One week into my life in Nepal and it’s already so different from anything I’ve previously known that I feel I’m almost in some sort of a parallel universe. It’s not necessarily different in a bad way, but it’s just new and well, different. Sometimes I laugh just thinking about how things have changed and what everyone would think if they could just see me now because I know that most of you could never, in a hundred years, imagine me doing some of the things I’m doing now.
I am living in a house in the mountains of Kathmandu Valley, just about 4 kilometers outside of Kathmandu. My Nepalese family consists of two parents, three brothers (Keshab, Manoj and Mahesh), a sister (Rupa) and another volunteer Sylvia, from France. Each evening I help Rupa cook dinner for everyone in the family. We are strictly vegetarian in the house and to be quite honest, I’ve quite lost the taste for meat so I’ve been pretty vegetarian since India.
We have two cows that supply us with our daily milk. I hope to get to milk one soon, though the family has told me that the cows only allow the parents near them. Everyone else they try to kick. I’ve never milked a cow before and I think it will be quite fun, even if it’s just for the novelty of it, both of trying to milk a cow and of possibly getting kicked by one in the process.
I have a sparse bedroom to myself (along with the occasional visiting spider and lizard) with a bed, desk and window looking out over the hillside. Sometimes there is electricity, most times not. The squat toilet is in a shed outside of the house and I shower with cold mountain water and a bucket over the toilet. Speaking of the toilet, I’m trying very hard (okay, maybe not TOO hard) to convince myself to “go native” in terms of NOT using toilet paper (yes, even after two-sies) and just use my hand and water bucket to wash up afterwards. I haven’t managed it yet and it’s not looking like I will any time soon. UPDATE: I literally, JUST went native. Didn’t have a choice. It wasn’t all that unpleasant but I’m not sure if I will continue with the practice. Sorry if this is TMI but I’m just trying to keep it real. =)
Outhouses, cold showers and using my hand to wipe myself after using the squat toilet. This is certainly a long way from jet-powered hot showers and cruises on the boat in the Mediterranean but there’s something to be said about the simplicity in the life I’m living now. And nothing beats the gorgeous night sky I get to see each night. Sometimes when I’m looking up at all the stars I’d forgotten existed, I think this life is worth it. Until it’s time for my morning shower, then all I can think of is how nice even lukewarm water would be just then.
© Connie Hum 2010