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Running away from Home

Running back to Pokhara for the weekend

NEPAL | Friday, 19 February 2010 | Views [433]

Democracy Day--School is out today and we are only committed to the morning session of the library. Since there is no school, it makes for a wonderfully quiet morning that I can spend getting an idea of all of the materials in the library. After we closed we went back to the house for our morning/midday meal. Nepalis only eat two meals a day, one at about 10:00 in the morning and then another around 6:30 in the evening. The portions are large and for a guest they are as large as you want. The best compliment you can give is to ask for more food. We are also fed snacks throughout the day, mostly store-bought crackers or popcorn accompanied by coffee or milk tea. The corn that they use is not the standard variety of small-kernel corn that you get in a bag of Orville Redenbachers. The corn kernels that they use are larger and some of them don’t pop fully, but they have so much starch in them that they are still chewable. I love crunching on it. No butter, no salt, no oil, but I still find it so appealing.

Something that is awkward for both me and Kathryn is that we are fed first and just like at Happy Home, the family watches us eat. I feel like I am sitting under a microscope and I gobble my food down like a hungry hobo. We are given two spoons to eat with instead of using our hands. I tried it once, but I didn’t enjoy eating with my hands. Pizza, bagels, french-fries, all of those are okay, but not rice with a scoop of lentil stew. It’s just too messy.

After our meal was served and before we left to catch the bus to Pokhara, Kathryn, Bhai, and myself got into a conversation about poor country/rich country. He talked about how rich the U.S. and Australia was compared to poor old Nepal. I told him not to be impressed by the façade that the USA could put on. So many people in America are very much in debt. The entire country is carrying the millstone of debt around it’s neck. Bhai’s life is simple. They don’t have a lot of material possessions, but they do have land, clean water, clean air, and a way of supporting themselves by growing their own food. They are not doing too badly compared to some people in the world. When I think of poverty, it has more to do with a sense of hopelessness and no means of supporting oneself. They live a simple life, but what is wrong with that? Bhai told us about his attempt to go to Dubai for three years to earn money, but he had to put down a huge cash outlay (USD2000) in order to get the job and the visa. He said that he had to work 18 hours a day just to earn enough to pay back the money for the visa. Now that I see a problem with. I can imagine companies dangling this carrot in front of the cash-starved Nepali people to get very cheap labor, but I need to get the whole story before I start making accusations.

Bhai and his wife (whom I will call Bohini-little sister) joined us in our trek down the hill to catch the noon bus to Pokhara. They invited us to lunch at her mother’s house the next day and a bit of sightseeing afterward. The lunch, of course, would be daal bhat, Oh well, I had the whole evening to stuff myself with western food and surf the internet, and that is exactly what I did.

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