09/19/2010 23 °C
The link for the pictures is:
I have arranaged them in sets - if you click on the set you will get all the pictures for that heading - it makes for a better flow !!!!
Helping Hands of Hope
09/19/2010 23 °C
The link for the pictures is:
I have arranaged them in sets - if you click on the set you will get all the pictures for that heading - it makes for a better flow !!!!
09/19/2010 22 °C
We came back to the orphanage and so it starts again. One of the little ones – she is really one of the older ones – Bhagabati – she is in grade 5 so I guess her age to be 10 but she is a tiny delicate little thing – she has a fever of 101 and very swollen glands. So we take her to get some medicine. How it works here is you don’t necessarily see a doctor - if there is no doctor the pharmacist will examine diagnosis and prescribe medication. We find out not only is she suffering from a high fever but she has something wrong with her tummy. Again this is all due to poor nutrition and impure water supply. We get the medication however this time we will administer the medication. We find out from the other children that many have been sick and have sorry tummies. It comes down to a diet of rice, a few vegetables and white bread. It is not the best situation but there is little we can do but try to help when we are here. The good news is that I have been able to gain some assistance from ENPHO – they will be bringing the two biosand water filters that the boys made for free. I am going to push my luck again and ask them to provide a told of 4 days to work with the orphanage on hygiene and sanitation for free– why not the worse they can say is no but I think they will do it. Raju – he is the guy I am looking for a wife for and he views me as his mother – I don’t know why they see me this way but they do – so I am pretty sure he will help out as I am sure he doesn’t wish to disappoint his “mother” and besides that he needs a wife.
We really cannot eat the food here – the level of cleanliness is not good and we do need to be extremely careful. We will be going shopping for our own bowls, spoons and glasses as well as our own jugs to put boiling water in. It’s bad !!!! One person caring for 3 of their own and 20 other children is difficult and impossible to do.
We started off the morning – or should I say Pat and Jessica did - nit picking – really picking nits out of Bhagabati’s hair – she is just full of nits. In checking the other children – the little ones Mindul and Rachana have nits as well. The rest of the children have a few but nothing major. One of the people who use to volunteer at the orphanage but is no longer still is very involved – she will go pick up combs for each child as well as big bottles of shampoo. Another person who teaches in Nepal and does things for the orphanage as he likes the children will see if he can locate a more effective way of dealing with the lice outbreaks. We do know if the sun shines tomorrow we will be doing heavy duty cleaning and bucket washing all the bedding – a big job but we are up for the challenge. Pat and Jessica have been wonderful and just do what needs to be done.
We did go to the children’s school today to pay the school fees. The fees were really behind or so I thought until I found out the Nepal year runs differently – the school year starts in mid- April ( they follow the Vikram Sambat solar Calendar and they are 57 years ahead so it’s not 2010 in Nepal) - so the total amount for 12 months for 20 children is $4477 – a little more than we expected however we paid the majority of the fees and will send the remainder of the funds once we return. This school is good so that makes the difference.
After doing that we go shopping for cleaning supplies – mops, brooms, scrubbers , etc. etc. The good thing is that are money goes further here then it would at home – so this is good. We also bought a number of garbage cans – the hope is that they will not be broken right away – we are also trying to teach them to throw left over food in a separate container – we can only hope that works.
After we finished that we decide to go shopping for us – off we go to Patan – to see my favourite singing bowl guy. Jessica was able to video Pat with a big bowl over her head – it’s all about the vibrations – this was to relax her. We had a lot of fun – as this guy can go on for ever and tries all sorts of things – and goes on about the healing powers – it was great.
When we finished we went back to the orphanage – nit picking again. Jessica and Pat will become experts at this- they nit picked for 2 ½ hours and still have more to do – I will not nit pick. I know once they leave this job will fall to me – oh yeah !!!
There is a volunteer from Europe who is in Nepal for 3 weeks and she comes in the morning and a bit in the afternoon when the children come home from school – she was shocked that we were actually living in the orphanage. We just smile and say we close our eyes and try not to use the bathroom (There have been a few plumbing issues and a plumber is supposed to be coming – not sure when – it’s Nepali time) Just a little side thing – there is a saying here – bholi-parsi – bholi means tomorrow – parsi means the day after tomorrow – so this effectively means “sometime after the day after tomorrow” – so true !!!
It’s a hard life and the power has just went out again so it’s time to say until later.
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.
