Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Hi sorry i haven't posted anything for a while- its just the internet is so slow here and we have limited free time! But let me think whats happened...

Well we lost one volunteer- he got sent home, we were all totally gutted and it really affected us as a group but its been nearly a week so things are getting back to normal now and he has settled in back home- not surprisingly he has the luxury of hot showers, lie ins and whatever food he wants! To be fair i am getting used to the cold bucket baths i really dont mind them and the food is tasty- my mums a really good cook, so is my dad come to think of it and i get up about 7:30-8 everyday which isn't too early considering i go to bed between 9 and 10 usually- 11 if im feeling a lil wild lol!

On saturday we went to the zoo in Jew (its a place in Kathmandu) lol which was nice and the animals wernt kept anywhere near as badly as i thought they would be- but the cheeter's enclosure was so small and that was very sad. Also we rode an elephant and it was fun but i felt bad for the poor elephant it was so old and it had 5 ppl om it plus the driver at once! But hey it was an experience! And then we went to for some good food at a local resteraunt which was meto cha (tasty)...

The other day i got up at 4:45am and got ready to leave for the temple at 5am but typical of Nepali time we didnt leave till about 6:30am lol! But it was great and worth it when i got there- we went to the temple in the side of the hill/mountain which is up loooooooads of steps and it has a beatiful view! I went with my hajur amma (grandma), bainni (lil sis) and didi (big sis but we also use it for aunty which is what i mean in this case) and we did puja on the big statue of Kali/Durga and it was lovely and i was able to kneel and i recite the 108 names on my mala and i was chanting mantras and singing bhajans which led a local man to ask if i was nepali! Then i came home at my breakfast and went to work lol!

On friday we are going to Thamel (in Kathmandu) to try and arrange/find out information about the bunjie jump! What bunjie jump i here u ask? Its the 3rd biggest jump in the world or something and its very close to the Nepali/Chinese border! It looks amazing and i really want to do it- its over a river with the most beautiful scenery around and a well nice hotel (which im sure we cant afford!) Soo exciited! And then after we are just gna get some grub etc maybe go to the shisha bar for abit and then get up early in the morning and do some serious sightseeing with a tiny spot of shopping!

Its Shivaratri (Hindu festival) next week and im hoping that im either going to Pashupatinath which is a huge complex of temples and it where the funeral ghats (pires for cremation) are and itd where all the sadhu's and sanyassi's hang out and smoke the 'erb (as this is typical of Shiva devotees- hence why the Ganga is called Ganga- after the river Ganges which runs through Lord Shiva's hair! Or il be going to Chitwan with my host family (one of the most beautiful parts of Nepal iv heard) which has an amazing national park! And then the following saturday i think im going to Budhanilikanta (something like that anyway) so go to the sleeping Vishnu temple because its a rare huuuuuuuge murtiy (statue)/temple devoted to the aspect of lord Vishnu sleeping on his bed of snakes in the middle of the sea! I cant wait- here and pashupatinath are the two places that i most want to go! But getting inside to do puja is going to be tricky but im gna give it a go- hopefully with the divine on my side (and my nepali family on the other lol)!

In our local village we have found our own little tea room that we love and have nicknamed starbucks! Its great we go in everyday for chiia (tea in nepali) and sometimes noodles but always chocolate and biscuits lol! Its great though cos we get loads of community interaction and we are starting to really get to grips with he Nepali language and this helps alot and also the locals and ur family just really appreciate u trying.

Also we taught the other day for the first time! It was really good- i froze up to begin with my partner was great so then i eased up and joined in and took over at times and then really got involved with the kids checking there sentances etc ( because we taught verbs, adjectives and nouns which most of the kids where pretty good or excelllent at) and then we had to set them homework and everything! I cant wait till next weeks class! Plus its really good cos these are the kids that we are building the new school for- we taught in the current building which is just awful, dark and cold- it really reminds you of why you are here, to give these kids and environment in which they really want to learn and where they dont have to worry about the ceiling falling in on them (well thats abit of an exadge but the school building is buggered!) Oh and the other day on the contruction site all the kids from the school came and made a huge chain and helped us bring all the brick up from the bottom of the slope! It was so sweet and cool to watch- the kids are great! and then we got involved too!

Anyway i better but il post again and hopefully have some really exciting cool stuff to tell u! I miss everyone and cant wait to see u but i am having an awesome time here- sometimes its just so surreal to think im in Nepal doing all this stuff- but u kinda dont think about it u just Bal (the other groups supervisor would say) dont compare just adapt! And that is what i have done...

Pheri batola x x x

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Kathmandu or Kathmandon't?

Definitely do! Iv had as awesome wknd! We experienced some of Thamel's (tourist hotspot)famous night life last night and it was good! But why oh why is there always an Irish bar anywhere u go? No it was good fun, and then we had a really nice meal (where i ordered waaay to much!) and then we went to a shisha bar with a live band which was awesome there was dancing on tables and all sorts! Then today we went for lazy but expensive breakfeast in a very western style cafe- it was yum! Then us girls took to the streets for shopping and i have officially cleared myself out! I got some wikid stuff no buyers remorse for me!

