Rain in the mountains and trips to school – more from Freda in Nepal

I am sitting on the balcony watching the pouring rain here.  I am just so glad that we are not in the mountains at the moment.  Binod went back to Kathmandu to collect the sports equipment that we had ordered, sports kits for the football team with our logo (or something resembling it);  he went back on Friday the 1st February.  This meant I was on my own in this new flat in Besishahar and a new location.  My first night felt odd and I did not sleep that well, but being warm and comfortable in bed made all the difference.

The flat is wonderful and has pretty good amenities for Nepal.  But sometimes the water is not there, but I have learnt enough Nepali words to get the water drawn again and the tank filled. So things are pretty good apart from hardly having any Internet connection.  Last year when I was here Broadlink were pretty good, but they appear to have gone downhill, connection is very intermittent and hardly there at all.  The excitement when I connect is amazing.  As I am cut off from all my family and friends here, it is just so good to get a few messages over facebook, send the odd email and speak to Richard on Skype rather than just the phone.  Although when I very first came to Nepal I relied on Cyber cafes and the phone.  That was in Pokhara which is more of a tourist area. Besishahar is more basic and the Cybers here are slower than you can imagine – I mean technically.

I have learned to cook Nepali food and finding more and more out about spices, how to use a rice cooker, and how to cook dahl in a pressure cooker.  I am getting good at dahl bhat. Perhaps when I get home I will have a dahl bhat party!

Binod is on his way back with the rest of the stuff today Tuesday 5th February, and we had to do this in two loads to transport it.  I have been on my own now for 4 days; thank goodness for Ncell; at least I have been able to call home. Lack of people has been difficult, yesterday I saw an American volunteer from the school, I could not stop speaking to her in English.  It was such a relief to have a proper conversation with someone.  I now know why the volunteers come out in groups and least they have each other!

I am looking forward to visiting the school and presenting them with all the equipment.   I am also looking forward to visiting our supported children again.  Oh, I wish this rain would stop; there is no way we could contemplate going up to the mountains in this weather.  I am sitting outside because I may get a connection to the net at any time, I cannot get one at all inside the flat.  Perhaps today I will get connected for just a while.  I do my blogs in Word and as soon as I get a connection I email them to my partner Richard to get them onto WordPress, with pictures.  No chance of doing any of that from here.

Our flat is going to be available for volunteers. We can arrange placements for you for teaching, medical, building work, practically anything.  You can stay at our flat, we will arrange everything for you.  There will be a cost which will be according to your requirement, so if you want to do something different then get in touch and we will tailor a package for you.

Well it is getting really cold out her now so I will stop and have a cup of tea inside.  Does not look like I will get a connection to speak on Skype to Richard today as the time is getting on. It is 5.42 in England just after 11.30 here.  So it looks like a phone call again.  Tea and biscuits anyone?

Binod arrived back on 5th February this evening and the weather still  dreadful.  The car was unpacked with all the packages for the schools.  I cooked for us all and was told that my cooking was more like South Indian and very nice.  We had a good time but it was very cold. Brim and Binod went out to get a gas fire; that proved a complete disaster as it stopped working after a warm up of the kitchen.

The weather is getting worse. The mist is lying thick around the mountains and there is no sign of it clearing.  We have been telephoned by Suman’s father. We support the family and Suman in school here in Besishahar.  It seems his wife is very ill.  We can get some hospital treatment for her down here but it is too dangerous for them to come down at the moment as the weather is closing in again. Time is moving on and we are hoping for a clear day tomorrow to start another trip to a school in Simpani and visit the twins in Khudi and sort out the payment of their fees.  The gas fire went back and we exchanged it for a TV and an electric fire. Nepal are supplied with a lot of Chinese good that are inferior, they are made especially for the Nepali market.  Goods from China supplied to Europe are very different even if they carry the same name make.

I also had some visitors today, local women who were intrigued by a British woman living in their community.  We gave them coffee and biscuits and entertained them.  They were all living on their own here as their husbands were all in Dubai working.  Their husbands come home for 3 months of the year. This arrangement is very common here in Nepal; it works for them as they can earn money and their kids can get educated.

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We now have cable TV of sorts.  It was quite amusing for me.  I just thought that the TV would arrive and be plugged into an aerial socket on the wall! Silly woman!  A young man turned up at the door with a large roll of black cable.  I had taught this boy the year before at Bhu Po School.  There was another boy with him that was across the field; they were draping the cable across to the connection, it was all quite basic.  There was one boy either end of the cable, and one climbed like a little monkey to secure the wire.  Eventually a wire came in through our window (so the window had to be slightly open) very normal here looking at the other cables around.  Basic stuff works.  We have cable TV and I am able to watch TV when I am here in the evenings on my own.  The cable gives us 60 stations for 200 R’s a month about £1.50!

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On the 6th February we decided that the weather had improved enough to do a trip.  We got the items for Bahundanda school, Khudi School, and Simpani collected by truck that morning.  The truck would drop us off at Simpani School. They had a special day planned and wanted us particularly to be there to present their sports equipment and science equipment.

Well dropping us off was not quite like it sounds!  The trip up the hills was quite winding and many times you are on the edge of the mountain while the truck turns.   At one time I was so far on the side having the front window seat (3 sit in the front one with legs open for the gear stick – Binod has this position) I could practically touch the ground with my hand. A bit scary but it is part of the job I do!  Well if this work was easy there would be no need for it.

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