Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Daily life in the Valleys and Mountaintops

This has been an interesting week living in rural nepal.  Life here is simple, yet difficult. 
The main road in Dadeldhura
I live in a house with another american nurse, a nepali nurse, and another nepali hospital worker.  There are 2 rooms where we sleep and a bathroom and kitchen.  No space for a table or living room.  We do have an indoor toilet, running water, and electricity, although sometimes the electricity or water goes off randomly.  There is a gas stove for cooking, but no oven and a fridge that kinda works although our freezer is working good!  We get a liter of buffalo milk delivered to our house every morning which has to be boiled before we can use it - but then we've been saving the cream that rises to the top of the milk to make ice cream!!! It's fun to try and be creative with meals and cooking!!!

Manna Bakery
One huge blessing is the Manna Bakery.  This bakery is run by a Nepali couple from the church and they make yummy treats like bagels, bread, cookies, and cakes.  They also serve lunch and will even make pizzas if you order ahead! 

Lunch with Melanie and a great view!!!

Typically we'll eat lunch at the bakery which is either Dahl Bot, a traditional nepali meal of rice and lentels and curried veggies, or soup and bread - this meal along with some chiya (black tea with milk and sugar) and a cookie is less than $1.50 and so yummy!!!  

 A story that isn't really funny, but you have to laugh at while living here - one of the Nepali doctors was in the ER overnight.  He had gotten some food and left in on his desk while he was taking care of a patient - only to realize that a rat was stealing his food =( 

Another interesting thing about Nepal - they have a different calendar than we use.  So currently they are in the 12th month of 2069 - it will soon be the year 2070!  I thought it was hard to adjust when returning from Togo after 7 month, just imagine the transition of going back in time 57 years =)

Typical daily life for what some refer to as "hill people" is very difficult.  This past week we got to spend two days trekking out to visit some of the surrounding villages.  The two areas we visited had been found to have the highest percentages of malnurished children coming to be seen at the hospital and we wanted to survey the area to see if it would be feesable to do some projects and nutrition screenings in the villages.  As you approach a typical home you will first notice the water buffalo, cows, and goats tied up around the yard.  Then you will notice the two story home, typically made out of clay - as you get closer you realize that the lower portion is where the animals sleep and the upstairs is where the people sleep.  Daily life means caring for the animals, washing clothes, preparing food and cooking, working in the fields, caring for children, gathering firewood, pounding rice, and many other chores.  They work very, very hard!!!  We often saw women walking on the narrow winding mountain paths caring heavy loads of firewood, brick, rice, or things they have gathered in their fields; one women was carrying 50 kg (110 pounds) - they carry things by placing a strap around their forehead which then wraps around the load resting on their backs. 

such a heavy load!!!

group of school children

little guy playing with a wheelbarrow

As we walked from home to home the people were very friendly and welcoming and offered us a mat to sit on and something to drink or eat, we only took tea at a few houses because there wasn't time to accept every offer.  The first day we started out walking and then caught a jeep to a path the went off the main road, from there we went winding down the path from house to house until we got to the bottom of the valley.  There were of course amazing views of the surrounding mountains as we walked!!!  Then once we got to the bottom we started our ascent up winding our way through the houses on the other side of the mountain until we reached the top and the main road - we walked for about 5 hours that day.  From there we caught a van ride back to the hosptial. 

Our paths

The second day was much the same, until we started our ascent up from the bottom of the valley.  Instead of winding our way back up the mountain we took the rugged trail straight up this mountain for two hours straight.  We had run out of water, it was around 2pm and we had only a few snacks but no food, and i'm still adjusting to the altitude - it was a very difficult 2 hours!!!  Part of the time I could only look at my feet forcing them to take the next step up because looking up or around me was too discouraging since the mountain was never ending.  Othertimes we'd stop for a rest and I'd look around amazed at the scenery and the beauty surrounding me.  It's understandable why the people that live there have a hard time getting supplies or seeking medical care - they are very isolated and it is so difficult to get anywhere!  The good and bad is that we will be doing both of these treks again this week!   There is a group of high schoolers coming and we are going to take them out with us to do the actual malnutrition screenings in each of these homes.  Please pray for a productive time and interactions as we go, as well as stamina and strength for the treks - we'll be going on Friday April 5th and Sunday April 7th - thankfully not two consecutive days!!!  For those of you in the states we are 11 hours ahead - so praying for us the nights before would be about our mornings as we will be getting started!!!

The beautiful valley

View from the mountaintop

Easter was celebrated for 3 days straight by the Nepali church here. There was a Good Friday Service, Saturday service (their normal day for church), and then a Easter Sunday Sunrise service.  Easter morning we were awakened at 5am by a group of Nepali women coming to start making breakfast at our house so that after the service there would be egg sandwiches and tea for everybody.  The service was held outside the house I’m staying in because it sits up on a hill overlooking the mountains.  At 6am a group of around 50 gathered to celebrate Easter and Christ’s resurrection.  The songs were all in Nepali, but I recognized a few tunes – This is the Day and He Lives.  It was special to be able to celebrate the hope of Christ's resurrection with these believers while overlooking the beautiful mountain backdrop at sunrise!!!  Later that day we went to the taylor so that I could have a nepali outfit made and then we stopped to buy chicken for our Easter dinner.  We gathered that evening for a cookout and enjoyed the time with other foreigners and Nepali friends!      

Easter sunrise service

Easter cookout

1 comment:

Stacie@HobbitDoor said...

Awesome! Thanks for sharing. I LOVE it.