Its definitely getting hotter here now but the nights and mornings (specifically the nights) are still pretty cold! It doesnt snow in Nepal unless your in the Himalayas! Which i can see right now whilst writing to you- Ganesh Himalaya to be precise! The work is going well and the group dynamic is good- especially after being able to let our hair down last night- Lamatar and Sirutar should not be let loose together (we are the two groups of volunteers in nepal)!!

On wednesday i got up at 5:30am and went to temple (3 to be precise) with my host sister, it was soo worth getting up early- i love going to temple but it doesnt have a patch on Skanda Vale! But i still have alot of temples to visit...but being white im at a disadvantage (some say Hindus only and the definition of Hindu that is most prominant here is if your Asian looking u can go in for darshan and aarti- if your not your not coming in! But not all temples are like this i went to an awesome one last week and actually got to go into the inner sanctum, kneel and light candles it was lovely! And there is a temple near by in the hillside up loooooads of steps and i think im going tomorrow im very excited cos its a Maha Kali temple hehehe!!!

Our supervisor i abit of a turd in sheeps clothing but he alrite i guess just abit power mad at times! I think the morale at work will be good after our fun filled wknd! And tomorrow is only a half day anyway and we are starting to get tan woop woop! I do enjoy the work- although somtimes it does just feel like we are moving soil/clay stuff from one place to another but its slowly coming together! The local kids are awesome they already know my name and say HIII ALLLLY every morning and afternoon and its great- i cant wait to teach next week cos the kids are on holiday at the mo!

One thing that i have found hard here is the treatment of animals- there is complete disreguard for animals apart from the cow- its brutal! Iv started shouting at people i see abusing animals. One day coming back from temple in the morning before work i saw a guy lob half a brick at a small defensless cat and when i went over to check if the cat was ok its eye was full of blood and later the cat dies- this is just one of the tragic things we see on a regular basis here in Nepal- also the street children, the slums, the litter/polution, the hard lives of ppl here- especially the women they work there arses off, the struggle for more freedom and the lack of government stability among other things. However people still soldior on and they are happy- in my opinion because of their faith. It amazing to see between 5 and 7am all the women (its always the women) walking to the local shrine (after they have worshipped at home) with their puja plates which hold water, flowers, kum kum powder, sandlewood paste and insence- its a beautiful sight.

Im going for chai in the sun now and il go and enjoy my purchases a little later by candle light as there will be no power in about 40 minutes untill nearly 10pm!

Pheri betula (see you later) x x x

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The heart of Nepal is in the villages...

The heart of Nepal truley is in the villages and so is mine! The peeple are so nice and friendly and the kids are amazing- the views and beauty are/is immense! I feel so at home! When we first arrived we were staying in Kathmandu and although cool is doesnt have a patch on Sirutar- except all the cool temples but iv only been to one Buddhist temple as of yet but it was lovely and full of monkeys! It was really cool to see Tibetan Buddhism being practised! The hotel we stayed in wasnt great but it did for what we needed- my homestay is sooo much better and warmer but it is fricken freezing at night and in the early morning! My host family are soooo lovely i love them- the mum doesnt speak english but thats ok we still get on really well and communicate ok and shes so sweet always looking after me and the food is yummy and im being stuffed till i cant eat anymore! Im going to come back with rice belly!

My host sister and brother are really cool and easy to talk to i really like them and my dads cool and nice and funny although he doesnt speak much english either! The load shedding is rubbish- its where they cut the electricity for about 10 hours a day! So we spent most of last night in the dark but i had a torch so its cool! I was chatting to my host brother for about 2 hours and we went up on to the roof and where looking at the stars because they are sooo beautiful and clear here! And i have an amazing view of the Himalayas its sooo stunning it looks like a painting- on the one side there are snow capped mountains and on the other side are lush green rolling hills!

Im ok with the cold bucket baths at the minute cos my host mummy is sooo sweet and gets it all ready for mollycoddled i swear! I get my meals cooked, my water collected for me its great! But the work is hard man its all manual labour carry heaving things across pretty far distances and my hands and feet are callused...but its ok cos im 'arrrrd!!! lol! Il be tough and stong when i come back hopefully! But the rewards are amazing i cant wait to start teaching!

We will prob go into Kathmandu and around the Kathmandu Valley on our day off (fri night and sat day) which is where i want to go and see lots of temples and do some shopping etc!! I have a Nepali name now and its Puja- which is the Hindu form of worship- i think its because i know abit about hinduism and sort of practice it but- but they havent explained it to me fully yet so il let you know the reason they have called me this soon! I have made some lovely friends here too, the group are really nice and we all get on really well and support eachother as much as possible!

I better go now but if you have any questions comment or facebook me cos i would love to hear from everyone!!

Namaste (Hi and Bye) x x x

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Pre- departure verbal splurge

Oh my im off to Sirutar, Nepal on Thursday!! Ahh! Im sooo excited but a little nervous! Its just going to be amazing- even the bad times, like the the freezing bucket baths and squatty toilets when iv got the poops! But alas its all experience and thats what counts! I have only met one person that i will be going with but im sure they are all lovely- iv spoke to a couple of them abit on facebook! Im so excited about being immersed into another culture and workin my arse off and visiting all the temples!! I still have things to buy, things to pack and a research project to do...oops!! It wouldnt be right if i wasnt rushing around just before iv got to leave going s**t im not reeeeeady! But hey ho it will all come together as it always does! I just cant wait now! But im going to miss everyone at home! Il blog as much as possible etc x x x