Surket and Mehentada
Surkhet – before I came I wanted to find out about Surkhet and if there was anything we should see. Well I could not find anything, not even in the Lonely Planet book which usually has everything. We quickly become aware of why that is – in the afternoon – the boys – we now have 4 in total – they are all attached to ENPHO and are part of the project in Mehentada – they were watching sports – Pat, Jessica and I decide to go shopping for bracelets and shoes (for me). Shoes – selection is very limited and only for people with small feet – no luck. So we move on to get our bracelets – it is Women’s Festival and every woman and girl wears 12 red bracelets – I thought it would help us fit in better. Have you ever had a whole street of people stare at you? We certainly were gathering a lot of attention even with our bracelets. We were approach by a young man who had many other young men following him – I quickly realized we were in trouble – so I tell Pat and Jessica – do not look at them walk straight ahead back to our hotel – walk fast. So we did and made it back to the hotel with them still following. When we got back to the hotel we did not say anything to the boys. However I think they kind of knew something must have happened as we were only gone for a short period of time. After a bit of time Ruja spoke to us and said in Surkhet they do not see foreigners – we are an oddity and people will not know how to react to us. It is an area that is not like the city – this is a rural area. He does notice our bracelets – and says yes very good this will make sure you have good menstruation. Jessica, Pat and I look at each other – what? I learnt something new – I didn’t know that.
We do go out to the Women’s Festival in the evening when it is cooler – however the boys stick very close to us and watch carefully as there are a lot of pick pockets. However there was a group of women and children enjoying the festival, dancing and drumming and it looked like so much fun . I started taking pictures and pretty soon I was surrounded by little ones all wanting their picture taken but they wouldn’t stand back – they didn’t understand that to take a picture you can’t stand right in front of the camera. Then a woman came over to ask me to join their dancing – so I did. I was told I was a pretty good Nepalese dancer. I don’t think I am I think they were being nice.
We walked a bit before we came to the main festival – lots and lots of people. We did not go into the crowd but stood at the back. As the event broke up we waited until most of the crowd left before starting to walk back. We had a number of “clingers” so we had to stop and let them pass us – sometimes they did not – we walked in front of the boys. In spite of that it was a fun evening. When we got back to the hotel we had a traditional Nepal meal – guess what that was – rice and daal – and some green vegetables - cooked. However Pat had brought some canned salmon and I my Coffee Nova – the boys had never tasted either – Pat explained what salmon was and how good it is. Two cans later – they loved it. The same with the coffee – they were surprised by the little package and it was coffee and cream. It was a very nice evening and a lot of fun.
The next day Jessica was not well so she stayed at the hotel. We had a meeting with a local government employee (Prem Krishna Shrestha – Environmental Engineer) who has been working in the rural areas in Nepal for many years to make changes in regards to health and sanitation. He was very interesting to listen to – he spoke about the role of women in the rural areas and the important role they play in using the water filtration systems – some of the successes and the not so successful things that have happened. Women are responsible for looking after the children – so if they attend meetings they can’t look after the children so are viewed as poor mothers. When they talk about preparing the rice – they talk about how she needs to go to the field to pick the rice and prepare for eating – it is a very labour intensive process. They are focusing in on the children and the schools to teach them. They are talking about if someone wishes to become a teacher – they will be required to have a toilet in their home before they can get a teaching certificate. They are also focusing in on washing hands – currently people are not washing hands or using ash water. Ash water is taking the ashes from the fire and adding water – it does work – however the water is still full of all sorts of bacteria, etc. so germs do spread. Prem is one of those people who is extremely passionate about his job – he does see hope it just takes a long time to make changes.
After the visit with Prem we went to the village – Mehentada – after that visit we understood what Prem was talking about. When we first got to the village I felt like it was something I had seen in National Geographic – almost like an Amazon village of some kind – it was like time had forgotten this place. I tried to put the pictures up however internet connection is a little unpredictable here – so hopefully when we get back to Kathmandu. Most of the homes the people live in the top half and the animals live below. They use these ladders that are really a big log with notches cut out. Some of the homes were just a kitchen which also served as a sleeping area as well. The homes were in very poor shape – all the roofs are thatch roofs – it is just at the end of rainy season so some of the roofs were in rough shape. We walked around from home to home with one of the woman to get people to come to a meeting the next day – we are hoping to have some people attend to talk about clean water - the different types of filters, what they need to do and a talk on hygiene and sanitation. I did take a picture of the only toilet in the community which sits in a middle of a field. That is one of the major problems – people do everything in the river – the same place they get there drinking water. I also have pictures of the water – you can clearly see how dirty it is. We took lots of pictures – some of the community members were upset- they thought we were taking pictures to sell them – this has happened before. One of the guys with us explained that was not our purpose – we were there to help get them safe drinking water.
