Admiring his Uncle Bob’s butterfly collection as a young boy in England in 1950, Colin Smith had no idea that the fluttering insects would eventually become his life. Not in the UK, but in faraway Nepal.
As a Boy Scout, Smith’s fascination for butterflies grew as his uncle taught him about the metamorphosis in the life cycle of these fascinating insects.
Before long, Smith was collecting butterflies himself, while also preparing to enroll at the Imperial College in South Kensington. In 1964, Smith came to Nepal as a teacher for United Mission Nepal (UMN).
“I was told that alongside teaching, I needed to have a hobby, too. I told them that I collected butterflies,” he says. He was asked to make a collection from Nepal to bring back home.
It is a sunny January morning and Smith, now 85, sits in a thin half-sleeved shirt in his garden in Pokhara. He has lived in Nepal for 55 years now, the last 25 of them with Min Bahadur Pariyar’s family in Lamagaun near Pokhara.