Falling in Love in Nepal

I am falling in love with 25 children in an orphanage here in Rampur in Southern Nepal.  Because this little town has neither wireless (at least not today) nor a functioning keyboard in this tiny internet cafe, you will have to ignore typos (they are just too hard to correct in a timely fashion) and the lack of photographs as there is no way to connect my memory card to this computer.

My fingers are getting lots of exercise jamming down the keys.  To get to this tiny village, it’s a 45 minute hot and dusty road filled with gravel and rocks that make the chip seal of Texas seem like a polished surface.  Today my host family pulled out a bicycle and asked if I knew how to ride it.  Oh, sure, tik chaa (no problem).  That’s when I was warned not to move the pedals backward or the chain would fall off.  “Are there brakes?”  “Of course!”  I didn’t literally ask if they work.  I found that out the hard way.  The seat is almost vertical so every once in awhile when I can’t stand it anymore I coast to a stop, jam it back down and continue riding.  My knees come almost up to my chest but it’s a faster ride to town.  In the heat, that counts for something.

Since I arrived here on Sunday morning by bus from Chitwan National Park, I’ve been getting lots of exercise.  My first 3 hours at the orphanage that afternoon were to play with the younger children while the older ones studied for their exams.  Who knew i (SHIFT KEY IS TEMPERMENTAL) would be playing Bomb Blast for the first hour, a game that involves throwing a makeshift ball made out of scraps of rubbery plastic at each other with rules that took me a long time to figure out.  “Sister!  You’re out!”  “Sister! You’re in!”  On day 2 I got it but I was also ready for some alternative games.  We’ve played everyone I can think of from my childhood – Red Rover, Red Light, green Light, Hide and Seek, etc – most of which they already knew from other volunteers.  Yesterday, I took a new tack and introduced some singing games which were a big hit.  And, for all you ST gals, they now know the Beaver Song, even if they have no idea what a beaver is.

In the mornings, I help the older students study.  Yesterday, it was a 5th class social studies exam where I got a look into the Nepali school system.  They study things like why witchcraft is bad, the work of the various government organizations and the natural resources of all the surrounding countries.  Listening to the chatter in the room reminds me of the sing song voices of the little guys on the buses in Kathmandu who yell out the names of the places on the route.  Everyone was reading aloud, memorizing the text which they parrot back to answer the questions.  Even my adult “sister” who is attending university classes, reads outloud as she studies.

(just lost my post from here to end _ arrgghh)

After study time, I help in the kitchen, washing dishes at the pump and mopping the floors.  When I return to my home, it’s time for dahl batt, eaten on the floor of the kitchen with my right hand.  We have tea at 6 a.m., milk tea at 3 and dahl batt again at 8 p.m.  We also have warm milk from the cow before bed which seems to be helping me sleep or maybe it’s all that running from Bomb Blast.

 

My famly has been very welcoming.  There are 4 bedrooms for the father and mother, their two sons and their arranged marriage wives and one 3 1/2 year old boy.  The “living room” is on the porch and their is a small barn where the cow and her calf live.  They grow all their own vegetables and have a tree with bananas AND  MANGOES.  The village is very friendly as I walk by and  most people greet me with namaste.  Children ask me for chocolate and one young teenager can’t believe I’m 56.  I like her already.

In Chitwan, I rode another elephant, this time on a platform with 3 f riends and saw another rhino from on top.  I also saw a just born baby elephant at the breeding center in town, very cute.

I also walked around a Thuro village, a native Nepali tribe< seeing their mud homes>  sometimes I have to remember these are real people, living real lives, even as it looks like something out of National Geographic.

Time to saddle the bike back up and head back for tea and a little rest in the heat.  Time takes a different dimension here in this rural area and I should be good an mellow after 2 weeks here.  Maybe I’ll also stop being sore from too many games of Bomb Blast.

 

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. Barbara

     /  March 27, 2012

    Isn’t it wonderful that children are children all over the world! I’m so glad you’re enjoying this part of your trip. It sounds serene and fulfilling. Enjoy the rest of your stay there.

    Reply
  2. Mary Blake

     /  March 27, 2012

    Funny how little I know about Nepal. I would have thought it was to cold for mangos and bananas. Do avacados grow there as well? Thoses are some of my favorite foods. Warm milk from the cow, well, I’d have to get use to that.
    I love your blog and look for a new post every morning.

    Reply
  3. Sandra Timko

     /  March 27, 2012

    Teaching the children the beaver song—-that’s the way to bring our culture to Rampur.
    Just read your last posting also—what an adventure. You DO NOT have to conquer all your fears in this trip.

    Reply

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