Tuesday, 12 January 2016

A Day in the Lives of the Nepalese

WRITTEN BY: Sarah Robertshaw

After 16 hours of travel, I'm beginning the descent to Kathmandu, Nepal. I see millions of buildings spreading for miles, so closely packed that it looks like a really bad game of Tetris. You can see the aftermath of the earthquakes. After we touched down, we were picked up on the tarmac by a bus that drove us to the airport – I had never experienced that before. After making my way through the airport I was greeted by a crowd of Nepalese offering to take me wherever I wanted to go, before Antipodeans staff picked me up.

I was overwhelmed by the amount of people everywhere. The population of Nepal is around 28 million – more than all of Australia.

The people there were so astonishing; all I seemed to see were brand name clothes and people spitting ... Just anywhere and everywhere. Everyone drives where they need with little semblance to Australian road rules, but it seems to work for them. Over the following days I got very used to the ways the Nepalese live their lives; or the way I will be living for the next month. I would get up in the morning and get changed, people don't shower often here. It's very cold so they don't sweat much and there is no hot water so they shower every Saturday. I had my first shower yesterday! Craziness, but research has shown that it's better for you if you don't shower everyday anyway.

Then I would eat breakfast, usually consisting of cereal with milk and fruit, toast or rice and I would have my tea. The tea here is so delicious! I would then leave for Stupa hospital, walking a dirt road about 20 minutes to the bus stop, passing by many market stalls including clothes, phones, fruit, vegetables and butchers that slice the meat right in front of you!

I would then catch a bus, which is actually a van that seats 10 people, but they fit about 20 people in there. But because of the fuel blockade happening with India, not as many buses are running. After being crammed in like sardines for 20 minutes, I reach Stupa hospital (which I will explain more about in the next post). After that I return home the same way and prepare for dinner, which consists of many different things, always involving carbs. Today I tried buffalo momo, it tastes similar to mince gyoza, it was the first time I'd eaten meat since arriving.

Kathmandu surprised me because their infrastructure is so poor and there is pollution everywhere, yet there is wifi and smart phones everywhere you look. The electricity lines are all tangled, and we only have a few hours of electricity everyday. The electricity varies between each area so it's hard to tell when you will have power and when you won't.

It's a very nice, kind culture. When I walk alone every child says hello, and many adults greet you with a nod or a “Namaste.” I was given a Nepali name, which is Shova, and told me to find out what it means as the Nepali say “things will not come to you, you must find the things.”

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