Another volunteer introduced me to this website and it is tooooo funny…..
Alot of them sum up life as a volunteer! ahaha enjoy
Another volunteer introduced me to this website and it is tooooo funny…..
Alot of them sum up life as a volunteer! ahaha enjoy
Today marks 7 months in Nepal! Crazy how time is flying and we are currently in Pokhara for our in-service training (IST).
Overall life back in Syangja has sort of come to a standstill lately. Not much is going on as meetings have ended for the year and will start back up after the Nepali New Year (April 14th), and most planting is done for now.
I have mostly been working in the garden with my grandmother. The supervisor from the District Agriculture Development Office came to my village to see how our villages new water tank and pipe installment was going. While he was there, he talked with my grandmother about getting me my own plot of land to create my own garden that I can use for training and demonstrations. So when I get back to site after IST, I hope to get started on it soon, as monsoon season is quickly approaching.
Back in March Nepalese celebrated Subha Ratri. (not sure if i spelled it right). I got to observe the women in the community worshiping. I didnt understand alot of what was being said but did recieve tikka from all the women. It was cool to see the culture… and of course had to finish it off by dancing..lol
I finally went to my first wedding. I was invited by one of my community members to go and observe the giving of tikka, gifts, money etc to the couple. They also go to another location where a lot of dancing, drinking etc takes place. Well, initially I was going to both but after my grandmother, sister and many of my neighbors started discussing whether I should go or not… It was concluded that I would not be traveling with them to the after party. They all were concerned for my safety because everyone knows me in the village and looks out for me, but where we were going was considered too far to them. They were concerned because I wouldn’t know anyone and there would be a lot of drinking and boys. So they thought it would just be better for me and safer not to go. I like that they are looking out for me and seem to know me well enough to know that it was probably not a situation I wanted to be placed in. It was interesting to see the wedding though because it is so different that what occurs back in the US.
A lot of the past month has been spent with the families preparing and planting corn. I got to go with my sister to help. We had 3 neighbors come and help plow the field, plant corn and break up the large dirt clumps. I spent my time going through and helping break up the dirt clumps on 2 terraces which are owned by my family on one side of the village. After some time there, I was told to rest because the sun was out. They then went and completed the rest of my family’s terraces in another location. I would have been fine to continue but I have found that they insist on certain things so much that it’s just easier to say ok and find something else to do.
The other day I was thinking of projects and asking about animals etc and my grandmother told me she’s producing worms! crazy, but they work really well for compost. So some of the volunteers are interested in me and my grandmother holding a training for worm production, so hopefully that works out!
I’ve slowly gotten to the point where I can walk around by myself, and exert a little independence! Sometimes when I go to the district center I take a jeep into town and walk the hour uphill back home. They freaked the first time I just showed up when clearly a jeep had gone by, but I tell them I need exercise and time alone. Also, it’s just easier to walk as the jeeps are jammed pack with people and things they bought. It is amazing the amount of people they can pack into those jeeps, definitely getting up close and personal with everyone.
We have still been going through a water shortage. In the morning water comes, but no water comes at night. So most of the time my mom or sister and sometimes I help carry water back from the tank. It’s not easy so hopefully with the new water tank installation it will get better.
I have been hanging out with my family a lot and used an app on my computer to take funny pictures. They always ask me to get my computer out so we can take pictures…below are just a few of my favs.
Permanent site is good! I finally have internet at my site! That was my Christmas/birthday present to myself, an internet flash drive. I just reload with credit, like I do my cell phone here. It’ll eventually get expensive so I have to use it wisely and any downloading/uploading will wait until I go to the district center and have free internet.
My family is good. I’ve been hanging out with my grandmother a lot just sitting in the garden helping her work and talking. We have been working on making a compost pile that we can use in the garden. We also made, with the help from a couple of other farmers in the village, a small nursery area with a plastic tunnel to protect and promote growing of the seeds. We made/filled over a 100 plastic sacks with soil with 2 seeds in each. The seeds we used were tomatoes, cucumber chili’s, and eggplant. Once they are growing, my grandmother said we will transplant them to somewhere in the garden and then others from the village will buy them to plant in their own gardens.
After about a month the plants were ready to plant. I spent 4 days digging holes, filling them in with compost and planting the vegetables. I now have some blisters to prove that I am actually doing some work!
