I love the communal nature of life here, especially in rural Nepal. When electricity is limited and unpredictable, sunlight is not wasted, so in the villages, the day begins as the sky lightens at 4:45am. Lazy Westerner that I am, I stayed abed until 5:30am, when morning tea is served. I continually had flashes to the farm life imagined from the Little House on the Prairie books I loved so much, minus wagon trains and hoop skirts and locust plagues.
|Morning work, plus chickens hoping for some spillage|
|He stopped by every morning to crack me up. Champion.|
It didn't seem to matter if it was the middle of meal time...they'd simply share whatever we were having. A lot of times I'd find women who'd stopped by doing dishes in the yard, though they hadn't eaten with us...so presumably they were just helping out for a moment, doing whatever needs to be done. And it was the same in every home we visited. I was usually hard pressed to tell who the hostess actually was because everyone was involved in welcoming, helping, serving, doing. Visitors were always welcome, and there was no pressure to have a "perfect" house to be "ready" in some special way. It was truly lovely.
|Having a visit over some dishwashing|
|Time out for a photobomb!|
There was even an open door for me everywhere we went, which as very much a stranger I so appreciated. When we walked through the villages, most homes we passed offered an invitation for us to come in and visit. It was hard to get used to being treated like the guest of honor, since most of the time I felt like a big awkward lump, having little idea of local customs and wary of making some unintentional gaffe. I was always touched at how immediately I was offered a straw mat in the best shade and that they'd go out of their way to find me a safe beverage, sometimes undertaking a long walk to a shop to buy me a soda. Then I'd do my best to cross the language barrier and fascinate them with my heat-reddened face, my blistered feet, or my personal favorite: videos of my beautiful nephew laughing like the international superstar he is. Who doesn't love a laughing baby, I ask you. NO ONE. So we'd sit a while, visit, then be on our way.
|This baby definitely appreciated her fellow baby.|
|Limiting public humiliation is worth a hike of any length, am I right??|