Make a gift of us today. Order now for free delivery w/in Kathmandu+ free gift wrapping+ free messaging!* Link in bio:☝🏽

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“We launched ĀMĀKO, our intergenerational pickle company, in the summer of 2017,” Gurung wrote. “In the Nepali language, the suffix ko denotes possession—like an apostrophe s. ĀMĀKO means mother’s.”

Though it took a while to get both her mother and their extended family on board with the idea (many relatives wondered why Gurung was so intent on doing “American things” the moment she arrived home) the company now provides a variety of pickles and achar. Current varieties include karela, lapsi and mula.

As the company has grown, both Gurung and her mother have realized that Amako is more than a job or a company to them.

“In all her years of living and working from five in the morning to past ten at night every day including weekends, this was the first time Ama was getting paid directly for something she has produced,” Gurung noted.

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