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Nepal

Some of my findings here in Nepal, specifically Kathmandu:

The rain and clouds rule what happens. The roads are washed away most days and even when we tried to paraglide, the weather ruled the roost.

Any products from fruit and meat to containers and clothes is displayed at the front of the so called shops. In reality this means tiny little openings closely packed together right on the dusty, mud filled roads. I’ve often seen shopkeepers using a straw bundle as a brush to sweep the shop front. One day I saw a man deliberately splash water outside his shop to prevent the dust getting any worse coming into the shop. As mentioned, the meat and fish are displayed on a counter top next to the road covered in flies and dust with no preservation and with Nepal being a landlocked country, I wonder how far the fish has travelled in those conditions.

Wires hang in messy, random ways. Sometimes the wires are live and it is very easy to walk into one hanging loose even when it’s raining! No health and safety here. Even the plug sockets in the house we stayed were next to the water cooler on the floor with all the excess water dripping down.

Electricity usually goes off for a short time around 4 times a day although apparently, a genius found a way to keep it on for longer as recent as January 2017! It’s more consistently on but only for the city. Rural areas still go without it often…not great when you’re in a lift at a hotel.
Bricks around the city are all marked with a symbol largely to mark territory I think and bricks are everywhere in the middle of the street post the 2015 earthquakes.

Toilets are a real treat. Making sure you have tissues and hand sanitaser are essential to staying remotely healthy. There are lots of squat toilets but I’ve been surprised how many sit down toilets there actually are albeit still awful.

It is essential to ask restaurants for pasteurized milk and ph balanced water. Bottles with sealed plastic are ok. Avoid tap water at all costs and use bottled water to brush teeth due to a high risk of cholera.

When the locals shake their heads it can mean yes or no. This was particularly useful to know when delivering the training to the teachers when we asked if the had understood. It can be quite off putting when everyone shakes their head at you otherwise. Also, the word ‘fat’ is a real compliment. The fatter you are the better as it means that you have some well for yourself and are very wealthy. I never received this compliment but others did. You have to remember that it’s cultural.

Photo credit for the three above is Christine.

Even though the country is plagued by poverty, everyone has a phone and Facebook that we saw. All the teachers are connected from this project on a team Nepal 2017 Facebook page to collaborate further beyond the summer.

Holding hands is a common theme here between two males or two females who are friends or relatives. Any romantic love between a man and woman is not allowed to be displayed in public but there was lots of romance to be seen between young couples at the Garden of Dreams.

All in all, it’s a very busy city steeped in history, culture and tradition. Would I come again? I doubt it but I’m glad I’ve had the privelidge of being welcomed by the people here and shall say a farewell on Saturday when I return to the hills of my beloved Yorkshire.

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