Monday, March 29, 2010

Random bits and bobs Monday 29th March

Been living with my family for about 6 days now and I really do feel at home. My room is MY ROOM, if you get me, everything has it's place. Even got a little spider watching over me every night.

My family consists of mum, dad, a brother who is my age and is hardly around, and 2 sisters Sumi (20) and Sushilla (18). It feels so weird to live in a female dominated household and I have to say, I enjoy it! Proper nice to have a hug in the morning from your mum just before work, or doing girly stuff like facials and manicures (Sumi is studying to be a beautician).

Last night was volunteer Chucks's birthday and his family invited us all over. Nepali birthday ceremony is interesting, the dude had to sit on some throne and exchange the first slices of cake with his buwa (father) and to seal the deal he was encourages to down a concoction later referred to as tasting like "gone off fish milk". Bleugh! Bless the family though, proper got a Dj in, who sadly enough only played house music...the remix of R'n'B kind. Killer!
Seeing the different family dynamics, appearance and home put my family into perspective. My family are probably half the size of them and a lot less wealthier. I had a stone in my throat just from knowing how radically poverty levels could differ in the space of a 5 minute walk. My fam may not have much but they are almost 80% self sufficient (my bro and dad are farmers and they have more land saved for crops than their house), they also seem to catch jokes and enjoy what they do. Never a grumble or moan in sight. I know they say, "Don't compare" but who wouldn't?

I physically wrote this blog in the dark by the way because it is now the designated period of load shedding. This is a set time everyday where there is no electricity at all. In total it lasts around 12-14 hours a day, night or day. The madness is that it has been going on for around 5 years. It happens because the Nepalese government sell their electricity to India who have investments in Nepal. India then sell it back to Nepal for a higher price and therefore there is not enough electricity to provide for their own population. Seriously f-d up.
My family hate the dark, and it's even becoming an inconvenience to me. Without an expensive generator, you are pretty much stuck (at night) with your torch and candles so there is not much else to do but try and sleep.

I'm loving the food, I seem to be lucky and get a bit of variation. The standard nepales meal is Daal Bhat Tarkari which contains rice, lentil sauce and curried vegetables eaten twice a day. I appreciate receiving samosa, chapati and my favourite aloo aka spicy potato mmm!
I am so glad not to have suffered from THE DIARREAOH (apologise for the horrendous spelling) as yet, although as a group we are all pretty strong and positive.

Oh yea, and the smoking, as long as it is in the designated areas (I got a sick rooftop at home) and out of sight of the kids I am jiggy. Chilling up on the roof, ciggie in one had, cup of chiyaa in the other and an amazing view, sorted.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Don't Compare, Adapt. Tuesday 23rd March 2010

What a day! Left the hotel and all the Lamitar peeps, emotional lol. Felt like we were all just settling in to Nepali life and then we had to up and go and face the REAL shizzle. Flippin' early aswell, I actually had a hangover from some wierd chocolate tasting brandy of the night before!

Upon arriving in Sirutar the vibe was proper friendly, with the little ones waving and shouting "Hi" and the elders greeting us with "Namaste" the Nepali greeting. I love doing the greeting!! Will show you all when I return.
When I got to my host family only ama (mum) was in and with her basic knowledge of English and my embarrassing attempt at Nepalese coupled with nerves it was a little uncomfortable and I was actually relieved to have to leave and meet the rest of the group.

We did a tour of the community and checked out all the volunteers' houses and it really looked like I had got the short straw! Some of the houses had 4 floors made of marble, kitted out with computers, internets, pets, amazing 360 degree views and really comfortable looking showers and toilets.
But once I returned to my home, I picked up a better vibe, mainly because my sisters were home and they had conversational English. I had a lot of fun with them and their friends catching jokes about the hottest Nepali boys in the village. Of which there are none by the way.

What I have noticed is how the younger generation are not so strict with regards to arrange marriage. My neighbour lives with her 'more than boyfriend' as they say and they have a tiny 1 year old yet are not married. It's good to see that the elders are being a little more open minded and more aware that change is needed amongst the younger generation as it adapts.

New random fact, having a big forehead means you are lucky, as so kindly mentioned by my sis Sumi when she saw my spam! Damn right I'm lucky, lucky enough to be in this amazing country and able to see things and integrate in ways no tourist can.

I am blessed.

Work on the school starts tomorrow, and I have already been advised by the previous volunteer who stayed here that the shower will be blitz! Might have to be a stinker lol. Happy times.

Oh and my family have given me a Nepali name: Sunita

Miss you all! xxx

Arrival!!!! Monday 22nd March 2010

So, I've been in Nepal for 4 days now. We are in the inbetween stage, staying at a hotel in Thamel, Kathmandu before we get serious in Sirutar. Therefore we haven't experienced village life....which comes tomorrow! I'm proper nervous!

Initial thoughts on landing in Nepal:
  • Excellent temperature
  • Disorganised
  • Milky thick grey sky
  • Beggars galore catting tips
Just the walk from the airport to thew bus brought out those in the group who were either extremely English and thus too polite or those inexperienced in travel. IGNORE THE MOFOS!
Speaking of the group, they are alright in general. Unfortunately for me all the 'save the world types' are coming to Sirutar and those with remotely the same sense of dark humour as me are heading for the other village, Lamitar. Trust me, there are people here that I would have never met in my entire life and even if I had met them, I wouldn't spend more than 2 minutes with. Holding my tongue. For now.

During the day we've been going to 'school'. Lectures on the many different parts of Nepalese life. It was really interesting learning about the gender inequality issues and made for some heating debating later on over a few beers. Oh yea I am soooo taking advantage of being able to drink at the hotel because once I get down to the village, its a teetotal flex till my day off.

One mad thing that used to go on in Nepal was when a Nepalese woman was became divorced or a widow, she had to burn herself alive! Random fact of the day. Luckily that's done and dusted now.

The Nepalese so far appear to be people who are very hospitable and like to please. So many different types aswell, they have a mad caste system ranging from the very dark (considered untouchables) to the extremely light who are wealthier etc. What I find funny though, is that even though they have internet providing accents, it doesn't grate as much as the telephone operators back in the UK.

Yesterday we were finally allowed out on our own in big ol' Kathmandu and frankly the group I was in got lost. The streets are mad busy and all the shops on a single street can look the same. Noticed there were no street names either, bar the one i saw stating 'Tahiti' to the north, wtf? No pavements, no traffic lights, i would NOT want to be a motorist out here.
I enjoyed getting lost thought, gave me a chance to check out the culture and general vibe of the place. It does get dark quite quickly out here and because of the 12 hour power cuts (load shedding) and lack of readily available gas and petrol most of the homes and shops remain dark during this period.

Anywho, going Monkey Temple now to get down with the gibbons. Peace + Love peeps.

Oh and smokers, 20 deck of Marlboro Lights=95p! Hollerrrrrr, woi!