I’ve been trying to learn and get an idea for what types of agriculture they do here, so I can figure out where needs or improvements can be made. I’ve gotten to tour some other gardens in the area and see some fields and currently a majority of them are filled with potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, onion, and tomatoes. I’ve noticed they are on a larger scale and aren’t consumed as regularly by the farmers, so a project I think I found is helping promote creating better kitchen gardens using the permagarden training I learned during PST. I just have to find a good place to practice and make one of my own before trying to teach it.
I finally have an office as well. It’s nice to be able to escape and just hangout there some afternoons. I just have to get the key to the building but then I have the key to the room, which is nice, I can leave stuff there if I need to. I was invited to the school in my village’s parents day. I got to sit up at the front with everyone who was supposed to be speaking. They asked if I wanted to but I said another time since I hadn’t prepared anything, and they already have heard my introduction multiple times. They add games in the middle which was fun to watch the kids participate in. They add people speaking on a range to topics about the school, why students need to stay in school, healthy foods to feed children etc. If I had known enough time than just getting an invite the day before and what would have happened at parents day this would have been the perfect time to implement something dealing with food security. Next time for sure I’ll be ready.
There has been a water shortage lately, so in the mornings we can get water from a tap next to our house but at night we have to go to another tank about a 5-10 minute walk downhill and then carry it back. It’s easy going down but harder coming back up, hopefully I’ll have arm muscles after this! Lol
I had a site visit from our program manager Dinesh, our Director of Programming and Training Charles, and our Safety and Security Coordinator Ashok at the beginning of January which was nice. Some people from my village welcomed them by giving them flowers. It was cool to see, I wish I would have remembered my camera. They came to see how site was going and talked to some people in the village. I showed them my house, the garden and a small tour of the village. They seemed to enjoy my site as much as I do. I haven’t had too many difficulties, so we just talked a little on what I’ve been doing, how it’s going overall and possible projects I could implement. My family keeps asking when they are going to come back.
So the week I got to go on a field trip was a rough one. One night started out with me just wanting to enjoy an apple and peanut butter but it ended in a lot of blood gushing from my finger. Before I left the states, my mom had bought me a new pocket knife – so I thought perfect I can try it out. Clearly I am too use to my family’s duller knife because I applied too much pressure and the very sharp knife went straight through my apple along with my finger! Too say it hurt is an understatement. Well I managed to get the blood to stop a flowin and got it bandaged. My family asked the next day what happened and I was pretty sure they thought it was just something small and I was being a puss about it – because I couldn’t even use my hand. Well, during that day I proceeded to break my flip flops and fall rolling down a hill…not good. Then I went with my sister and brother to collect Lobsie (not sure of spelling) a small hard fruit type food. Well there was a guy hitting them out a tree and my finger was in perfect position for a fruit to slam right into it, opening up my cut and I started gushing blood again. Of course I couldn’t hold it in and started crying and was like I’m gonna go back and my sister wanted to know why until she saw my hand and was like yeah yeah go go. Well I had to get my grandmother to help me and she started crying because I was..lol what a mess….finally my uncle, mom, and grandmother helped get me patched up and told me it would be ok…this happened about 3 weeks ago and it’s just now finally healing and doesn’t hurt so much anymore.
Now for the field trip info:
When my grandmother asked if I wanted to go with her and about 25 people from my village to have a picnic, I was definitely interested! I thought we were going somewhere close but turns out we drove 4 hours away to Mirmi. A town with the largest hydro electricity project in Nepal, which was cool to see by boat as we went by. I got up at 5am since we were going to leave at 6, but on Nepali time everyone finally showed up around 6:45am. It should have taken I think about 3 hours but every time someone had to pee the bus stopped and we took frequent breaks to get food or other things. I was about to go crazy and tell them they could just wait…but thought that probably wouldn’t go over to well since I was just along for the ride – so I didn’t bother. I just kept thinking how if I was with my mom or family we don’t stop for anything unless it’s a “have to stop/emergency” – we are always trying to beat a record on how fast we can get somewhere when we travel! Lol
We finally got to the town and were going to have a picnic before we went on a boat ride. The people from my village even brought their own goat for the meat. I stopped eating goat before I moved to my permanent site – so I just got some dhaal, bhaat, and eggs. The men and women helped prepare the food and got everything cooking. Then we got to go on the boat ride, it was a snug fit on the way to temple we were going to but it was a quick 30 minute ride and was beautiful. We got to the village and before going to worship everyone went down to the river to wash their hands, faces, etc. It was interesting to see. I took some pictures with people from my village and then we headed back. The bus ride was semi interesting/scary. Everyone was singing and playing a couple instruments but what made it kinda scary was the bus driver was dancing as he was driving and the roads are crazy windy but thankfully I made it home in one piece! It was an excellent day to counteract the terrible one I had before.
