Tuesday, 2 May 2017

#20 The Dutch invasion

Staying in one place for a significant period of time has been a valuable experience and very different to anything I've done before.

When I first arrived back in Kirtipur Ganga didi was hosting three other volunteers from Sanju's organisation. Another Dutch volunteer from Quest also joined us so at one stage there were four volunteers in the house. Life became so busy and communal that time passed very quickly and i really enjoyed having the other girls to talk to.

Three of them were Dutch and one was from Belgium which meant she could also speak Dutch but they were very thoughtful and mostly spoke in English for my benefit.

I felt a bit silly only being able to speak one language when everyone else jn the house could speak or understand at least three. Just another reason I think Maori should be compulsory in schools (just casually sneaking in personal political opinions...#soznotsoz ).

On my first day back in Kirtipur the Dutch girls cooked Apple pancakes for dinner. I was wracking my brains to think of something I could cook for Ganga didi and Dilip dai that was typically New Zealand cuisine but I couldn't think of anything possible on a gas cooker with the available ingredients. There's fish and chips but I'm always a little put off by the fish here. I've seen the rivers and they aren't pretty...

Two weeks passed and I celebrated Nepali mothers day at Quest with our Quest host Salve and her family. They have a public holiday for mothers day and it's a much bigger deal than in New Zealand. But then that's not surprising. Nepali culture is much more family orientated.

I had a somewhat painful reminder of this when I told Ganga didi about Mum being ill. Leaving Mum behind in New Zealand whilst I go off adventuring is a subject that I'm the first to admit is still a bit sensitive. Sometimes I'm not sure I made the right decision but it's one I made after a great deal of thought and discussion with Mum. Ganga didi commented that I should be looking after my mum and not here in Nepal.

Luckily, although it hurt at the time, I realised in time it was a perfect example of one major difference between western culture and Nepali culture and I shouldn't take it personally. It's important to remember neither culture is right or wrong.

Western parents give love without expecting anything in return whilst Nepali parents expect their children to care for them in their old age. There is no such thing as rest homes, pensions or sickness benefits, so this system is neccesary. It works and makes sense.

Although leaving the caring of the sick and elderly up to strangers in western culture can seem cold and heartless it's simply another way of organising society and it all balances out in the end. In my old age I'll be looked after by strangers too. It certainly does not mean I love my mother any less than a Nepali daughter and I'm very grateful Mum is so understanding.

And so, sometimes surrounded by more Dutch people than Nepali people, I continued on with my new life in Nepal.

Dal bhat, school, lunch, brownies, chit chat, dal bhat, sleep and repeat.

Full house in Kirtipur 

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