The Beautiful People of Nepal

WEEK 2, DAYS 5–10

Kathmandu District

Although I have lived in Nepal for less than two weeks, I have already formed a pretty solid stereotype for the Nepali people. Words that come to mind include soft-hearted, kind, generous and, well, beautiful. Even their national greeting “namaste” literally meaning I salute the divine in you, speaks volumes for their courteous characteristics.

Of course this is a generalisation, and I am certain there are the exceptions to the rule (in fact I have been what we have now termed “white-girl ripped-off” on multiple occasions). But so far, majority rule, and I have formed an adoration for Nepali men, women and children alike.

I suppose it’s this lovely nature that makes it even more heart-breaking to see the wide-spread poverty. Take, for instance, our housekeeper Sita. Sita is everything I described above and more. She is softly-spoken and will go out of her way to make others feel welcome. Sita is 24-years old and has a 14-year old son who lives with her ex-husband’s parents in Dang Deukhuri District, a 12-hour bus ride away. Sita will go for six, nine, 12 or even 24-months without seeing her son. She misses him a lot. Sita works 12-hours a day, earning $130AUD a month which barely covers rent/food/water/hospital bills…etc. She is trying to save enough money to go and work in Dubai…. But until then, she scrapes by.

I have no doubt that Sita is just one of many in a similar situation. Despite having so little, the Nepali people are so generous. Bishep, the volunteer coordinator at Kanti Children’s Hospital where I am working said,

“We may be poor, but our hearts are not.”

Kanti is a Government funded hospital, but the funding doesn’t cover the many of the costs of running such a facility and they are reliant of fundraising and donations, as well as nominal payments by families. Despite the hardships, the staff at Kanti are dedicated to saving the children of Nepal day in and day out.

Everyday I spend here, my heart breaks a little more for these people, but the generosity of others gives me hope for the future of this country.

And cue the photos…

Those Nepali that choose to work are very diligent, with many jobs requiring heavy physical labour. Others however choose to spend their days in their doorway just watching the world go by, something that is rather rare to see in our fast-paced Western lives.
Traffic here is quite something else. Everyone owns a motorbike, but no one seems to own two helmets. Thus the passenger goes without and the police seem fine with it. Even when the person not wearing a helmet is a toddler!! Horns a constantly tooting, road signs are blatantly ignored and the reason they even bother painting zebra crossings is beyond me. Despite the mayhem, drivers never get angry or stressed. If this happened in Aus or NZ, the number of spoken profanities and heart attacks would sky rocket. Mad respect to taxi drivers here.
Nagarkot locals demonstrating how they make raksi, the traditional Nepali wine (which tastes more like moonshine).
Meet Nirala. We met on the tuk-tuk home from Kanti Children’s Hospital. She kindly invited me into her store, which just happened to be around the corner from my home, and gave me a juice. How sweet!
And then there’s Arti, Nirmala and Sita. I met these beautiful ladies at the gym and they have invited me to participate in an upcoming festival with them and even offered to make me a red sari for the occasion.
While sitting reading in the Garden of Dreams, a group of young school children ran up to me asking to take a photo. Afterwards one of the little girls gave me this flower… what a cutie.
Children are a lot more independent in Nepal than they are in more developed countries. It is very common for older siblings to take care of the younger siblings both outside and inside the home.
Even the local animals are extra friendly.
And one last photo, just cause it’s cute.

Until next time… namaste.

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