Catherine Pinard

Cathmandu

Catherine Pinard

From Canada, living in Quebec or in the Yukon Territory, when I am not traveling. I love the outdoors, hiking, biking, paddling, and to meet new people and discover new cultures. Sharing stories on a blog is a great way to feel connected to family and friends, especially when traveling alone, so thanks for following!



Africa » Kenya » Rift Valley Province » Eldoret February 5th 2019

I apologize for the followers who already subscribed to my newer blog, but I realized that some people were trying to follow my latest trip on Travelblog.org and were not finding the stories... I now have a new website at cathmandu.com where I post my stories, pictures and even some videos! It is possible to subscribe to cathmandu.com: to do so, click on 'read more' below, then you will be able to click on the link here and enter your email address. No spam, no worries, and you can always unsubscribe. See you there!... read more
With Evelyn

North America » United States » Alaska » Dalton Highway June 13th 2018

This post is simply to let you know that I am on a new adventure and have a new website/blog on which I will put my stories and pictures. If you want to follow, you can go to cathmandu.com, click on the CAT project and choose “blog” from the menu. You can also subscribe to the blog by choosing “subscribe” in the menu and entering your email address. I hope to see you there! ... read more

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Bundi March 11th 2018

I am now sitting on a rooftop in Bundi, one of the most charming cities I visited in India. It is not a very big city, so it is surprisingly quiet, with lots of really beautiful old haveli, a fort, a palace, and the romantic touch that only Rajasthan has. And people are amongst the friendliest I have seen in India. They smile, say hello and don't seem to want to give you the "best price" or even sell you anything. It is very refreshing after a few days in Udaipur. Udaipur is also very beautiful, but it took me some time to adjust after 3 months in a rural setting where there was no other foreigners. Rickshaws, food, hotels, everything seemed very expensive, but on the other hand it was also nice to be able ... read more

Asia » India » Gujarat » Mehsana March 1st 2018

I am just a few days away from leaving the Child Haven home. And the last 10 days or so have been very different from the previous weeks as I was invited to visit and share the "normal" life of several staff members. I often expected just a quick visit, but there is not such thing here, people took great pride in showing me their area, taking me on journeys to local temples, historic sites, or other places. Neighbours were always pouring in, wanting to see the face of a "real foreigner"! And soon I would be invited for a cup of chai at their house as well. In one case, the village was far enough that I stayed for 4 days, a very unique chance to immerse myself in the indian way of life. It ... read more
The sun temple
Preparing delicious food
A painting at the Gandhi Ashram

Asia » India » Gujarat » Mehsana February 16th 2018

A few days ago, it was Shivaratri, another special day in the Hindi tradition. Kids had no school and I found out that most staff members were fasting that day, so I decided to join them. However, I soon found out that it wasn't a complete fast. In the morning, we had our very sweet chai, which is almost like a meal! After chai, I joined the boys and staff on a beautiful walk to a nearby village where we went to small temples. The temples were interesting, but the real treat was just once again to witness "normal life", totally out of the beaten track. I would have liked to take some pictures, but my hands were quite busy holding small hands! Once we were back at the home, it was the girls' turn to ... read more
One of the very few pictures I took at one of the temples
old temple

Asia » India » Gujarat » Mehsana February 10th 2018

Many times I mentioned hospitality and generosity as two of the characteristics of Indian people. Even if Child Haven is a Canadian/American/Indian organization, it gets a lot of local support, and not just from wealthy people. Several times over the last 2 months, "normal" people and even families that live very simply came to donate a meal, biscuits, clothes or school supplies for the kids. This week, a group of 3 men from a NGO based in Mumbai that runs a school in a nearby village came to offer a lunch even if they also struggle with financing their own project. 2 days later, I had the chance to go and visit their school. As we were getting ready to go, I asked if we were going by car or motorbike, as it can be a ... read more
At the Jain temple
Fully dressed to handle the cool morning (28 degrees... Celsius)
At the Jain temple

Asia » India » Gujarat » Mehsana February 7th 2018

It is marriage season in India, and I knew that one of the staff members who worked here until recently was getting married today. I also knew I was invited. But that was all I knew. So as we got closer to the date, I tried to get a little more information such as if I were really invited, where, when, etc. But as usual, the answers I got varied a lot, so I resorted to my usual technique: just wait and see. So this morning, like every morning, I got up and went to the dining hall with the kids for their morning soy milk, had chai with staff, and went back to my room to wash some clothes. Around 8 am, one of the staff members knocked on my door: "Sister! Are you ready?" ... read more
The groom's arrival
The ceremony
The newly wed

Asia » India » Gujarat » Mehsana January 26th 2018

Today is Republic Day, so it is a day off, and we had some dancing and singing and amazing food with a few government officials present for the occasion. But the big highlight of this week was yesterday... There is a new waterpark in Mahesana, the nearest "city", and Child Haven children and staff were invited for the opening. The kids were so amazingly excited, what a special treat for them, and on a school day on top of that! I was also looking forward to the opportunity to take some photos of the event (sorry, no photo on the blog, I took them with my big camera and can't upload them at the moment...)! But I had no idea about how a day at the waterpark was like in India. What to bring, what to ... read more
older girls dance
young boys dance
boys grand finale!

Asia » India » Gujarat » Mehsana January 21st 2018

Now that I described a typical day at Child Haven in Gujarat, here are some random events that change the routine... Yesterday, I was sitting in the sun with one of the staff members, as we were waiting for the kids to come back from school. All of a sudden, Nita grabbed the sleeve of my shirt and pulled it up as high as she could towards my shoulder. Without only a few very basic words to communicate, I was once again silently trying to figure out what she wanted... Then she looked at another staff member and said "my room". So, still not understanding what this was about, I followed her to her room, and there she got her nicest sari out of her trunk and "told" me to try it on. All she wanted ... read more
everybody helps in the kitchen
dalbati, a special delicious Gujarati meal
the girls ready to enjoy dalbati

Asia » India » Gujarat » Mehsana January 15th 2018

Today was a day that the children were talking about for weeks: the kite festival. Celebrated throughout India, there is probably no better place to enjoy it than in a home with 60+ children! Already yesterday, we could feel there was something special in the air. And this morning, the children put some nice clothes and we had a special breakfast of "chikkis", some kind of very sweet bars or balls made with seeds or nuts and a lot of sugar, it was a change from our usual spicy breakfast, closer to my usual peanut butter! Then each child got a few kites to play with and for the first time, I got the camera out and most children didn't pay attention to it because they were too busy with their kites. That was fantastic as ... read more
One of the children with her new kite
With some of the staff
Staff preparing amazing food




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