Tuesday 29 September 2015 – Our journey begins: Fly to Nepal. We used duct-tape to prevent the straps of our rucksacks getting caught in any airport conveyor belts and to maximize the chances that we will be reunited ‘on the other side’. It was a delight to welcome our caterpillar-looking, green-black striped rucksacks at Kathmandu many hours later – thanks Jet Airways.
Wednesday 30 September 2015 – We are met at Kathmandu airport by the son-in-law (called Akash) of our host (Fulmaya) and driven to Bhattedanda Homestay in Dhulikhel, about an hour outside of the city. Akash explained about the fuel crisis currently immobilizing Nepal’s transport across the country and told us how, in accordance with the vehicle number plate, only odd-number vehicles were allowed to buy fuel today, alternating on a day-by-day basis with even-numbered vehicles.
Fuel crisis: what’s going on?
Following conversations with Nepalese locals, we have pieced together a brief overview of the political situation underpinning the fuel
crisis. The Nepali government has brought in a new constitution for the people of Nepal. They didn’t consult India; “Well, why should they?” you may rightly ask. This political act, however, has aggravated the people of Southern Nepal, whose origins are rooted in India, causing them to engage in strikes. Our route to Chitwan National Park was therefore thwarted by strikes involving the buses. Landlocked, it seems that Nepal has also been punished by India via the blockade of fuel, cement and other materials. While this is against human rights, India is insisting that the trouble stems from within Nepal and has nothing to do with them. Meanwhile, our experience has been that, at a time when Nepal is desperate for tourism following the earthquake, buses are fewer and overcrowded, ticket prices for transport rise, restaurants offer a limited menu or are forced to close, and rebuilding of homes is delayed.
Wednesday 30 September to Saturday 3 October 2015 – We arrive at Bhattedanda Homestay in the dark, once the sun has set and the electricity is intermittent. However, any inconveniences are made up for by our welcome into the family shelter, where we eat with Fulmaya, her husband, mother and one of her daughters, Akash and their son. Lovely food and warm smiles – plenty of both – made us feel comfortable after our long journey.
Over the next couple of days in Bhattedanda, we are taken around the tiered pastures to meet the Tamang villagers and learn about the vital work Fulmaya has instigated in the community via the ‘Women’s Cooperative’, including buffalo, goat, and sustainability projects, as well as shelter and essential provisions to her own and neighbouring villages after the earthquake. We walk the ‘1000 steps’, hike to Noma Budda (a sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site), spend time in the fields picking basil, and enjoy each evening meal with the family; and Will becomes a year older.
Our thoughts on the Homestay:
We really enjoyed it here and would recommend it if you want to engage in true Nepalese culture, with the opportunity to learn about Nepal, help in the fields, and relax in a remote and beautiful part of the world (with mountain views, when the clouds allow). http://bhattedandahomestay.com
Inspired in Nepal
He holds the sign up high for the old guests,
only to be surprised by two young spirits
he is waiting to welcome to his country:
young in the feat of world adventure.
He takes his guests to his home built from hard work,
where family comprises community
and his field lies in generosity:
each tier an opportunity to grow and
sustain to avoid another tear to be shed.
He gives his guests time to ponder their native footprints and the false strife that may be cultivated
even when real troubles are absent;
they are knocked back,
not only by the shorter walkways,
but also by the abundance of care in a truly tough life.
Posted by Lindsay