A while ago the mothers group in my village had a picnic. I didn’t realize it was just for the women until my uncle finished helping set up the area and said that only women get to come and if any guys come and bother me/us to go get him..lol It ended up being a lot of fun. I had my reservations about the food being cooked since they were making chicken and kir. Last time I was sick I ended up at the hospital and the leading cause we think was kir, so I was hoping for no sickness this time. The food ended up being delicious, but I only ate a little just in case. At the end everyone was going to dance and they wanted me to also. I have no idea what I’m doing half the time I just kind of move, spin, it’s mostly in the arm movements when it comes to the dancing..lol they call “American” style of dance disco and wanted me to sing and dance it..lol ummm I had to graciously pass on that offer and told them I didn’t know how, but my grandmother took it upon her self to show everyone. It was one of the funniest things I have seen and was an excellent day overall.
Happy New Year! Hope everyone’s year is starting out well! Things are working out good on this side of the world.
Christmas was fun in Pokhara. It’s not as crowded as Kathmandu, which was nice, but it almost just seemed like a town of tourists and everywhere we went everyone spoke English. That was probably because we mostly stayed on the Lakeside part of town. I’ll have to venture around the next time I’m in Pokhara. People were always surprised when we would speak in Nepali, but there was one restaurant we went to and the waiter told us he was not impressed by our Nepali. Rude! Lol But oh well – can’t please everyone. I probably ate way too much, but it was Americanized food, not just daal bhaat, so I couldn’t resist…good thing I don’t go there a lot!
One day we rented canoes and went across the lake to a path were we could walk up to the Peace Pagoda. I rowed on the way there and it felt like the shore was getting father and farther way instead of closer and my arms were killing me. I told them I’m just gonna cruise on the way back to the other side of the lake instead of row. It was about a 45 minute walk uphill and it was an amazing view of the mountains and Pokhara. It doesn’t seem all that big until you have a view overlooking it all. We walked around and took a lot of pictures.
On Christmas Eve, Alex, another volunteer, and I went pony trekking! It was a lot of fun and was beautiful! We had an amazing view of the mountains and got to ride along the lake. We had a little Nepali man walking with us. We wish he would have had a horse too but he seemed content walking. We finally got to the lake and were like it’s time to ask to speed this along. So we got to run the horses along the lake. Made the ride worthwhile! Forgot how sore I can be after riding though…lol
On Christmas we did a white elephant gift exchange and every time I would get something someone would steal it. I ended up with a sort of coupon I could cash in, but I’d rather not say what its for on here. -__- next year there should be rules on what to give! Overall Christmas in Pokhara was a lot of fun and I’m glad I got to catch up with the other volunteers!
I always feel like when I’m with the other volunteers time runs differently. At site I’m in my room around 7pm reading or watching movies then asleep by 9:30ish but when I meet up with everyone I’m up until 1-2am. I was fine with it since we bummed around a little but was exhausted when I got back to site. Well worth it though for sure.
What a whirlwind of a couple of weeks,
We left our host families about two weeks ago, had a week in Katmandu, and then were sent out on our own! The day we left our host families was an emotional morning. We all met at the school with our families and had a little going away program. The village thanked us for being there, had us say a few things, then gave us tikkas and flower necklaces. No one was crying until the car came to pick us up. Everyone started crying as we said our goodbyes to our families and friends. I was defiantly sad to leave because I had grown so close to my family and will always consider them that.
