Saturday, July 30, 2011
Luckily, I have enough backside to cushion the fall and was completely unharmed. Wet and muddy yes, broken or bruised.... No.
More games and fun ensued, the rain kept pouring down and great fun was had by all. After a bit everything was finally called off so the kids could head home and dry off.
The different houses have been taking turns having a night each of performances to welcome the Irish group and showcase their talents. I haven't made it to any of them as in the evenings I have been teaching the computer class. Last night I was finally able to go to the performance at the Annapurna Hpuse. Everyone received Tikki and a scarf in a small welcoming ceremony. Tikki is this red dye stuff that they put on your forehead. Then the boys in the house (older Umbrella kids) did some singing and dancing, and even some rap. Of course there
Was some Justin Beiber thrown in, and a couple of the Irish guys performed the rap 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air'. Great fun was had by all.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
I do have photos but haven't downloaded any yet..... Working on that.
After school the Irish lads met us in the house for time with the kids and dinner. I have gotten used to the bluntness of the culture and it's always amusing to see others experience it.
During dinner, one of the Irish lads was offered food which he declined as his stomach was giving home trouble. The Didi offering food to him said "you sick? You sick because you are fat.". Now this guy is not a tall skinny rugby player like many of them are, but by north American standards he is definitely not fat. This was after the girls had drawn portraits of the boys pointing out any possible flaws. Apparently in the eyes of the Nepalese, this poor guy is not only fat but has elephant ears as well. Another guy was slim bit had a square head. Luckily, they did not make drawings of me,only cards telling me how beautiful I am, that I should always be happy and that they love me. Good thing, my self esteem couldn't handle my flaws be pointed put by a dozen pre-teens & teenagers.
This evening Monica & I planned & hosted the trivia night at the pub. I managed to balance my alcohol intake so that I had enough that I was able to do some public speaking, but not so much that I slurred my words. :)
It's definitelyonsoon season now, Attempting to dry my clothes outside had proven to be a problem.
In the houses, the kids eat off a metal plate using their hands. If kids in Canada were caught eating like this they would get In trouble for playing with their food. Here it is just how it's done. I have chosen to eat with a spoon. It's easier and less messy. Today I was eating next to our youngest girl in the house. If you've read the Little Princes book you've heard about her. Her photograph is in the book and it says how she didn't talk for five months. Anyways, she's about 8 now and talks plenty. Me and her don't always understand each other but she seems to be content to just be near you sometimes. On our walk last weekend she held my hand there and back and we hardly spoke unless I was going to slow for her "tooooo slooooow sister!"
So back to the eating. We were the only ones left and I think she wanted to race me to finish. She made me put down my spoon and eat with my hand. She still won, but only because she made me wait for her when I started to get too far ahead.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tonight the power is out and the volunteer house is quiet. My back is on fire as I forgot how you can still get a burn when it's overcast (yes mom, I KNOW I should know better.... But I wasn't going to be out long and and.....). Well i was washing my clothes by hand crouched over a bucket and a tap wearing a tank top. I can only feel the burn, I haven't really seen it as it's dark.
Tonight was day two for me teaching computer class to some of the older kids. I'm teaching them Excel. I love excel, but I'm no teacher. All in all it went ok, and I'm really enjoying it. The kids are not from the house I normally in so it gives me a chance to meet more of the kids.
On the weekend a couple of the girls were asking me to teach them games songs or dances from Canada. It's been a few years since I was a kid and I'm totally drawing a blank. So i guess i'm asking for a little help? If you can think of something from your childhood that you think my girls would enjoy.... The simpler the better. Send me an email. The only thing I can think of is the chicken dance and I can't even really remember the moves, and that is pretty lame. I need to redeem myself before I become the MOST boring volunteer ever.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
After all that I really doubt I'll be able to sleep now.
