Part 3: The Beautiful People of Nepal

I must apologize for any typos, spelling and grammatical mistakes.  I am not able to edit after posting due to the internet speed and strength.

Thursday was Luke’s 10th birthday and everybody made it a special one.  We had hidden a small LEGO set for him in our luggage and he was very surprised and overjoyed to receive it!  At the school they had a special little ceremony to celebrate him.  They gave him flower garlands and served us a special treat.  On our plates were 1 orange coloured ball of ? that was sweet, 1 round, white cheese, that we think was Buffalo cheese and the most delicious fried peanuts and Colliander.  Of course there was tea as well.  After we went to a restaurant that is in the base of the building where one of the teachers, Bindi, lives.  It is located just above the school, in the market.  We ordered momos, which are stuffed dumplings. The stuffing and dips were fairly spicy, but so yummy.  The kids were thrilled to have Coke in small bottles.  Four of the teachers joined us and we were happy to be able to pay the bill.  Jeff said that it was all under $5.00 US!  We couldn’t believe it!!

IMG_5183 The Birthday Boy

IMG_3491 Luke’s Birthday celebration food.

Friday morning we took the ambulance again to the school.  It was a different driver than before and we had picked out two coats, stuffies and treats for the first driver’s 2 young children, so we had the new driver stop on the way to drop them off.  Our first driver lives right on the edge of the main road, right on a hill and a sharp turn.  Their home is perched on the edge of the mountain.  His wife and daughter were outside and were very grateful for the gifts.  His daughter’s face lit up with the stuffies.

When we arrived in the village the one student, who is always there early to greet us, was waiting for us along the path to the school.  He is in class 4 and has glasses.  Jeff was ahead of us along the path and when he arrived on the playground there was an elderly man under the sun shelter.  The man had a bad cough and sore glands.  Jeff immediately headed off the the “Natural” store to buy him medicine.  He bought him a cough syrup, throat lozenges and some form of Tylenol.  He then had Surya read the directions for him, as they were in Nepali of course, and to instruct the man on how much to take and when.  After getting “fixed up”, he headed on his way.

IMG_5322

The grade 7s were happy to have me continue reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to them.  We are working on using their imaginations and background knowledge to predict what is about to happen, to explain what is happening and to understand what the characters may be thinking and feeling.  This is new to them, as they usually just answer comprehension questions where the answers are right in the book.  One boy, who lives in the hostel (orphanage), is very good at this and has caught on quickly.  He has made it much easier for me to model how to do it for the other students.  They are all very bright and enthusiastic about learning, so I know that by the end of the novel they will all be experts!  While I was with class 7, Luke was with class 5 and the girls and Jeff were busy preparing a homemade version of Headbanz to play.  They were drawing and labelling different animals, objects, places, etc.  Next we used magnetic words, on the desks, to make sentences to scramble and share.  They absolutely LOVED this activity and it was a great way for them to improve their sentence structure and grammar in English.  I think they would have done it all day!  When it was time for Math the girls and I headed up to class 3/4/5 to try out the Headbanz game.  They loved how silly we looked, wearing the cards on our heads.  After we demonstrated how to ask the questions, and they had a good giggle, they started to try it out.  It was a great way to get them to ask questions properly in English.  At first they were saying “I am animal?”, but with some gentle reminders they started to word it correctly, “Am I an animal?”.  Hearing them speak in English and giggle non-stop was very rewarding.

