Monday, December 29, 2014

Palpa: Midhills region of Nepal

After two weeks in KTM we were whisked away to the midhills for an excursion. The drive there included 8 hours through windy nepali roads up and down giant hills, but the views were beyond worth it. Getting to palpa took a load off of everyone’s shoulders. The pace of life was easier there. A smaller rural town with less traffic, less people, fresh air, incredible views, and sunsets to kill for. A week was not long enough.

Our schooling brought us to many rural villages around the area so that we could see development in action. Getting to these villages entailed riding up someone created roads in decked out jeeps where more times than not they got stuck and we had to get out and walk anyway. This was our first time going really rural. We stay community radio stations, had lunch with a mother’s group, learning about soil conservation, visited a coffee farm, and watched locals make the very traditional nepali Dhaka cloth.

Exploring the city of Palpa brought it’s own excitement. We woke up early to walk to the top and the hill and see the Himalayas at sunrise. We discovered our favorite restaurant and watched is amazement as Jessie took on a bet to eat 50 momos (nepali dumplings) and didn’t even vomit. We chatted as a group for hours in hotel rooms as night, shared stories, and even celebrated a birthday. While this was a field work experience for us, it was a bonding experience for our fabulous group and every day we grew happier to be together.

One evening we were up on the hill playing freesbee when a group of Nepali ammas came to us and basically kidnapped up. They were completely confused how there were a group of white people standing in their village who spoke Nepali. They took a minimum of 20 photos with us and then insisted we come to their house for tea. At first we were a little hesitant, since it was late and we were supposed to go home for dinner, they all but dragged us to their house and force-fed us chhiyyaa. It turned out to be one of my favorite nepali memories so far. We all got to practice our speaking, and they asked us a million questions. It reminded me of how incredible it is to remember that they can learn from us to. Not to mention how hilarious and strange it was that we were sitting in some random nepali women’s’ house drinking tea. That evening was just full of laughter, and is a prime example of what it means when they say Nepal is a caring and sharing culture. It truly is.

Another example of this is the idea of how to address a women. Any women a little older than me, or equal to my age would be addressed not as sir, ma’m or miss, but as didi (sister). At a restaurant if you want to call over the water you say Daai (which means brother). Any grandmother or older women you come in contact with you call (aamaa) and those mothers who took us in on that afternoon were calling us chorri (which means daughter). In Nepal no one is a stranger and everyone is part of the family. It is a beautiful country.

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