The experience in Nepal has not always been always good. When walking in the streets we hear people calling us Kale/Kali all the time. नेपालमा सबै अनुभव राम्रा छैनन् । बाटोमा हिँड्दा सधैंजस्तो मानिसहरूले हामीलाई ‘कालो, काली’ भनेर चिच्याएको सुन्छौं ।
By Yvonne Otieno [विदेशी आँखा- bideshi ankha- Foreigner’s Eye]
“Namaste! Welcome to Nepal.” These were the first words I heard from my host upon arrival.
They have stayed with me every day. Every time I leave the house or when I start comparing Nepal to Kenya, I remind myself that I’m in Nepal and Nepal will never be Kenya or vice versa. We are both be developing countries facing different challenges. A country is more than the technology. A country is about people, people and their cultures, people and the struggles, people and their victories, their values and principle.
On my first day, I had dinner with my host organizations father. He is a professor and a prolific writer and artist. He had been told that my father is also an artist and he was interested in learning about Kenyan Art. His story is quite fascinating. He used to be a university lecturer but he resigned. He is well read about ancient history, philosophy and just about any subject you can think of. However, he hasn’t left his compound for the last 20 years in protest to the multiparty system in Nepal. When I ask him why he doesn’t support this system? His says -You can’t have too many people preparing one cup of tea. He spends most of his day reading in his garden. But he is always willing to share some nuggets of wisdom. Continue reading Foreigner’s Eye: An African Experience in Nepal→
Dan and Nirjala: “Sriman ani Srimati – Hamro maya is Happy!”
By Dan (Bahadur) Wright [विदेशी आँखा- bideshi ankha- Foreigner’s Eye]
I’m a recently married man…twice, all in the space of just 7 months and to the same girl!
I first came to Nepal in 1997 at the age of 18 as a volunteer English teacher for a little school in Koteshwor. I arranged the position through a friend of a friend and eventually received a letter, several months old by the time it reached me in January 1997 saying, “We will meet you at the airport in September and you will need a yellow suit and some teaching materials”, so duly warned I arrived in the brightest yellow suit I could find at Tribhuvan airport carrying a bag of posters and childrens books and cassettes of fun songs! I was met by about 50 children in school Uniform at the airport all with flower mallas and Tikka and I think my reception there was better than the Foreign Diplomats arriving on the same plane! Continue reading Foreigner’s Eye: I Married a Nepali Mountain Biker!→
By Neil Horning [विदेशी आँखा- bideshi ankha- Foreigner’s Eye]
A few days ago a some friends and I were on a bike ride in Bardiya. As we waited alone on the river bank for the ferry to take us across, over 20 other riders arrived, and it was clear that we all couldn’t fit on at once. So, as the raft approached, ready with a plank for us to role our bikes up, what happened? Did a line form? Did the new arrivals recognize it might be better for everyone if a few people waited for the next crossing? Of course not! We all had to race 10 meters into the water, until we were up to our knees, then fight each other while lifting our bikes over the side. After a lot of jostling and a few stubbed toes, it became clear that this loading process would take longer than two trips across would have. So, we had plenty of time, and nothing to do but stand sweating in the Terrai heat and talk about why this happened. Continue reading Foreigner’s Eye: Viewing the East Through Western Lens→
Nepal is a country with its heart splayed-open. The massive deforestation, human and sex trafficking horrors, glue-sniffing street children and poverty are all hard to ignore. And with each problem or issue, there are hundreds of well-intentioned NGOs. Each with a mission to tabulate data, document, and or help decrease, resolve or eradicate ‘a problem’. But while many are engrossed with these various projects, others are hiking, climbing, rafting, gliding, flying or just shopping in the streets of Thamel, Jamel or New Road. But behind some of the highest peaks in the world, Nepal has without question, some of the most down to earth people in the world. In fact, for what Nepal fundamentally lacks in, such as a consistent supply of electricity and clean-water, it tries to make up for in hosting and hospitality.
My very first encounter with Nepal began when I went to Salem College in North Carolina. A group of about twenty young, bright Nepalese scholarship students took the college by storm, along with all the top academic excellence awards. They were smart, hard working, ambitious and before long, introduced Momos and Daal Bhaat into the school’s menus. More importantly, each wanted to return to Nepal, to do their humanitarian bit for the country. Over the years, as I came to know more about Nepal through the lives of my fellow classmates, it became evident that the Nepalese also have a great affinity to help and to heal.
A model and pride to the nation for displaying such charitable works and my sole reason for coming to Nepal in February 2010 is Ms. Anuradha Koirala-a formidable woman who has tirelessly helped, housed and offered hope to hundreds of needy children, women and families. My admiration and interest in her and in her good cause, led me to embark on the writing of Mrs. Koirala’s biography. As such, I returned to Kathmandu in December of the same year and found myself in the predicament that many and perhaps most visitors and researchers encounter when they visit Nepal. That is, how does one extend their visa?
How my three weeks in Nepal evolved to four months is of interest to everyone in my life-including my beloved dog that waited for me to return to London before taking her last breath. By the third time I had extended my stay, I had organized Thongba Mondays with my Nepalese mates, Jazz Upstairs on Wednesdays with the expatriates and weekends away via motorbike at Nagarkot, Pharphing, Daman, Kakani, Shivapuri or wherever else my new friends wanted to take me. In fact, at least two Nepalese families had ‘adopted’ me, and one family was ready to have me move into their guest bedroom for an indefinite time. Then there were meals with the parents of friends and their friends and a steady stream of kind and sincere offers for anything I needed, anytime. And there was nothing that was impossible or ‘out-of-the-question’ for a friend, or a friend of a friend to assist me with. Through pure Nepalese hospitality and the sheer desire to help, I was able to interview every single person on my list from former Prime Ministers to the heads of police to various persons in prison. Making my entire trip to Nepal personally and professionally, fulfilling.
In place of the darkness that blankets the streets of Nepal, there is a loving kindness that glows and shines brightly from within many Nepalese. And where there is no heat in the heart of winter, there is enough warmth and open heartedness to go around. Which is why I so easily stayed on for seconds and thirds.
[विदेशी आँखा- bideshi ankha- Foreigner’s Eye] is a column in Kantipur newspaper, Nepal’s top daily in which foreigners who have lived or visited Nepal or are living in the country write about their experience with Nepali society. A translated version of this article appeared in today’s issue of Kantipur (see the pic below).]