09/19/2010 32 °C
I really don’t even know what day this is as we have lost track of the days – I think it was Sept 13th when this all happened. I was not well when I got up – we have been having a difficult time with food in Surkhet. I decide to stay at the hotel – Pat and Jessica go with Raju to a lake, Hindu Temple and a Buddhist Temple that was built in the 16th Century – the temple was taken apart to look for the marker stones and unfortunately once they took it apart they couldn’t put it back together again. They had a wonderful time and came back around 11. Today we are returning to the village to have a community meeting to talk about the importance of clean water and to present options in regards to the different types of filters available. After that we will meet with the community committee to see how to proceed.
We get to the Village around 12:30 p.m. – it is very hot and humid. They bring out plastic lawn chairs for us to sit on as people start to come. There are lots of children – children that should be in school but in this village the majority of children do not attend school. It takes about an hour or so to get things started – as I am told this is Nepal time and things happen when they happen. Not an issue except we are baking in sun. One of the ladies gets us an umbrella – and the children hold over our heads. All the men are sitting across the road – in the shade – smart. Finally we start at about 2 – I really cannot explain the people so I am hoping to have pictures up as you can see that this is an interesting community. One of the things I need to say is that the people here are beautiful – the children especially. The presentation begins – and people are listening so this is good. Pat and I have to do are little bits – I do hand washing and brushing teeth – I can act that out (there is no English at all in this village) – Pat has a more difficult time as she has to do the diseases – you really can’t act that out.
After the meeting ends we are just walking towards the road and I turn around and all these people are following us. When I stop – they stop – it is a large crowd. So I decide to try to teach them a few English words with actions – English really isn’t there strength – so then I ask them to sing for me – I am making actions for singing and they all think it is funny but they finally catch on. Some of the men even come over to see what is going on. The children start to sing – so I go around saying “very good, very very good” - they say that a lot here. After they sing a few songs they want us to sing – the only songs we could think of was row, row your boat and there was 4 in a bed – not your most exciting songs. After that was done we tried to walk away and back to our chairs. This time the crowd was even bigger and everyone was all around us – so what do I know best in Nepal – but to dance – yes that worked – pretty well soon the traditional Nepal drum came out- people were singing and dancing. It was so much fun – even the sour looking ladies were smiling - you will see what I mean by sour looking when you see the pictures. But somehow or other we needed to get out of there as the committee meeting was going to start. How do you do that when the whole village is watching you – I tried to leave however they wanted me to dance first – so I did – then Pat had to and then Jessica . It took us a while to leave the crowd.
I can’t even begin to describe what this experience was like – language was not necessary and somehow we were able to communicate and contact. It was one of the most amazing things I have experienced – to get a village to dance and sing – pretty awesome !!!! However with the crowd and heat – and dancing we all lost about 5 pounds for sure in sweat! Which by the way all came back when we drank a bottle of water.
Raju tells me the village people are very happy – they really enjoyed themselves. Now I tell him for the next meeting they have he will need to dance – no he doesn’t think so.
So off we go to the committee meeting – this would be in the back area in the shade with the chickens – I have never been to a meeting like this before – people coming and going – everyone saying what they needed to say – and at the end they decide that the plastic water system would require too much maintenance and people would move them around – so it is the concrete biosand filter – 2 people will be trained to build them and 2 others to maintain them. It was very successful.
Now it is time to leave – there is a problem – we have no truck – there was a problem so the driver had to drive somewhere to get it fixed – we could spend 2 or more hours in the village or use the microbus – we decide to use the microbus – however it is pretty packed – people on the roof, etc. They make room for us – us three girls get in the front with the driver – it is a standard so every time the driver shifts – it is a little awkward – so finally I put my feet up on the dash – that is OK until we hit a bump – there are many. We get to one of the larger villages – and all the men get off the bus and there is some kind of discussion – then we are told to get off the bus. It appears that the driver wants much more money as we are on the bus and will not take us back to Surkhet unless we pay. The boys are not willing to give in – so off the bus we go. Now we are still a half hours drive from our location – so we need to wait for the driver – we really have no other options.
The boys ask us if we would like a cold drink – Pat and I say know and before I could say anything Jessica says yes – what could be wrong with a bottle of Pepsi – when they open it she sees the top of the bottle caked with black stuff – a little gross – she doesn’t want to drink it – so I say to her come with me – and as we are walking I am pouring out the Pepsi – people on the street our looking at us – I tell Jessica they will think that is what westerns do – pour Pepsi on the ground for good luck.
We wait for about an hour and driver comes – yes this is good. Except just before we get into Surkhet we have a flat tire – hard to change as it is really dark – but somehow our driver does it in no time flat.
By the time we get back to our hotel it is after 7 –and that food thing again – Pat has a smart idea we ask for boiled potatoes - now that would work and it does. The boys now think we are really fruit loops and cannot understand how we can just eat potatoes with butter – they keep asking us if it is good. They leave for their supper – Pat and I go into my room to finish the wine.
The next day Pat, Jessica and I left to catch a plane back to Kathmandu. On the way we saw a group of trucks stopped and the road partially blocked. A little ways away was a number of police with riot gear – this could only be bad news. And it was the next day we found out that all roads leaving Surkhet are closed – no one is driving not even the motorcycle drivers – a dispute between the various communities and the truck drivers has occurred. A truck driver was killed – he was taken out of his truck and drown. The reason I am not sure. I do know that petroleum is in short supply and long line ups have happened. We are back at the orphanage and that is a good thing. The guys are still up there and they are unsure when they will return.
It has been an adventure.