Its the end of my first week in Kathmandu, Nepal. I’ve been here for a week on an environmental Conservation project, helping to raise awareness for environmental issues! Although this is what it says on paper, truth is, I have been taking on new experiences everyday. Experiencing Kathmandu and nepal in general was something I could have never prepared myself for. Poverty here is a real issue, so many lives are making do with what they have. but I think they are happy. They are happy to relax with their friends and family. They are happy to eat dhal baat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The boys play cricket while the girls lock hands in friendship down the street.
But life here is very warm and usually the monsoon season supposedly meant rain all day, however, it has barely made a drop. Our theory or possibly sad truth is that climate change and global warming has preferenced to dry this land to the bone. But we can’t blame it all on that. The cars here are very old. Car exhausts smoke up the streets and the locals can’t cook anything without using natural fires. Landfills are burnt to create more space. Plastics are so despencible yet their are no recycling systems in place. The government do not really care. I can’t tell them what to do or think, I’m merely a visitor. But they have made me feel like so much more. I look Nepali, they speak to me as if I am their sister. They make me feel at home and comfortable.
One day I was invited to go to a ropain rice festivals up in the mountains as a VCD member in order to see how the locals celebrate this monsoon season with pride and happiness. They play in the mud, have lunch and then plant rice in rows of greenery. I think that was my favourite part. Planting rice. Their was something so natural about it. The locals will invite you with open arms and your experience becomes friendly and playful. At the back of my head, I couldn’t help but think thank god for monsoon season. Otherwise their crops and rice planting would be for nothing and that’s sad because rice is such a staple food here.
Getting to the rice planting festival is a whole different story in itself. What was meant to be a one and a half hour journey ended up taking six hours. But it had to be my best six hours of the trip so far. Our coach got stranded in the mud halfway up a mountain so me and my fellows friends decided to walk until the coach managed to catch up with us. Our ‘brother’ Dhiraj who was taking us knew how to make us laugh and smile as we trek up the mountain. He has a very laid back and fun attitude while also still maintaining face which is what I liked about him most. Walking up for two hours we can hear the millions of animals all hidden within the forest mist, we see a spring waterfall and we realise we have walked so high up that rain start trickling down and as we look across the mountain we see mists of clouds. We felt like we were in the clouds. And that was amazing. But theirs still more. When the coach eventually caught up with us, me and my now friend Maggie were apprehensive about being in a closed space at the end of a mountain so we all decided to keep going. It was only until they started to drive off that a lady told us that it would take us an additional three hours of walking and by that time, well the party would be over. So Dhiraj told us to do what any Nepali would tell us to do. We hitch hiked.