Life in Rural Nepal

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There have been no gas cylinders for a number of days, the road systems in the major cities in the area, Michaiya, Janakpur, etc are  poor (especially the road in Janakpur to the airport), electricity and internet are far from dependable, there is garbage everywhere and people just don't seem to care, constantly dropping their wrappings, paper, etc wherever they happen to be. There are a lack of proper toilets and open defecation is common.  There are huge bugs crawling across my kitchen floor and rats and frogs are my constant companions. 

 Due to my poor language skills many things get "lost in translation".  At times I'm glad that I don't understand as I don't really want to know the "gossip", at other times it would be great to be able to directly communicate.  Constantly living in a bubble where I'm told some people are just waiting for me to make a mistake so that I can be fired.  Hiring new people, they come in late on their first day without calling ahead, others having no regard just quiting a few hours before a scheduled shift.  Asking people during an interview what the words "proactive" and "accountability" mean and having them lower their heads and not respond.  (Yes I know, too much of my western upbringing). 

The above represents just a few of the challenges that I've encountered in my four plus months of livng in Karjanha, Siraha.  I often find myself vacilitating between "aggggghhhhhh",  "just let it go" to "keep pushing ahead".  I'm not really sure if there is support or if I'm out on a thin limb; a puff of wind comes up blowing me teetering between the ground and the sky as I don't really know what people think.  Stories are constantly being changed.  Who is telling me the full story, who is not?  Is the story true or is it only a lie to protect one's self?  Communication often occurs in round about ways.

It isn't easy being a, "stranger in a strange land" where truth remains buried below the surface.  Smiles belay much deeper thoughts and different ways of thinking and doing.  Even after five years of living overseas what I consider to be basic issues and ideas leave me guessing. 

However, this all still remains my choice; this state of befuddlement. This cussing to myself and sometimes, too much outloud.  From the moment I landed in India in 2009, mabye even before that in the US, I've become more dazed and confused about what is up and what is down.  Is this what being in one's 50's is all about.  Probably not or maybe so, but I realize that I've taken a very different path then many people I've known throughout my life. 

Whether I knew it or not, after a less than positive job experience in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 2006-07, I purposely turned my life, my comfort zone, upside down.  Or maybe Lancaster was the start of living in a foreign land which I had little understanding of.  Could it have been the Amish and their fresh peanut butter sandwiches which turned me into this?  Or did this have to do with meeting and asking then President George W. Bush a few questions at a chamber gathering? Was this more of an evolution, an idea germinanting inside of me from a past life which I no longer can recollect, traveling, living in distant lands where everything seems different.  Was this my destiny?

I shouldn't complain, I live in a nice flat, have a/c in my bedroom when the power is on and a kitchen with a functioning gas cyclinder.  OK, so there are lots of bugs which watch my nightly movies with me and a few geckos.  (One night I thought I saw a cat at a high bedroom window inside my flat, but mabye I was hallucinating). 

Overall I do enjoy living overseas, but certainly, at times, this can be very trying.  I do enjoy spending time with a diversity of people, but don't enjoy people staring at me as if I don't have a head.  I know I look unusual but staring does become somewhat tiring.

I'm lost in translation an awful lot but that is my own fault, my unwillingness or maybe my sheer exhaustion when attempting to learn a new language. I've told myself many times that I will learn but in the end this becomes only a smattering of words with children trying to teach me, especially when I give the right answer of "cha".  But what do I know?

I enjoy creating with my colleagues, turning a dull painted pediatric ward into a work of art, a place for new mothers and their  babies to come "home" to.  I loved turning a store room into a resource centre for children, especially given that so many participated and are now leading  this effort.  I'm having fun changing a "canteen" into a  real restaurant, probably the first of its kind in this area. Bringing a new world to children through showing a bi-weekly movie preceeded by a health awareness lesson has been nothing short of amazing.

I really have nothing to commplain about, I don't need much and I live not that differently than I would if I was in the US.  The gecko on the wall looks like it belongs there with my NBA basketball cutouts and pictures of Pike Place Market in Seattle.  Maybe there is one complaint; I don't understand why the rat in my house did not eat the plate of rice which I left for him.  Might it have known that it was covered with poison?  Or was it the fact that I didn't leave it a spoon and a fork? 


Position: Lover of Life-Change Agent

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