Just like the plains down in Af-rica

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January 11th 2008
Published: January 15th 2008
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Since the Charity kids are out of school for an entire month, I no longer have to rush over before they head off right after morning daal bhaat. This is a good thing, because I am sick of my feet freezing in the frigid early morning temperatures with me in flip flops. I have not worn proper shoes yet this year. I refuse. Then again, It's really not much of a challenge as long as I don't venture outside before 8 or 9am.

In an attempt to blend a bit more, I purchase fabric for and head to the tailor to get measured for a kurta (a long shirt with slits up either side) with matching pants beneath. It takes a while until I think I get my point across because the tailor does not speak a word of English. Just think at how amazing I will be at charrades once I return home.

I pick up my kurta, but lo and behold it needs a few adjustments. In my desperate attempt to not end up with those baggy Aladdin pants a lot of the women run around in, I find that I have been made skin
Ratna ParkRatna ParkRatna Park

The Central Park of Kathmandu... it's a bit dry.
tight stretch pants like leggings that do not give, but squeeze my legs like sausages... and the waist extends halfway up my torso. There is no hope for them, thus they will end up in the clothing box in the office. But the top ends up close to perfect, so I will probably end up having a couple more made while I'm here.

I go on a grand hair dye hunt because I am looking for a bit of a change. I end up going for the bright red to die the underside of my hair and some bleach so it shows up well. I learn that my new home is not equipped with solar panels meaning that if I am interested in washing any part of my body, I must endure the glacial melt. And In order to rinse out the dye, I must wash my hair. I shove my head beneath the faucet, acquire an immediate brain freeze, take my head out of the line of fire and patiently wait for the brain freeze to pass. This process repeats itself for roughly a half hour over which I finally manage to wash my hair. I am not

Old Bus Park, Kathmandu
exaggerating when I say this is the most difficult thing I've ever done. It does not help the situation when the sun ducks behind the mountains and the power goes out (imperative to hairdryer operation) just as I finish. And I bought face bleach, not hair bleach. The red is a bit visible, but is completely unnoticeable after my first shower thereafter.

The baa (father) owns and runs a chicken farm as a living, so I give myself a self-guided tour amongst the various sheds lining our property. The chickens are split up according to age, with each age group housed in a separate brick shed with corrugated tin roof. The only thing holding the tin roofs in place are heavy miscelaneous items placed on top of them such as old tires and pieces of metal. The chickens are free to run about the amply spaced sheds so I am happy with this setup.

Aama (mother) brings me up to the chick house in the upstairs portion of one of these buildings to take refuge from the chill. There are aisles of small troughs filled with chicken feed. The chicks fight to gain access to the troughs, crowd beneath the wood burning furnaces, and chase one another about the room. It is so warm up there. I hold and talk to a few of the chicks- they are so cute! I think they like me. Aama looks at me skeptically. I notice boxes piled up on one end of the room that the day-old chicks had arrived in. Unfortunately, some of them did not survive the trip, and their bodies lay rotting in the bottom of the boxes.

They serve me daal bhaat here with a spoon, which I initially find a bit difficult to get used to since I've used my hands for the past 3.5 months. But I no longer have to worry about not sanitizing my hands thoroughly enough, and no more yellow fingernails.

But the bathroom is like Niagra falls. You have to make sure you are flushing the toilet for a good reason because when you do, gallons of water spew from the plumbing, completely soaking every surface on the far half of the room. Push it and run!

Khajaa is the light mid-day snack to hold you over between morning and evening daal bhaat. I never got khajaa at my old home because they could care less. But here I get it every time I am home! I have had roasted peanuts and popcorn freshly popped in a large wok-type pan under the wood burner in the shed, noodles, and orange slices.

At the monthly volunteer party, we find ourselves at a karoke bar. We seem to be one of only two large groups there so dominate the microphone all night long. I 'sing' the classic 'Africa' song by Toto, as well as Journey's 'Don't Stop Believing'. How can you go wrong with those? I am an epic singer and don't you forget it.

I get a package from Justin!! Superbad DVD (FAVORITE), ginormous candle I have to stop myself from eating and delectable Kit Kats! The candle will be my means of staying awake past sunset for its 60 burning hours. I have never been more excited about a candle!

There is a 7 or 8 year old boy who enjoys intercepting me at the end of my driveway every day when I come home. He runs alongside me the whole way up, speaking Nepali at 1000 words a minute. Usually I don't put much effort into trying to deciper what he's saying because to be completely honest, he's a bit of an annoyance. But once I actually listened, understood, and responded to him in Nepali where I was going. He stopped dead in his tracks, mouth dropped in complete shock, and ran away as fast as his little legs could carry him. I guess he didn't expect that.

We plow through a few health team meetings where we schedule and plan montly health events including the health checks and health fun days at each of the six children's homes, as well as the third vaccination day. The purpose of the fun days are to educate the children about the importance of keeping healthy and the consequences of not doing so. So we've arranged three so-called stations- personal hygene, layering, and games in which the children will be able to draw their renditions of a healthy and a no-so healthy person while having fun at the same time- woaaaah!

I am now on my 4th visa and will probably go through 6 by the time I'm done here. Why I cannot simply be issued one for the entire length of my stay is beyond me.

In the same day, a taxi hits me with its side mirror and a bicycle runs me over. For as laid back as life is here, everyone with a set of wheels seems to be in such a hurry...


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