It is very hard to make change – there is a lack of trust with anything new or anyone coming to the village – that is why the woman that was with us could assist us in getting people to attend the meeting – she is from the village and people trust her. In this community we had a crowd of people following us – we were even more of an oddity here. It was also explained to us that the people will actually listen to what we have to say as we are foreigners - they could say the same thing however will not be listened to as they come from Nepal – we come from Canada – we know what we are talking about. But it is contradiction- they don’t trust but yet they will listen to us??
It was so hot and humid here – we walked through many a rice field – we didn’t really walk through them but walked on the little walls – balance was key here. We really didn’t what to fall for many reasons but once they told us that a lot of people defecate in the rice fields even more important we did not fall off the little walls. By the time we finished are time here Pat and I were just soaked and maybe a little sun stroke.
We then had to go to another village to meet the Secretary of the District. First how many people can you fit into a truck – with cab of course – 8, I think. The roads were so bad – they were just tracks to get to the next village – this village looked like the one we left however in some odd way it was more modern. This meeting in a middle of a field at a school was very important. The Secretary is important and he made it clear he needed to be informed of all activities in his district. He certainly has the power to stop anything he doesn’t like. Right now the 3 political parties – the Maoist (currently in power – rebel gorilla force that gained power in 2008) – the Communist and the United People’s Front are all trying to gain control – in this village the Maoist had set up a huge camp just outside the village – I think it is for training and certainly not like our army training. So with the unrest he needs to be informed so he can deal with the various groups.
After talking to the local leaders the thought was that we may have to go to the plastic water filtration system as opposed to the concrete one that we made with the boys. It seems to be a little more acceptable in the community. But we will talk some more about that at the community meeting.
When we got back to the hotel – it was a rough day – I think the high heat and humid but also just experiencing the way of life in these villages that were like something you would see in a museum was a lot to take in. I think the last couple of days have been a little much and so foreign to us. So Pat and I decide that a glass of wine would be nice. However we do not want to offend our hosts as they are Hindu – they do not drink and already have issue with women smoking – so we come up with a plan. We will take a little walk around – we did see somewhat of a liquor store - no luck – this must not be a wine drinking community but hard liquor. So we decide to go back to the hotel – to our surprise they have wine on display behind the glass of the reception desk – yes success but now we must get the wine and sneak back to our room. Well that didn’t work so well as the guy keep yelling – do you what red or white – we would say red – and he would respond – white – we would say red – this went on for a while – finally he seemed to understand – however he pulls out a bottle of white – finally we got a bottle of red – just as we are paying for it we noticed them with a tray with the bottle of wine and two glasses going upstairs – our rooms all open up to a common area were we eat and do work – we don’t want that. So just as Pat takes after the guy going upstairs one of the guys comes down – I don’t think he knew what we were doing but he knew we were up to something – Pat catches up to the guy on the stairs – I follow and put the wine and glasses in a big bag I am carrying and we are telling him – shhhh – we get up to our rooms and two of the guys are sitting there – I quickly go into Pat’s room the one that is nearest – dump off the wine and glasses – and sit on a bench outside the room – Pat is talking to the guys. The one guy from downstairs comes up and is just watching us trying to figure out what we are doing. About 20 minutes later all the guys leave – Pat and I go into my room and have wine and smoke.
Life is good again !!!!!
So today is the day of our grand adventure – we are on the way to Surkhet which is about a 12 to 15 hour drive. This would be a told of 800km – we are driving down as this will give us the opportunity to see the real Nepal – which means outside of Kathmandu Valley. The trip takes so long due to the road conditions – the roads are all open Surket when we leave. They had been closed due to the rainy season and a number of roads had been flooded.