It was quite the process getting everything packed and then unpacked from the trucks and put into our hotel room. It’s crazy how much stuff I have! I definitely brought way to much, but when I thought 2 years, I thought I would need it all. I was talking with some other volunteers about whether or not to leave some stuff behind, but it came down to “we got it this far, might as well carry it one more time to permanent site.” The week in Kathmandu was a long one.
We met our counterparts and that was interesting to say the least. My counterpart doesn’t speak English and my Nepali is definitely not the best so it was a struggle to communicate. I was thrown by this a little because it just made things more real and kind of freaked me out. I wasn’t sure what my permanent site would be like, how I would fit into it, and mostly how the heck was I going to communicate with the people. After a talk with another volunteer and maybe a tear or two, I was assured I could do it, that I’ve come this far, and that things will get easier. I can’t expect miracles after only 3 months. The days were filled with long important but kind of boring sessions… but at night let’s just say we all had a good time and got to experience some Thamel nightlife.
We found an awesome bar we went back to a couple of times and me being me, made myself bffs with the owners. lol Me and another volunteer somehow talked our way onto the stage and did karaoke to ‘Don’t stop believing’. Always a classic. Though the microphones were off, I’m not sure whether they thought we could sing well or not (which of course we can’t but still a good time). I always seem to feel the need to document the nights, just like I did in college, so the pictures were definitely fun to look through.
The swearing-in ceremony was fun. Our LCFs brought us sarees to get dressed up in. We got to the ceremony and took a lot of pictures and talked with people who had come for it. It was the 50 year anniversary that the Peace Corps had been in Nepal, which was exciting for us since we are the first group back in country working since 2004. The speeches were good and then it was time for us to swear in. It was kinda anticlimactic in that all we did was stand up and repeat an oath. After it we were officially volunteers instead of trainees! That night we went to a play called Nepali Amaa, which was written by a Peace Corps volunteer about the knowledge and life of his homestay mother. It was interesting because it was bilingual both Nepali and English, though sometimes I wasn’t sure what was going on. I’m interested in getting the book and read it.
Photo above: me with the U.S. Ambassador of Nepal….No big deal!!
So December 1st we packed all of stuff on 2 busses, one going to Sangja and the other bus was going to Parabat and Bagloug. I said goodbye to the volunteers who were set out for the other districts, which was sad but we all planned to meet up for Christmas so I knew I would be ok on my own for a few weeks. It was about 7 hours from Kathmandu to Sangjas district center and once we got there we found out our hotel was booked so our counterparts were trying to find other “hotels” for us to stay in. We ended up being split up into 3 different ones; but thankfully they were next to each other. We were so embarrassed by this point because we had gathered an audience and had to unload all of our stuff. I definitely still have too much, but just had to get it to my village. We got some food and then decided to watch a movie but we were all asleep within 30 minutes of starting it. The next morning was time to head out. We felt rushed since our counterparts seemed to be in a hurry. I somehow was the first to leave and I’m the closest to the district center! Ohh well, I hugged everyone goodbye and got into the jeep and off I was, alone with only the Nepali I could remember and I just kept thinking what am I getting my self into?!
It was about a half hour drive to my site. All uphill, I remember imagining how much that walk was gonna suck if I ever missed the car back to my village. I got to the meeting building and was greeted by a lot of people. They had developed a welcome program, where everyone gave me tikka and flowers welcoming me to the village. Everyone stood up and gave an introduction and said hello to me and then it was my turn to talk. I was kinda nervous so I stood up and gave a quick intro about my self and then ended it with “anddd yeahhh”- ahah what?! if I learned anything from my dreaded speech class it was to never end a public speaking thing with and yeah.. lol geez. My host sister laughed after I sat down quickly but I don’t think they expected me to be fluent or anything. Although they thought I spoke Nepali good but “different”. I decided to take that as a compliment. Everyone helped carry my stuff about 5 minutes to my new home for 2 years. They kept talking about my bags and I just wanted to get them out of sight and into my room as quick as possible.
