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Off and Running

Living with the Nepalese

NEPAL | Saturday, 9 July 2016 | Views [345]

I left my hotel en route to my host family in the foothills of the Kathmandu Valley. I went in a taxi with no seat belts, Bob Marley stickers plastered all over the car and half of the floor missing (I'm not kidding). We stopped every two minutes because the car would break down and I was surprised to see myself alive after the journey.

I was greeted by the host family who I would be staying with for the next month. They showed me around the house, I am in love with my room which has a balcony with an incredible view of the Kathmandu Valley. The family includes the dad, wife, two sons, brother, sister and the grandparents .I was welcomed with Nepalese tea and mango (Both of which I don't like but just accepted). All of the family are super friendly, especially little Suival. Suival is three years old and after ten minutes of hanging out with each other we became best friends. After only a few hours the family asked me to watch him for a while. This was all well and good until he ran onto the rooftop and wanted to play chasey. As I tried to catch him I was watched by a monk and several other Nepalese people on their rooftops- good start I'd say.

At night I was invited to the family dinner. I was assuming it would be a sit down meal with the whole family but I was very wrong. I walked into a tiny kitchen and could only see place mats on the ground (Sitting cross-legged for long periods of time is much harder than it seems). I sat on my mat and was given a huge serving of traditional Nepalese food. As I was eating the family members continuously came in and out of the kitchen. The grandma who speaks no English, sat down and watched me eat every single bite of food. It seems it doesn't matter what country you are in, universally, grandmas have to make sure you eat enough until you can't walk. Every time a family member came in the kitchen they asked me if I wanted more food . As I said "No I am good' they interpreted it as 'It's good' and assumed I wanted more. My plate got filled three times and I never wanted to eat again.

The next few days I spent working at the local orphanage. The orphanage has 21 kids. The youngest being two and the oldest sixteen. At first the kids were very shy with me but, by the end of the week most kids had warmed to me. I am aware that working in orphanages has it weaknesses, I study development and have learnt about this. However, I do believe that there are many benefits that volunteers can bring. I think being aware of the issues within a orphanage and volunteering with a reliable organisation improves the experience for both the volunteer and the children. I know it sounds cliche and you hear this with every volunteer but the children are truly the kindest. In the past week I have set out to teach them all sorts of activities, games, and English songs, but in turn they have taught me more then I could have taught them. From making headbands out of grass, spelling words with flowers, teaching me how to play board games and about Nepalese culture. They are all ridiculously smart and children in developed countries could learn a whole lot from them.

Most of the time at the orphanage the children play with each other. However, the teenage boys are always eager to take me on adventures. They decided to take me on a walk and what I assumed would be a quick walk around the village, turned in to a three hour hike to the highest waterfall in the valley. The walk was steep, it was hot and the smells were awful. We dodged rubbish,children and even cows. However,
the good outweighed the bad as I was rewarded with this view.


A little further up the trail was a hidden waterfall. The trail was muddy and dangerous and I was only wearing $4 Kmart shoes. Meanwhile all the kids were just wearing sandals. I eventually reached the waterfall, even if it did take seven Nepalese locals to physically lift me up the rocks to get there. The view was again, was well worth the struggle.

They also showed me the local temples within the valley. At one temple I was given a blessing from a sick elderly Nepalese woman. The temple is open from 2-5am everyday so people can come to pray. Although I am not religious it is super interesting to see how dedicated and faithful the Nepalese people are to their religion.

Despite all these good times in the last week there have also been lows. In Nepalese culture breakfast and dinner is a full meal. In the past week I have had Dahl everyday for breakfast and dinner. To begin with I loved it, but within a week I have become sick from the food and never want to eat rice again. The family are extremely hospitable and I appreciate everything they do but, I am at the point now where even rice bubbles would be the dream breakfast. Another low has been the language barrier. I know it has only been just over a week, but when the only person you can have conversations with is a three year old boy, it can get a little lonely. Obviously, I understand it is also hard for them to understand my English but I am just glad I have wifi so I can talk to people at home. So sorry to my mum, sister and boyfriend who constantly get bombarded with all my messages.

This week has been crazy and insightful. I have woken up everyday to the sounds of prayer bells, cows and children, been locked in a bathroom for an hour by a little boy, eaten food so spicy I literally cried, had to venture into town to buy toilet paper, been asked to have photos taken with the locals, been told I am lucky because I have a big forehead, spent the week trying to work out how to use the shower (I still don't know how to use it), literally turned heads in a village where it seems they had never seen a white person before and been called sister by children in the local village. Interesting to see where the next three weeks will take me, that's assuming I'm not dead by the rice by then.




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