IMG_6002 IMG_6005IMG_5332

Since it was the beginning of a government break, due to the upcoming election, we finished school early.  After our black tea and noodle soup we headed out of the market, in the opposite direction of our home.  We stopped at the tailer for the boys’ Nepali outfits.  It is a different tailor than the one who is making the girls’ and my outfits.  While walking, I slipped my hand into Jeff’s and he dropped it immediately!  I had forgotten that public displays between men and women are frowned upon.  It is very common for men and men to hold hands or walk arm in arm and also for two women to walk this way, but you will not see men and women showing affection in public.  We have been respectful of this and have followed, but out of habit, I slipped up!  It is common for the children to show affection to their parents in public and in general, the Nepali people are very loving.  Boys will walk with their arms around each other, girls as well, and I can always count of Bindi to hold arms with.  Next, Luke and Ella were lucky enough to hop on the back of the motorbike with Surya, and Grace, Jeff and I headed up the mountain road with a few of the teachers.  They never leave us alone, we always have a Nepali friend guiding us.  This is very reassuring.  The sun was hot and we had all our coats, water bottles and backpacks/purse to carry.  Yes, I am whining – haha!  After we travelled quite far up the road we all of a sudden started to follow a path up the side of the mountain.  This led us to where Surya, Ella and Luke were waiting.  We were welcomed by an elderly man and his grandson.  They are farmers and Surya says they are very poor.  The grandmother was in the shelter boiling potatoes, from their garden, for all of us.  The young boy then went to the garden to gather the fresh ingredients for his grandmother to make a type of relish for the potatoes to be dipped in.  The shelter was made primarily of woven mats, wood and tin and had a dirt floor.  The cooking area was a small fire with a metal grate resting on clay bricks.  The second shelter had 2 wooden beds and their clothing and blankets.  Behind their home was the shelter for their pigs.  Luke, of course, spent most of his time watching the piglets and photographing them.  The road does not go to their home, just walking paths.  The kids gave the boy one of the Canadian hackie sacks that we have brought with us and Jeff and the kids all played.  We were then served the boiled potatoes, which we peeled with our hands and ate.  They were very hot and tasty, as they were fresh from the garden.  The relish was very spicy hot, but also delicious.  Ella and Jeff were the bravest and enjoyed eating it the most.  Luke and I tried it, and liked it, but it was too hot for us.  Grace, who thinks Canadian Ketchup is spicy, avoided it after hearing the Nepali teachers saying it was very hot.  We sat on a bench and woven mats on the ground, outside.  It was very humbling to be served so much, from people who have so little.  They were so proud to have us there and enjoying their food.  Before leaving, I left my zip up fleece for the grandmother.  They are proud people, but are grateful to receive what they need.  They had given to us and we had an opportunity to give back to them.  On the way home Surya told us that he had asked the grandfather to come to our home the next day to select coats for the others as well.  Bright and early the next morning he arrived and we were able to outfit him and the boy with new winter coats, candy and eyeglasses.  We also gave him one of the jumbo ziplock bags that we used to condense the coats in our luggage.  It will be useful for carrying his cauliflowers to the market to sell.  He will use a rope/strap to carry it on his back, using his forehead to hold the strap.  He left very happy and left us happy as well.

IMG_5425 He still remembers how to hackie sack!

IMG_3495 Waiting for our potatoes to cook and visiting.

IMG_5419 Our gracious hostess, in her kitchen.

There is no school until Thursday, we think.  It is the actual election.  At night there are buses, loaded with people travelling by.  The people are even sitting on top, which must be so cold!  People have to travel back to their birthplace to vote.  You will also see trucks with the military drive by.  Surya is the most amazing travel guide and host and has different things planned for us over the next few days.

Saturday:  After a quiet morning of sitting in the sunshine and blogging, we set out in the truck to the home of two of the teachers, who are sisters.  Also there, were Bindi, their mother, and their niece, Ravia (sp?), who is about 2 and absolutely adorable.  We sat in the kitchen, while they cooked for us.  They used propane burners and a wood burning clay oven to make the food.  The girls and I LOVED interacting with Ravia.  We were taking tons of pictures, which she loved to look at.  Soon she had ahold of Grace’s iPod and was snapping “selflies” of herself – haha!  The food was absolutely amazing.  We had chicken, which we didn’t know our bodies were craving until we had it.  Up until this point we have mainly eaten vegetarian, except for eggs.  We had brought a small hostess gift of sweets and bracelets Grace had made for them.  We also brought the bag of eyeglasses for them to go through, which they seemed to enjoy.

