Travels with the Beard – Nepal and Beyond

Our travels, chickens and surviving life

Fun In the Village

on April 4, 2013

That afternoon was great fun!
Kalyani helped us to make sure that everyone there in the room got something, and also took something away for others in their family.
The hair shampoo and soap were probably the most popular, but the socks, hair clips and watches ran them a close second!
This time we’d brought some make-up for the girls, and Kalyani took charge of the distribution, oohing & aahing at the eye shadow and nail varnish colours, and pinching a couple for herself! We all laughed!
The village lady who’d given us Lucky the cockerel on our last visit wasn’t able to join us. She was ill, but she’d sent her eldest daughter and youngest son to say hello to us.
We’d brought a warm pullover for the little boy, working on the assumption that he’d have grown somewhat in the intervening years. But actually he didn’t seem to have grown at all, and was still the adorable small, shy boy he’d been than. The pullover hung down to his knees! Not to worry, he’d eventually grow into it!
He came over to Tod and stood leaning against his leg, smiling shyly. I spotted the tell-tale glint of a bit of a tear in Tod’s eye.
We sent a bag full of goodies to the young lad’s mother, and quite a bit of money too. She was still bringing up 9 children without a husband, and therefore without an income. Her husband had become very ill a few years ago, and had committed suicide.
The room filled up with newly picked rhododendron flowers – nearly everyone brought us a bunch.
I asked Kalyani who the 2 lovely young girls sitting quietly in the corner were,
“You know who they are!!” Kalyani laughed, “They’re the youngsters from the house next to where you lived in 2009!”
“NO!!” Tod and I both said together, amazed. We couldn’t believe it. These were the 2 tomboys who had been a constant presence outside, and often inside, our room 4 years ago!
They had even climbed the tree outside at the back, and thrown peaches in our window!
They had danced & sung for us, & took every opportunity to practice their English.
They were loud, sweet and funny, and made us laugh.
Now here they were all grown up, & so far removed from the tomboys of the past that they positively drooled over the make-up.
The village yak/buffalo milk man came over to shake our hands & give us cups of milk. His granddaughter is Susila, Parbatti’s best friend. We learned that Susila was now at school in a village 30 miles away. Of course she was living there, and hadn’t been able to come & see us.
In 2009 Susila had had a white rash all over her legs & her mother asked us if we could cure it.
We took photos of the rash and I eventually asked my Dr in the UK what it was. It seemed it was a fungal infection, and when we returned to the village in 2011 we took with us a possible cure for it.
Now Susila’s grandfather told us that the rash had completely cleared up, and he thanked us.
We gave Parbatti a bag of goodies for Susila, plus the presents Sue and her girls had sent for her, and Parbatti promised to deliver them in the next few days.
We’d brought a lovely frilly, baby girl t shirt for Laxmi’s (Kalyani’s sister’s) baby, and handed it over with soap and shampoo. Oops!Bit of a bloomer! The baby is a boy!
But Laxmi was thrilled anyway, and stuck the t shirt on her baby right away.
Our friend Carolyn had sent half a dozen beautiful baby outfits & word of their arrival had already gone outto the families of the three tiny new additions to the village. They arrived, and were duly dressed in the new clothes. We have some fantastic photos!
During the afternoon our room filled up with bottles of Raxi, the local home brewed firewater.
Most of the villagers have some in their houses, and this is really the only present they can give us.
We politely took each container, and stood them all in a row.
When we left the village we asked Kalyani’s Mum to give them back, and apologise that we hadn’t had time to drink them!
Grandfather came in with some honey he’d just liberated from his bees. He is such a kind hearted man & knows we love honey.
But, as with the Raxi, we asked Kalyani’s Mum to return it to him with our apologies.
Grandmother tried it on again! I made a point of giving her a goody bag early on in the day, but later she told kalyani we’d forgotten her.
She did exactly the same 2 years ago, so we all played along and gave her more soap and shampoo.
The daylight eventually faded and the room emptied.
We suddenly realised it had been raining all day.
Molly invited us to her house, and we all traipsed over the mountain peak and down the slope to the little house with the fantastic view over the valley.
Molly’s son Buddha Llama thanked us for the dog biscuits we’d brought, and positively forced his elderly dog to munch a couple in front of us.
I felt sorry for the creature, but haven’t forgotten that this is the canine who attacked poor old Woolly Dog on the occasion he’d followed us to school.
I glared at him. He glared back. No love lost there.
Kalyani, Tod and I left the village the next morning.
We walked to Lohrimani, where for the first time ever we could take a bus back to kathmandu.
Parbatti was waiting there to see us off. Bicass, a happy friendly boy from our class, was also waiting there for us. He was wearing the fleece pullover we’d brought for him, and wanted to thank us.
An assortment of villagers, children and Kalyani’s aunts & uncles milled around, waving to us.
Molly appeared and hugged us. She touched my face and asked Kalyani to thank us both for coming back to the village, for remembering them.
We got on the bus, all of us close to tears.
Parbatti stood at the bus window looking miserable. Every so often she looked up & waved to us. We waved back.
As the bus began to move off we heard her shout,
“Fiona! Tod!”
and craned round in our seats to wave again, to wave goodbye to her. She was crying.
An hour later we stopped in Maina Pokhari for 5 minutes to pick up more travellers.
I jumped as someone banged on the window next to me. It was Susila!
She had rushed out of class to meet the bus & say hello and thank you to us.
She had become a lovely young lady, and we were thrilled to see her again, albeit for a minute only.
She stood waving after the bus as it pulled away, in much the same way as her best friend Parbatti had done.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those of you – too many to name – who contributed in any way to the goodies which we took to the village, and who also gave us money for the villagers and children.
Believe me, your generosity was much appreciated.

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