Week 4 – Language and Cultural orientation in Nepal

So, before you get to know anything from the exiting journey we’re now just started, you got to learn one word; rangichangi. It means colorful in Nepali, and it’s a good description of the country. Lady’s walking in their pretty saris, bikers in their rain ponchos in many different colors, the houses are painted in light blue, yellow, pink, green, actually all colors of the rainbow, prayer flags waving in the wind and trucks decorated with painting all over. You get the picture! We’ve seen that Nepal is a very colorful country. Also in the sense of culture. There are temples all over the city decorated with beautiful statues of either Hindu gods or Buddhas. Here in Nepal, there isn’t a distinct separation between the two religions, they go hand in hand. There are about 130 official languages in Nepal and several different ethnical groups.

Now that you might have gotten an impression of Nepal, we can start telling you about our journey. It started with lots of rain. It rained cats and dogs during the hole bus ride from Kathmandu airport and to Dhulikhel, where we stayed for four days. Streets where soaked with water, so we were introduced for the monsoon (rain period) pretty quickly.

The stay in Dhulikhel was a great time. The days were filled with Nepali language classes, cultural crash courses, celebration of Noras birthday, some sightseeing, a trip to see the maintenance office of the local hospital and a hiking trip to a huge golden buddha statue up in the hills. We learned a lot about does and don’ts, like that it’s normal to eat dinner with your hands, but it’s very important to only use your right hand. The left hand is used for other tings… To point the sole of your foot at someone else, is considered very rude, so we should never jump over a person or a book and not sit with your legs raised. To eat something without sharing with the people sitting around you is also considered rude. The culture is very welcoming and privacy is not really a concept here. Even just the few days we’ve been here, we’ve met so many friendly people, greeting us with “namaste”, and lots of people starting and smiling curiously why we “white people” are here.

lecture
Nepali language class
buddhaStatue
Buddha statue
nora
Celebrating Nora’s birthday with cake!

After Dhulikhel, we drove back to Kathmandu and were placed five to six people in different host families. Here we got served, like in all Nepali homes, the traditional dish Dal bhat (rice and lenses) for every meal, so we better leave our Norwegian-must-have-bread-every-day mindset, and get used to rice pretty quickly!

dal-bhat
Nora and Ingvild’s hostdad in Kathmandu with his Dal-bhat T-shirt

However, we’ve been fortunate to have local guides with us and seen a lot of temples, stupas and old architectures. Some of the old buildings are still impacted by the huge earthquake in April 2015, and has not yet been restored, but they’re working on it, and most of the buildings look really pretty today.

tempel
Posing in front of a hindu tempel in Baktapur
36747118_10217308446052788_6885528016592568320_n
The whole EWH group posing in front of the stupa

There’s one thing that’s a sad scenery for any person who is somewhat concerned about the environment. Every day the highways gets filled with cars, heavy transports like trucks and busses and lots of motorcycles letting out huge amounts of black exhaust. Some places in the city there’s gray dust clouds, and you can’t see the beautiful mountains surrounding Katmandu, like they did only twenty years ago. The city is heavily polluted, but people still has to travel to work every day, and the country’s economy is established on foreign support, so it’s hard finding money for development in any part of the community. Some solve it by using mouth masks, others are coughing the whole day. Thinking of how clean cities we have in Norway, we feel so fortunate.

kathmandu

Tomorrow morning, before sunset, we’re all off to the different hospitals. We’re curious, a bit nervous, but mostly extremely excited of everything that’s a head of us. You’ll hear from us soon, but for now; Namaste!

IMG_0559

 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s