The house is nice, but the layout is not what I expected. There is a larger house that is just used for storage and other things, a little building next to it for the kitchen and then across a little open area is a building with 3 rooms, my room being the middle. The first day they didn’t take me into the larger house and I just kept wondering what was in there. So I got a tour and it literally is used only for storage, how strange. My room is nice. It’s smaller than my room in Chautara but its cozy, I don’t really need a lot of space. The view of the mountains is amazing! it doesn’t look real.
photo above my family’s puppy…definently not my Amess but he’ll do for a couple of years…
My family consists of a grandmother, mother, father, their daughter who’s also my age and her 2 year old little girl. Then there’s 2 sons who don’t live with us. One goes to college in Pokhara and the other works on a cruise ship in Singapore. The father left the second day I was there because he had to go back to India for work. He is in the Indian Army. He’s already called a couple of times to check and see how I am doing, his English is not bad and was helpful to have the first day there. My grandmother here is called the “vegetable mother” and knows her stuff. She has taken me around to meet the other community members and everyone is super friendly. I don’t really know what was going on all the time or what’s being said so when in doubt I nod a lot and smile. I was also given a Nepali name since they didn’t like Tia, and Tiara is hard to say. Sorry mom, I’ll take my name back up when I’m home in 2 years. So, my new name is Tarrah Sen Takorie. Tarrah meaning star. Sen my family name. Takorie my family’s caste/ethnic group. (Not sure of spellings but it’s how it sounds)
I’ve been at my site for a couple of weeks now and haven’t been too busy. My grandmother takes me around to the different community members homes and I’ve gotten to learn about bee keeping, people preparing the land for planting and then see the whole community helping a family plant potatoes. The other day I helped my family plant our own potatoes, so I felt like I’d accomplished something. Then I also helped plant seedlings of onions in one of our gardens. I then went to a farmer’s group meeting and meet a lot of people but not really sure what was talked about. We have another one coming up that I think I should be able get more out of.
I have visited others gardens and nurseries around the community to see what farmers are currently doing and took a few photos. My village wants me to teach English at the school in my village but I want to focus on Nepali right now and told them I would after a couple of months so that will help fill up my free time.
Right now I’m just trying to get a grasp on the language and figure out things I can do in my community. We have a village site analysis work assignment, where we gather a lot of information about the area so once I get started working on it, I’ll be learning more details about my permanent site.
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 30, 2012 – The first Peace Corps volunteers to re-enter Nepal after an eight-year absence were sworn in as agriculture and nutrition volunteers at the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu on Nov. 30, 2012. U.S. Ambassador to Nepal Peter Bodde conducted the ceremony, which was attended by Nepali Minister of Finance Bashar Man Pun, Peace Corps Chief of Staff Stacy Rhodes, returned Peace Corps volunteers and Peace Corps staff.
Since arriving in Nepal in September, the 20 volunteers have received comprehensive cross-cultural, language and technical training through the Peace Corps. After the swearing–in ceremony, the volunteers were set to travel to their permanent Peace Corps sites where they will live and work with Nepali counterparts for the next 24 months to promote food security through agriculture, sanitation and health activities.
Volunteer Chad Chalker of Midland, Texas, was eager to arrive as one of the first volunteers to re-enter Nepal. “When I was invited to be a part of the first group re-entering, I was really excited. I get to help lay the foundation for the future Peace Corps program in Nepal.”
Before departing for Nepal in September, volunteer Tia Sandoval of Kansas City, Mo., reflected on advice for her Peace Corps experience. “The best advice I received was to keep an open mind and be willing to jump in and try anything.” After having lived in Nepal for three months, Sandoval commented on the ease of fitting into her new host culture. “The Nepali people are amazing and very welcoming. I was immediately accepted as a family member.”
Volunteer Amanda Bensel of Monterey, Calif., received advice from a returned Peace Corps volunteer before departing for Nepal. “I was told not to be too prepared because needing things is the best way to connect to people living in other countries.” Now, Bensel looks forward to connecting with people in her permanent site. “I look forward to getting to know my new community, to being a regular at the neighborhood tea shop and learning the community member’s needs from their own mouths.”
In January 2012, the Peace Corps announced that it would re-establish its program in Nepal after suspending it in 2004. The new program is being opened with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). This collaborative effort is being implemented under an Inter-Agency Agreement between Peace Corps and USAID’s Asia Bureau under Assistant Administrator Nisha Biswal.
About Peace Corps/Nepal: Nearly 3,650 Peace Corps volunteers served in Nepal from 1962 until 2004. There are currently 20 volunteers working in Nepal. The first group of Peace Corps volunteers since 2004 arrived in Nepal in September 2012 to work as agriculture and nutrition volunteers. Volunteers are trained and work in the Nepali language.
