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Notes from a Wandering Daydreamer Life as it should be...

call me uncle

NEPAL | Friday, 19 June 2009 | Views [917]

It has been a while since i was last able to update my blog without fear of the computer crashing half way through, and a fair bit has happened in the last few weeks.
I have just arrived back in kathmandu after almost two weeks down in chitwan and the start of my volunteer program. life in chitwan was on a much slower pace and I am suffering a bit of sensory overload being back in the big city of kathmandu.
When we first arrived in Chitwan we spend the first few days seeing the sights. Early morning canoe trips down the river, walking through the jungle (managing not to see anything more than mating insects and a few deer) swimming with elphants, riding elephants through bushes (ripping our clothes on the sharp branches) and trying to adjust to the heat and humidity after the relative cool of kathmandu.
it took us a few days to try and figure out exactly what we were meant to be doing. ervy day there seemed to be different plans, but as we soon learnt thats just how things work here in nepal.
After a few days I still wasnt too sure on what exactly I was meant o be doing, so i ended up helping out at the blind orphanage where we would paint some walls (depite they coundnt see them..) and at a homework centre.
It was pretty fun work, and despite only being for a few hours, because of the high heat and humidity you would be drained and dreanched in sweat after only a few hours. I played a game of volleyball with the blind kids - everyone versus me. i almost died after half an hour.
we also played blind cricket which was pretty amazing to watch. a ball with a rattle in it would be bowled underarm, and the batsman would swing the bat along the ground trying to hit it. it was a pretty low scoring game and they had invented their own rules to make it work. we gave it a go, complete with blindfold and it's hard work!
After about a week or so, i felt like I wasnt really doing a great deal and decided to make the most of my time by switching programs and coming back to kathmandu to live and work in an orphanage.
So I came back to Kathmandu, riding on top of the bus the whole way with and americal girl and an irish guy (there's just no escaping them it seems!). by the time we had arrived i had gotten rather badly sunburnt, particulary on my legs. Neverless, it was a fun journey, sitting up the top, drumming as we went along and filming a commercial for everest whisky as we went. - on top of the world, on top of the bus! - however when we arrived in kathmandu they seemed to have forgotten about us up on the roof (or didnt care) as its illegal to ride rooftop in the city, even for the locals, and for good reason. with so many power lines running accros the road, some will always be hanging low and for the last few minutes we had to lay down to avoid loosing our head! but... we made it!
the following day i moved into my home for the net two weeks, an orphanage with about 23 children, plus the family who run it.
I arrived while the kids were all at school, so it was the calm before the storm. at 4pm they all arrived home and it was non-stop until bedtime around 10pm.
They are pretty amazing kids. I am now known as "uncle" and after only knowing them a few minutes, they were all over me, wanting me to sit next to them for dal bhat or to show me something.
The next morning after all the kids headed off to school, I had to go to hospital with Sanjay, one of the younger boys who had been born with a defective leg. Together with one of the older sons of Binas who runs the home, we headed off to hospital to have his leg looked at. He had a major operation six weeks ago to try and correct his leg and it was time to change the cast and get some xrays taken.
However the nearest affordable hospital is 2 hours away by bus, and a taxi is far too expencive. So together we made the journey, taking 3 different local buses. I seemed to attract a few strange looks. What was this westerner doing with the young bou on crutches on the local bus?
Finally we made it - except for the fact that we were at the bottom of a hill and the hospital was at the top. Who decides to build a hospital for disabled chilren on top a hill? it was a long walk up!
When we finally arrived, it was lunch time, so we had to wait even longer. Then a wait to see a GP, then another wait to get an xray, wait to get them developed, see another GP, get the cast removed, back to doctor, back for more xrays, doctor again, then cleaning of the wond and removal of the sitches and finally a new cast.
By the end of the day I had been all over the hospital, fetching medical records, xrays, carrying crutches or sanjay. I felt I knew the inner workings of a nepali hospital! I must be adapting to nepali time as i simply accepted things would take time to happen.
Its hard to say how his leg is healing from what i saw, but it must have been a big operation on his leg, and he still has a metal pin sticking out the bottom of his heel. Even if the leg is to heal, it is a good 10cm shorter than the left leg, So he's not out of the woods yet. But he is a very brave and quiet boy. He barely said anything all day, except when it came time to take out the stiches and clean the wound.
We must have been the last patients of the day as we managed to hitch a ride on the hospital staff bus back into kathmandu which was a lot more comfortable, finally arriving home at 7pm - a full 9 hour day!
Today I had to walk the kids to school, as the man who does it every day needs to return to his village for the 2 weeks i am here. It is a long way (again) as it is the nearest free school. It takes almost and hour to get there, and half an hour for me to get home again. Then I need to repeat that again in the afternoon. Again I get more strange looks, walking 20kids to school through the back streets.
So that is going to be my life for the rest of the month.. Give me strength!

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