Today after school I met one of our girls best friends. She isn't an Umbrella kid, but she also has a sad story. You wouldn't know it to see her though. She Is bright and happy and very friendly. When I was introduced to her she asked what country I was from, her smile grew wide and she started to glow. I was thinking she had some deep connection with our fine country. She exclaimed "Canada!!!? Justin is from Canada! I LOVE Justin Beiber!". I would have loved to have told her I knew him or something crazy like that, but as you know, I only recently learned that the guy was even from Canada......
In our house, Gauri Shankar, we have three of the lads (I think that's Irish for boy)and one teacher assigned. The teacher was here last year with a different group of lads and our girls were soooo excited to see her. Right away she had the girls dancing and singing. Was great fun to see these three guys who are all very tall dancing and playing skip rope with the girls. The lads were shown around the area and also went on a tour of the monkey temple.
The monkey temple is really close to the volunteer house, but i had yet to go. To get there, you climb so many steps you think you're climbing Everest, but sure enough, when you get to
the top it's monkeys & temples. There are also some amazing views, and it appears to be a great place to stock up on Nepali 'wares' with lots of shops and vendors.
Because we had 'company' in the house, our house mother and the didi's put on an amazing spread of food. Roti, which is a fried bread, lentils, potatoes and veggies (spicy of course) and some yummy deep fried sugary thing for desert. Top that off with some Nepali beer at quiz night in Thamel And I'm feeling a little bloated. One beer is about 4$, but They're about 2x the size of what you would normally order in Canada. Good news is, our team won the quiz might and received a 1000 rupee bar tab. We won, despite the fact that I did not know that lacrosse was the second national sport of Canada. I guessed baseball.
I'm quite proud of myself, tonight i managed to barter a cab tide home for a decent price as well as giving the driver the right directions and getting out at the right spot. Not something I thought I would ever be comfortable with two weeks ago.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Friday the children had a performance at school put on to entertain the teachers. About a dozen Umbrella children were involved in singing and dancing. The girls are incredibly talented. I will post a couple very short video clips.
Saturday the volunteers gathered up a few of the children from each house and held a music workshop. Instruments were made and then one of our very musically talented volunteers lead them to play their instruments and sing an African song about a monkey. Very cute and entertaining.
Today, Nadja organized a beauty day for our girls. It is some sort of special day where all unmarried women wear green & yellow bangle bracelets. I think it Is for good luck finding a good husband. We went to a shop to get bracelets for ourselves and all the girls. The bangles are made of glass and have no give at all. Apparently, my Canadian mitts are a bit bigger than those of the average Nepalese women. The lady at the store must have realized how much I needed these bangles because she squished, squeezed and manipulated the bones in my hand until she got the bracelets on. I must mention that only 2 bracelets were damaged beyond repair during this process. And the bracelets that I'm wearing, they will probably still be on my wrist when I land back in Canada this fall, unless they break.
Once the bangles were bought and installed, we headed over to the house to hand out bracelets to the girls and start the face/nail painting. Great fun was had by all and at the end if the night both Nadja & I were exhausted.
I am still trying to figure out a way to post my other photos along and will post a link as soon as it is available.
My diet has changed drastically since arriving. I had brought myself a ration of chocolate to last the entire 3 months. On my first visit to the grocery I realized that there is not a shortage if chocolate on Nepal. 3 month supply is 3/4 gone as I know it can be replaced. What I am really missing is cheese. The only kind I have seen is processed. If you're a future volunteer and you're reading this PLEASE BRING CHEESE. Otherwise, I may just fade away to nothing (although due to the chocolate situation, chances of that happening are slim). There really isn't alot that you can't get here, everything is just different. And the drastic difference is that I haven't eaten cheese in two weeks. The dal bhatt isn't bad, but one night I'd love a cheese sandwich.
I haven't seen any twizzlers here either. :(
At night I sleep with earplugs. They help, bit do not completely drown out the sounds. In the evening it is loud with the sounds of nature, people and vehicles. There is a swampish area not far from my window that sounds like it is home to about 4,594,753,108 frogs. In the morning it's the same, but replace the sounds of the frogs with a few dozen roosters. I am really appreciating evening rainfalls. It makes the air almost cool enough that i
need a blanket, and it drowns out all the noise.