About the Peace Corps: Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 210,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 8,073 volunteers are working with local communities in 76 host countries in agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.
A lot has been happening the past few weeks:
Last weekend we had our self-experience trips, where we were paired up with another volunteer and given a location to go to. Me and my partner, Matt, were going to SipaGhat. We were paired up with guys for safety and security reasons, which we don’t think was entirely necessary; but it was a good way to get to know others better. It was our job to buy bus tickets, find the hotel they had arranged, and pretty much use our language skills to survive a couple days on our own. Saturday we had all planned to meet at the bus park, a little over an hour away from my house, so I got up early and meet up with everyone. We purchased our tickets and I pretty much told my partner I’m going to end up falling asleep so make sure no one robs me…lol… Everyone thinks it’s crazy how I can pretty much sleep anywhere especially on the busses. The bus was packed with people, and a few small animals. We made it to zero kilo, which is where we had to get off to catch another bus. We were going to the same direction as 6 other volunteers so we all chatted and what not until we hit SipaGhat. We got off the bus and pretty much nothing was around, and we thought OMG, where have they sent us.
We asked what direction our hotel was, and we had been warned that there were no nice hotels here, but I was not entirely prepared for our rooms. It was ok and would serve for a couple nights but not a place I’m dying to go back to. We put our stuff down and decided to go walk around. There was a beautiful river close by so we walked to it, hungout on the bridge for a while then decided to go down to the water. There wasn’t a clear way down so we shimmeyed our way down the side of the hill, all while I’m like how the heck are we gonna get back up. Well, we made it down in one piece and waded into the water. We sat around for a while and talked, which was cool since I got to know Matt better. We were taking pictures and I dropped my camera in the river! So unfortunately there aren’t other photos of the trip. Thankfully I bought rice, so I left the camera in the bag for about 4-5 days and poof! it worked again!
Well we pretty much had seen the entire town and didn’t know what we would do for another entire whole day so we decided to venture up to Melamchi and see another town and a few other volunteers. We caught a bus up and ended up walking around most of the day just seeing new things. I definently feel more confident about traveling around and catching buses now.
For part of the trip we were kinda bored and wondering what to do. This provided insight to how permanent site will be except we won’t have another person with us to talk to. We’re gonna feel like we have no idea what’s going on, what people are saying and at times extreme boredom. Just need to mentally prepare myself for what lies ahead these next 2 years.
****camera dropped in the river so pictures from the trip end here
Last week we also celebrated the festival Tihaar. It’s kind of like Christmas with a little 4th of July mixed in with all the Christmas lights and fire crackers.
FYI Info on Tihaar:
This is the 2nd largest festival in Nepal. Tihaar literally means “row of lights” and is known as the “festival of lights” This is a 5 days long. Day 1 is called Kaag Pujaa meaning worship of crows. Day 2: Kukur Pujaa meaning worship of dogs. Day 3: Gaai Pujaa and Laxmi Pujaa, meaning worship of cows and the goddess Laxmi of wealth. This Day 4: Goru Pujaa meaning worship of bulls. Day 5: Bhaai Tikka meaning brother worship. This holiday allows for worshiping the different gifts that nature provides them as well as worshipping each other. During these days the houses are decorated with candles and string of Christmas like lights at night. Government offices, schools, etc are closed during this time.
All the houses are decorated with Christmas lights. Some even blink, are colorful, and play music. On day 3 for worshipping Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, that night we opened all the doors in the house, turned on the lights in all rooms, and placed candles in almost all of the doorways and windows. Then we made a trail of fresh mud/manure mixture from the front door, through the house, up the stairs and into the worship room. Then my brother made footprints on it. This is supposed to bring good luck and wealth to the family. After getting the house prepared, I was getting ready for bed and my mom came in and was like ok lets get dressed and go. I was thinking go where? This day the women and girls of the village sing Bhailo, where the women sing and dance and raise money from house to house. So we meet up with all the other women in the village and went to a house down the way and the women sang and danced. I was made to dance with my mom, and I’m sure I looked ridiculous, as I had no idea what I was doing. Lol Lisa also danced with her mom. They continued this for about an hour or so and then the family of the house we were at brought out a huge plate of rice, with a candle lit in the middle and money surrounding it. We left this house and preceded to the next house and they started to do the same thing. I got tired and then ended up leaving early but they continued to sing and move from house to house until after 2am.
