2012 Study Tour: Hiking through a rural Nepali village
We spent the last couple of days visiting some wonderful places that Nepal has to offer. The early morning start was well worth it to witness the amazing views the Himalayas have to offer. A couple of hours bus ride out of the city, we climbed up to the town of Narcargot and I even braved climbing up a tall metal viewing tower to get the best view the district has to offer.
From here, we were able to enjoy the amazing chillingly fresh crisp air as we hiked through frost-covered rocky paths and pine forests down to a village called Sulva. This village is close to Steph's heart as she stayed there on her first visit to Nepal and built a school building there which is still used today. We were able to sit outside the house of the beautiful family she stayed with and we spent the morning with them. It was a truly unique and humbling experience. They were so welcoming and hospitable - ensuring they put mats on the porch where we were sitting, and bringing tea and biscuits for their guests (which is the done thing in Nepal!). The tea was a hybrid of tea, coffee, sugar and ginger I think, and surprisingly enjoyable!
We met Indira, who is one of the daughters, 19 years old. She is so beautiful and although her English is quite basic, she speaks it very well. Her job was to serve the tea, and then she proudly led me by the hand through her double story concrete house (pretty high standard in a rural village) demonstrating where they store their potatoes and maize, and where they cook and sleep. Indira has a mysterious charm about her - she is very modest but extremely confident and it was so lovely getting to know her. She and Steph were almost inseparable as they caught up as old friends.
We also met Rum, who was a son, 27 years old and happened to be at home the day we visited because someone was leaving the village and so he got the day off. Rum is a school teacher at the local secondary school teaching geography, population studies, health and similar social sciences. He is extremely smart and has very good English so I really loved talking to him. He was quite blunt and honest when sharing his experiences, thoughts, what he has learned, and his sobering view of the Western world and what truly brings happiness for the soul. I asked him lots of questions about his life and rural life in Nepal and he was more than happy to explain as best he could. Rural life is hard - every family works very hard every day - some have enough food, some don't. He explained that their village operated like a bit of a co-operative which is awesome, so if one family doesn't harvest enough crops, they can go and work in someone else's fields and earn their food that way. It seems like a well oiled unit, which makes sense, as some of the families have been there on that land for many generations. One of the beautiful houses had been there for 100 years, even withstanding a big earthquake a number of years ago!
Rum's thoughts of life gave me lots to ponder - rural life vs. modern Western life, the things that bring happiness and satisfaction, and what we take for granted in our society at so many levels. Health, education, employment, and more.
On the way hiking down from the village, we saw some awesome sights - beautiful views for one, but also many local residents in their natural habitat cooking, cleaning, weaving straw mats, building, and much more. We even witnessed one family outside washing and dressing a two-day old baby! It was a beautiful site to behold!
This experience was so enjoyable and so intriguing that I am so looking forward to our village stay in a couple of days time where we will get an even more intense experience and insight of rural Nepali village life.