Between Communicating with the Nepalese & our Spanish volunteer (who has limited English) I find myself speaking alot of broken English. Sometimes I forget when I am speaking with someone who has a complete grasp of the English language and will say to them something like "you come cafe? We eat?". This is after less than 2 weeks.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Monkeys here. Not just the odd one. I would compare them to squirrels at Stanley Park in Vancouver. Our Didi (housekeeper) will chase them away from the house with a slingshot or a big stick. She is not the only one. I have seen an old lady on a neighboring house yielding a slingshot as well. I think the Volunteer House must be located on a main monkey thorough fare. Yesterday we had about 50 or more passing through. Today, two lucky monkeys found their way into the bedroom of a couple of volunteers. Apparently, they scored some candy. Sweet!
Our room has "monkey bars" on the windows, so my stash is safe.
I didn't spend too much time with the girls at Gauri Shankar today, as I've come down with a chest cold and am sounding kinda manly. Don't feel 100% either.
Right now I am laying in bed and I hear a lot of dogs sounding very anxious, barking and yelping. That is usually a sign of the monkeys being active. I have witnessed a couple monkeys try to take on the dogs at the neighbors house. Luckily slingshot lady broke if up.
I know that thus far I have written very little about the kids. Between getting settled into a new culture, meeting all new people, and now being sick, I haven't spent a whole lot of time with them. During the times I have been with them, I've been surprised at how normal they are. When they heard I was from Canada, it started the debate about whether Justin Beiber is from Canada or the USA. Anyone?
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
This afternoon after dinner (del bhat-which Is rice,lentils & vegetables) the girls were skipping rope while others were studying. It was the first time I was there without Nadja and a handful of girls sat down with me to talk and find out about me. The first thing that always comes up is "sista..... You soooooo white" and then they all stick out there arms to compare their own skin color to mine. Then "sista, how old?". I am older than most of their mothers and they have a hard time understanding why I don't yet have my own family.
The girls are very affectionate and are always wanting to hold hands or link arms.
There are currently 9 other volunteers, mostly from Ireland, 2 from the US, 1 from Spain and 1 from Germany. Everyone gets along great and during off time the ones that have been here longer have been showing us newbies around Kathmandu.
Every Thursday evening is quiz night at a pub in the tourist district, Thamel. We try to gather up foreigners to join us and compete. In Canada it would be similar to trivia night. It's a way to let peole know about the Umbrella Foundation and raise $$.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I was a little bit stressed out about not having a visa for India since I was told by two separate agents working for 2 separate airlines that I needed one. I had not gotten one, as I hadn't read anywhere that I neeed once since India was just a stop-over. One of our Canadian airlines, which will remain nameless, was fully prepared to deny me boarding even. After some convincing, she agreed to let me fly the first porti on of my flight (from Halifax to Montreal) so that I could atleast get that far and figure it out from there. Grrrr. They were stressing me out for nothing. It was easy peasy, my luggage is waiting to be boarded onto my flight at noon, and i'm wandering around the airport (completely visa-less) and not a soul is trying to harass, imprison, or kick me out of the country.
The airport is great, there's food, lounges, free internet, tons of shopping, and the bathrooms have one of those hose like things like you have on your kitchen sink for rinsing off the dishes with. This of course is for rinsing other things off with (I'm assuming, but there were no instructions). There is also a nice lady standing there to hand you the towel to dry your hands off with.
While waiting in line at the transfer info place upon arrival I met two separate groups of people who are also flying to Kathmandu this morning to do similar work. Nice people :) Both groups were from the US and I believe they are mostly here to teach.
My clock is completely messed up, it doesn't feel like night or day, and I'm not sleepy or wide awake. At some point I'll be so tired I won't know which way is up or down, but so far I'm doing OK. Only 7.5 hours until my flight to Kathmandu.