Then the next way was the guys turn. My brother got dressed up and went around with his friends to sing, Deusi, and collect money. They came back with over 200 rupees, which they were very excited about. I could still hear the guys singing and I’m sure dancing well into the night until like 4-5am.
Then the next way was a lot of fun. We got colored tikkas. So this is the last day of Tihar and is known as brother’s day. We had my brother sitting down, then me and my sister walked around him three times. The first time I poured water around him creating a circle and the 2nd time we walked around with incense. Then we placed flower necklaces around his neck and then gave him plates of food/snacks. Then we gave him a tikka using various colors in a straight line down his forehead. It was then his turn to give us our tikkas, and flower necklaces. After that he gave us money. I got 50 rupees. The whole time I was thinking how my real brothers would love this, me kind of worshiping them/giving them extra attention/wishing them a long life…. that is they would enjoy it until they learned they had to give me money. Ahah
I have just been hanging out out with my brother and sister a lot lately, since
I leave in a couple days. Just taking in the last days I have with them. The other day we watched movies including Mulan, Finding Nemo, and even Harry Potter. They are huge fans of Nemo. lol We also have started playing cards. I’m finally getting a understanding of the rules, but when we first started every turn my brother would win. I would look at him every time and be like “what?! why do you win?” And he would say something, I didn’t understand, and finish with “I win”. Lol geez reminded me of the movie Big Daddy where the little boy is playing cards and keeps telling them “I win”….i wonder if he’s seen the movie and that’s where he got it from….hmm probably not.
well thats about it for this post…
My mock language test went pretty well. I was placed at intermediate low and need to be at intermediate mid by the time I swear in – which is the end of November. So I’ve been studying some more and practicing conversations more so I will get it. I find out where my 2 year permanent placement site will be this week! So fingers crossed I’m in a good village and can be productive.
I went to my family’s rice fields. Oh man, it was a serious walk down hill. The trail we followed for like 30-45 minutes was super slippery, rocky, and only the width of my feet side by side. I thought maybe it was just a short cut; but no they also use this way. Which has to be hard going back up when carrying 100+kg (over 200 lbs) bags of rice on their backs held in place by a rope going across their foreheads. It was interesting to see the cutting, drying, cleaning, packaging and carrying rice process. On the way home I tried carrying stuff but they pretty much told me no and let me carry this super light rice plate type thing. So every time I walked by someone carrying the large bags of rice or others asking where I went – all I had to show was nothing really. They all thought it was cool that I went down to the fields and was learning about what they do. The amount of work they do, especially the women is amazing! They put me to shame for sure.
I had my first real experience with the caste system the other day. My family is in the Chhetri caste, which is the 2nd highest, and we had the workers, who had helped in our fields, over for dinner. Apparently they are in another lower caste. I heard a lot of people downstairs, but they never came up which I thought was weird since the open area once you walk into my house isn’t really a great place to just sit around. Well I had to get more water from my filter so I went downstairs and saw the workers sitting around. I said hi and scurried back upstairs and continued to help my mom cook dinner. Once it was time to eat I was fed first, my dad, brother and sister and then plates were made and carried downstairs to the workers. So my family and I ate upstairs, but the workers had to sit downstairs. When a lower caste is at a higher caste house it is usually culturally unacceptable for them to go into the kitchen, which is why they ate downstairs. It was interesting and I don’t agree with it, as everyone can’t help the caste they are born into. It is unfair and they do not culturally look past the caste or ethnic group someone is in. While a lower caste person may have a good job, lots of money – they are still in a way looked down upon because they are still members of the lower caste.
I felt my first earthquake ever! On the scale it was a 4.5 earthquake with the epicenter in Tibet. It was weird as all of the sudden the house started shaking and I was like what the he!!? I then only realized what it was, when my mom was like everyone outside and made us all stand in the road until it was over. Kathmandu is the most dangerous place to be in the world in relation to earthquakes. Apparently Nepal is over due for its next huge earthquake, so if one hits – hopefully the area I am in will be ok.