Our first leg of the journey is to take the main road that is used for travel between Nepal and India. This road is considered a major highway however there is just room enough for two vehicles to pass most of the time. Rules of the road are hard to understand – first there is no speed limits and one isn’t really required as the roads are very bad with major runts and missing pavement. There are many curves in this road – drivers count on the driver a head to let them know it is safe to pass – it could be a wave of the hand. They do pass on blind corners and after about 10 near head ons some requiring that we need to come to a full stop – I stopped counting. It is like surfing through motorbikes, trucks, buses and cars. It is a sea of people – some sitting on top of the bus while others are hanging out which is very dangerous – we can actually touch the big trucks that pass us on the other side of the road. It is very, very scary however our driver is very experience but that is little comfort when you have a truck coming at you. But people seem to understand the system and they stop when they need to, pull over to let someone pass and just do what they need to do to make sure their safe. We took a number of turns that I thought we would flip over or go off the side which would be a cliff but we didn’t. The pollution is so bad that you can feel it – and when we washed our faces that night we could see it as well. Raju (he is the guy I am looking for a wife for) and a wonderful driver from ENPHO are taking us and do not seem to be too concerned – this is just the way it is.
As we drive past the various villages which appear to be one after another at this point – we catch glimpses of people in their everyday lives – the poverty is easier to see here as it is against this lush backdrop of banana, coconut, papaya and mango trees with tropical flowers blooming everywhere. It is a stark difference to seeing in there shanty shacks for mile upon mile. There are many little stores and tea houses that look like they are barely standing up – bamboo sticks and a thatch roof that looks like it has been up for many years. During the first half of our journey we learn that some parts of rural Nepal are worse off than others and this one certainly is – men, women, children – young and old are just sitting in groups in the hot sun – and it is very hot here. Looking at these images pass you over and over again for 3 hours starts to blur your mind – it is too much to take in.
We are ready to stop for lunch – and again we must keep an open mind. And I might add again – a very open mind. We stop at this place that has wonderful fish – fresh fish. The place was rustic with a stable attached – just some goats and chickens. We sat outside on this sort of veranda over looking the river- some of it over hung the cliff – the fish came deep fried – and actually tasted really good except for all the bones and no one could tell us what type of fish this was. Next came the daal bhaat (lentils with rice)and some type of fish soup. It was very tasty .
Then we continued our journey – we drove through this city – this was not a tourist area but very much so day to day life – all the vendors selling their wares – lots of cycle-rickshaws – no taxis here as people get around on the rickshaws-and these rickshaws can carry an awful lot. We saw some that were packed with bags and boxes and people. I wonder how they could even peddle these thinks. The city itself was very dusty and hot. People are out in the open selling whatever – it is a hard life sitting beside a road way in the dirt for 12 hours a day.
After we passed the city it was late afternoon and on the roadway in this part of Nepal we saw lots of people on bikes – peddling on the road which is not really safe. Some of them were carrying loads of wood – big bundles of wood that they somehow were able to balance. Women coming home with huge bundles of what looked like branches from trees or carrying big bags of rice on their heads. Also on the road were people coming home from the fields – lots of water buffalo (which is the main source of diary), as well as large herds of goats, cows and some lambs. This all makes driving even more difficult. We drove past a group of people on the road – a baby goat had been hit and this little boy was picking it up trying to get it to stand – no doubt he was responsible for the goat.
Pat was hanging on to the white knuckle hang on to your life thing on the top of the roof so hard that one side came off. I did not have one of those I was hanging on to the door handle – there are no seat belts so we get bounced and thrown all over the place. Ruja told Pat – we will fix after the trip. Pat pulled out her Swiss Army Knife – with screw driver and fix it. Ruja and the driver were very impressed by Swiss Army knife and a women who could use a screw driver.
There is little time here between dusk and total darkest – it seems too happened in like 15 minutes. So it really was our last look at all the villages – you can tell some of the wealthier villages as they have nicer homes and the outside is nice and neat as opposed to the poorest ones where people are living in homes that are half built or in little shacks . The air became thick with smoke as people cook over wood as it is cheaper and they use these fires for light as well. The air was certainly full of smoke so much so that it was hard to see at times.
When darkest came we came to our surprise to the most treacheries part of the road. The road was narrower and turns were sharper – these would be hairpin turns – part of the road had been washed out by the rains. This was even scarier then the first part of the trip – many close calls and lots of bouncing around. Just as we came out of this section of the road one of the big buses was overturned in the middle of the road – they use big branches all around and in front/back of the bus to indicate an accident. No people were in the bus so it was hard to say when it happened.