IMG_3517 IMG_3549 IMG_5541 IMG_3521

With our tummies full, we all loaded into the truck and headed to a Buddhist temple that is located on a peak, just outside of the main village.  The view was amazing.  We then walked down and up the next peak to a resort that is owned by a Swiss woman and her Nepali husband.  It was made of rock, that looked like limestone, it had glass windows, clay pots full of familiar flowers (begonias, impatients and geraniums), had a gazebo, wicker chairs, red painted benches on a stone patio, gardens and the most amazing 360 degree view of the mountains.  Apparently it is about $45 a night to stay at and such a contrast to the other homes and hotels in the area.  (Earlier, in the village, Grace and I had giggled at a hotel named “The Seaside Hotel; an Exotic Getaway”.  It was no where near the sea and did not look partically exotic.)They had western toilets, which we found out when Luke needed to use one.  If you are ever lucky enough to visit this beautiful country, this would be the place to stay, if you didn’t want to rough it at all – haha!  I know that Jeff’s mom, Marg would happily move right in there.  We met the manager, who is a friend of Surya and also the brother of one of the teachers at the school.  His English was exceptional.

IMG_3575 Inside the Buddhist temple.

IMG_3725  Bindi, Shova & Roshna at the resort.

Sunday:  We had another slow start to the day, since there is no school.  We sat outside, fed the goat, ate breakfast outside and enjoyed watching the going ons of the neighbourhood.  For lunch we headed to Bindi’s home, right in the heart of the market.  She lives with her mother, brother, his wife and son.  On the way we stopped and saw Ravina, her aunt and grandmother to drop off one of our suitcases for them.  She was so excited to see us again and started to squeal and blow us kisses.  Bindi’s home consists a series of rooms at the top of an apartment style building, located just above the school.  On their rooftop terrace you are able to look down onto the school and school yard, which was great.  There were people drying their laundry on the school yard fence and playground equipment – which is such a good idea!  Looking over the edge, Luke’s sunglasses fell and Jeff had to go down a level with the broom to get them off the ledge they landed on.  Once again, the view was amazing and the food was absolutely incredible.  One of the other teachers was there helping Bindi cook, as well as Bindi’s mother and her sweet nephew, who is also about 2.  Once again we brought a hostess gift, with sweets, hairbands and a homemade bracelet for Bindi.  We also brought one of our suitcases for her and her family.  We ate in their main room, which is decorated with bright carpets and pictures of Bindi and her family.  It is obvious how proud her mother is of her and she should be.  Bindi is an excellent teacher and the vice principal of the school.

IMG_5609 The girls at Bindi’s.IMG_5629 Our feast!

 

After lunch Surya drove us up some very rough roads to the Buddhist monastery.  There we met the priest and some of the nuns that live on the compound.  They welcomed us into the temple, which was breathtaking.  It was such a peaceful place, with the bright, colourful prayer flags flapping in the breeze, the sound of the small river going down the mountainside and the beautiful hand painted murals on the buildings.  The priest and nuns have their hair shaved very short and wear burgundy clothing.  Surya says they dedicate their lives to Buddha and do not marry or have children.  There was even a young girl there as a nun, perhaps around 12.  Surya said it would be her parents choice for her to be there.  On our way home we stopped again in the market to buy a freshly butchered chicken, farm fresh carrots and potatoes and 3 cans of Everest beer.  2 for us and one to marinate the chicken in – what a treat.  Jeff cooked the chicken over a fire in the yard and we had a typical Leueny family dinner!  One of my favourite things was seeing the little girl next door spying on us as we sat around the fire singing and talking.  She sat in her open window, enjoying the entertainment.

IMG_5679 IMG_5701

Monday:  Still no school.  We woke early and had our usual start to the day.  Internet is best at this time so we try to post pics etc. then.  When walking in the yard, I noticed that there were two tiny black goats in the yard next door.  I ran to get the kids and by the time we were back at the fence the elderly lady was hand feeding one with her 9 year old granddaughter and 5 year old twin granddaughters at her side.  They allowed us to hold the 2 week old goats, which we want to keep of course.  The girls then came over to play and we also invited any other children we saw to join us.  Ella and the 9 year old girl made a beaded skipping rope from a kit a friend donated from home.  The morning was spent skipping, playing games, playing baseball with a stick of bamboo and a hackie sack and giggling.  They loved to see the videos I took of them.  Jeff was playing guitar for all of us and the kids said they were having major dejavu(sp?).  I told them I thought that it meant they were on the right path in life and that they were where they were supposed to be, doing what they were supposed to do.  Jeff also befriended a female dog, he named Blondie.  She had a bad gash on her leg and he snuck some antibiotic gel on it when she was snoozing.  He also said he had experienced dejavu in the morning when he was playing guitar and Surya came down from the house to join him.  He said that it had been in a dream he had, before we left Canada.

