I recently acquired the nickname Gaule meaning villager in Nepali. Rather befitting to the situation, as I left Kathmandu to carry stones in a dhoko and plaster classrooms in dung and mud in Udaypur. On my return to Tanahun I finally decided to take this Maya experience to a new dimension. After 4 months contemplating and trying to plan this out with another volunteer, I’ve finally moved into a village home (Gaun ghar) 15 minutes hike away from the main school.
This new chapter has its own challenges. Communicating with my neighbors is one of them but my wish to learn how to speak Nepali is one of the reasons I’m here to begin with! Of course we need to start thinking about getting our own fire wood and carrying our own water from the tap. Chores that over time, due to the expansion and improved living standards at Maya, I seem to have taken for granted.
I’m sharing the space with Shamus, an American volunteer here for 5 months. We seem to be getting along fine.
The kid in the picture is Nikis son, Ankit. He runs to me every morning and sometimes we walk to school together. Here we shared some sweet bread and jam for our first breakfast at the house. His mother Niki is a friend and colleague at Maya universe academy. Now 25 years old and two kids later, she’s been involved with Maya since its inception as a science teacher and now handles most of the schools coordination of parent volunteers, teachers and finances amongst others. The house we are renting belongs to Nikis mother in-law. They are great landlords and really take care of us.
Shamus and Ankit sharing their breakfast
Our neighbors are mostly family of Niki including her parents. A few nights ago, on full moon, we were invited to a Puja to celebrate the end of a fasting period. Nikis mum and some others would fast every year for 30 days. They would eat only one rice meal per day and only specific vegetables. The food will not contain salt either. As any Nepali celebration goes … Lots of food and raksi was served whilst village women sang and danced the dhori sajh all night long till sunrise. The song usually has the same verse which is sung by all and in between two people improvise lyrics, a kind of rap battle to Nepali music.
As I battled my hangover the next day, I was amazed to see these ladies going about their normal daily chores which are usually very physically demanding! These women are just amazing!
My cosy bedroom. A simple single bed with 2 small windows and appropriately placed nails hammered into the wall to hang things! I never got to paint my front door turquoise at home in Malta …. Now I have a kind of turquoise door in my new home in Nepal 🙂