We made the decision to keep driving for another 3 hours however we will still not make it to Surkhet tonight which is another 2 1/2 hours away – 77kms believe or not. At this point we are pretty sore from sitting for so long and being bounced all over the place and decide to take a search and washroom break. They do have a washroom for travellers – not your Alberta type rest stop that is for sure. It is really dark and there is a candle at the enter way. Jessica goes in first and comes running out – to many bugs and geckos - I say I can’t wait another 3 hours I am going in – I was given a flashlight – which I did not turn on – remember this is a squat toilet – yeah it was special. I come out and say see I did it not a problem – so Pat and Jessica go in and within 2 seconds they are running out of there. Hundreds of spiders and geckos every where – I don’t care I made it. We decide to walk to a food place on the road side to look for a clearer spot – This would have been funny to see - 3 of us walking with Ruja going to a place that does not see white people much – and we looked beautiful as we had the wind blowing on us all day and our hair was standing on end – like really standing straight up. That person who ran the place was not that crazy about us using the washroom but he let us – Ruja did need to clean out the spiders before Jessica and Pat would use it. It was a weird experience as you felt like an outsider – people just stared at you and some not so nicely.
Off we go again. One of the things that really comes full force in rural Nepal is the number of check stops – we are stopped about 5 or 6 times and depending on the check point different things are looked at or asked. It certainly hits home that this is still a country in political unrest, In the city you will see the police or army carrying M16s – but it becomes so common place you don’t even think about here. Here out in the rural area it certainly has a different feel or maybe that was because it was dark.
We finally make it to a place that is about 5 kms away from India – it is very hot – unbarable – it is now 10:30 at night we have been traveling for about 14 hours at this point – a little over 700 kms. We are very tried and just want a shower and a bed to sleep in. We arrive at the hotel – Dreamland – don’t let the name fool you – think of the worse hotel possible – this may just be able to beat it. There was no air movement at all – it was so hot you could barely breath and the place was so dirty with our friend the geckos all over the place – not a good sign as where there are geckos there are other things. The good news is that Jessica and Pat’s room is freezing cold – it is so nice and the air conditioner is just going full tilt – I am excited. My room – not so much – the air conditioner is making all sorts of really werid noises – and there is no cooling- it is so hot. After a bit of conversation the decision is to move one of the beds in my room to Pat and Jessica’s room. It is easy to move a bed in Nepal – not much to it. Pat and I decide we will us my room as a smoking room – prefect. But first I will take a shower – that was a walk in and walk out situation – When I take a shower I like to be cleaner coming out. I decide to skip that. So off I go to Pat’s room – the bedding is not really what I would describe as clean – and Pat decides to go to my room to grab a pillow as hers was a little more then gross. She goes to my room and the door is locked and someone is in there. At this point all we can do is laugh.
We wake up at about 5 and as Pat bought clothes that she washed the day before and they were still wet – we come up with a plan to dry them faster – let’s put them over the air conditioner – not a good plan and don’t try this – our air conditioner shut down. Within minutes and I mean minutes the room was starting to warm up – we were besides are selves – not that we broke the machine but we would die of heat. Just when we thought this is it – the machine kicked back in. We will never do that again.
We are not eating breakfast here - for one thing I just couldn’t do it and the other they had to wake up the employees who were sleeping on the dining tables. We will just have breakfast else where. Unfortunately in this place there is no else where. Again I look at what is around me – water in all the ditches but hundreds of water lilies growing everywhere – all the fruit trees and bananas hanging from the trees – yet all around this is the worse poverty I have seen or pretty close to it. The heat is stifling and it is only 7:30 a.m. On our last leg of our journey someone else will be joining us – as we are running out of room he sits in the front with the driver and Raju - too bad it is bucket seats and a standard – but here everyone makes it work. Off we go – 77 kms in 2 ½ hours – really. Yes for most of the way the roads are very narrow – one vehicle wide and lots of steep cliffs – Pat is worried about the cliffs – I reassure her that I am sitting closes to the cliff so I will go first – so she doesn’t need to worry. This is a very slow trip however again the views are amazing. Most of this trip is in a national park which is watched over by the army. We go through – there are no villages. At of going through the park we arrive at a large village and stop for sweet tea and yet again a washroom. Raju is starting to catch on about our washroom issues so he goes to find us one that will be suitable – and he does a great job. However I will start to carry Freebze where ever I go. He explains that this is a very poor village and hygiene and cleaning is not good here. So we start again and continue. We finally arrive at Surkhet – again a better place then the one we left – the village itself is poor and as this is not a place where tourist or white people come we get stared at a lot but that is alright. The hotel is very, very basic but clean – that is just so wonderful.