IMG_5750

 

IMG_5781 IMG_5782 IMG_5784 IMG_5938

After lunch we said goodbye to our little friends and walked down the very narrow road that leads to the entrance of the lower, older, original village of Dolakha.  It is where Surya was born and raised.  We stopped at a gazebo-type structure perched on the edge of the mountain.  Pictures do not do the view justice.  It is such a peaceful spot, with incredible views of the river below and the terrace farming.   The snow covered mountains to the East are both in Nepal and China.  You can see the summit between the two ranges, where people pass.  There are no roads, just paths.  Everest is not close to us, but these mountains do look like it!  We then walked down into the village.  Surya knew everyone.  We visited the home that he was born in.  It is over 500 years old.  The windows have ornately carved wood lattice on them and in the courtyard in front there was a small Buddhist statue.  Of course we saw many dogs and goats in the streets, which are only for walking.  We even saw Blondie!  All of a sudden a small, black dog was at our sides.  She only had 3 legs, but got around very well.  She then proceeded to follow us throughout the village and up all of the steps to the famous, beautiful Hindu temple.  She waited there as we took in the sights and then followed us down all the steps to the area where we stopped to have tea, served to us by Surya’s friend.  Ella named her Winnie and was very emotional, wishing she could come home with us.  We thought she may be hungry and gave her some food, but she just left it and looked up at Ella.  We think she was just wanting our company.  Shortly, before we got up to leave, she just all of a sudden looked at us and got up and headed down the path towards the part of the village we had first met her.  Perhaps she is the spirit of someone we have known in our lives.  We returned home and soon our friends from next door had joined us again.  I was sitting on the patio and the two little twins grabbed chairs and pulled them as close to me as possible, our knees were all touching.  They call me “sister” and it sounds so sweet.  We shared some chocolate and then Luke and Ella headed to the market with Surya on the motorbike.  Grace then played with the 3 girls, swinging them around and around.  She was a non-stop spinning ride.  Their uncle came over as well.  He is 15 years old.  The girls live with their grandparents as their father is dead and their mother works at a hotel in India and sends the money home to them.  Their uncle could not believe that Grace, who was more than a foot taller than him, was only 13!  After a yummy dinner of leftovers from the night before we went to bed.  It was an incredible day!

IMG_5801 IMG_5804 IMG_5849  Winnie following Jeff and the kids through the village. IMG_5854

The Hindu Temple and Winnie at the top of the stairs.

IMG_5923

These cuties, from next door, pulled their chairs as close as they could to me and snuggled right in, calling me “sista”. Made me so happy!

Tuesday – today:  This is the official day of the voting.  I could hear a lot of “moving” in the night.  This is what they call travelling from place to place.  You could hear the buses on the road around 4 am, before Mr. Rooster, my nemesis started!  Surya and his wife have headed off on foot to vote.  Our little friends have come again, this time bringing their 16 year old aunt.  After a little visit, they headed home and only Aroti (sp?), the nine year old, has stayed.  She has been skipping with the kids and they are now sitting making bracelets and listening to music on the iPod.  We will not head anywhere today, as Surya feels it is best for us to stay close to home.  He is not even allowed to use his motorcycle.

4 thoughts on “Part 3: The Beautiful People of Nepal

  1. Thank you Jayne. I enjoyed reading it. I think that they are really very wonderful, warm people. Aunt Jean

    ________________________________

  2. Hello from Kennedy Drive!!!:-)
    The kids and I are enjoying reading about your time spent in Nepal. It’s fascinating to the kids to hear about what life is like there, what the houses are made of and all the fun the kids are all having together. Looking forward to reading more and happy you all are safe and having such a great time!

    Fletch & Ardyn send BIG hugs to Grace, Ella, and Luke!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s