Saturday, March 22, 2014

Celebrating Holi

Saturday 16th saw Mayte and I standing alongside of the ring road standing in the dust and dirt waiting for a taxi which had been organised to take us to Shining Stars Children’s Home which is in the Kathmandu Valley not far from where I did my training.

The trip to the home was a last minute decision as we were going to go into the centre of the city on Sunday and watch the Holi celebrations from the safety of one of the rooftop restaurants but everyone told us that it would not be safe and that the streets would be full of drunken youths.  

We found out later that it was a wonderful day full of people including families dancing and having a great time.

We decided to travel on Saturday afternoon so that we would be off the roads on Sunday.
The taxi eventually came to pick us up, it had been waiting at another place, we had got into the wrong taxi once as Mayte was sure that she recognised the driver from another trip.

The trip to the village was the same as all the others, death defying runs up the wrong side of the road, head ons avoided by 1 second and of course the constant horn honking and never any road rage.

We were just coming into the village when we saw Jessica who is a very young volunteer from New Zealand and she has been here one week and working at the  home.  

She and two of the boys were off to get some chickens to eat the next day.

The taxi driver took the opportunity to let Mayte and myself off and unfortunately we didn’t find out he did because the next section was steep and rough. 

I thought I would die before I got to the front gate of the home.

Well, we opened the gate and we immediately surrounded by a large group of teenagers who wanted to know who we were, where we had come from and how old are you?

What a lovely welcome.  The kids are not really orphans, they have at least one parent but they come from villages a long way away and the majority have been at the home for over 4 years.

The youngest is 12 and the oldest is 20, 9 girls and 19 boys.  Hari is in charge and he is about 35 and married, he is so proud of his ‘children’, Didi cooks and there is also another man.

We were totally surrounded by kids until it was time for Dhal Baart which as you know I utterly despise but for some reason it tastes so much better when you are out of the city, I think they use different spices and I enjoy it very much.  We got our food and then had to sit on the floor and eat with our hand, at least the kids were too busy eating to notice how nice I wasn’t sitting on the floor.

The evening was spent in the common room where we had a great time, you would never believe this but one of the boys asked if I wanted to play a card game with him and he came back with a huge fist full of Woolworth animal cards and we proceeded to play ‘concentration’ with about 60 cards, needless to say it took ages.

Mayte showed them a magic card trick which involved me hiding my face, she layed out 9 cards and then I had to find the card they had chosen while I wasn’t looking.  

The trick was that Mayte would place her finger in the position of the chosen card on the top of the remaining cards which she held in her hand.  

Well after about 8 goes we had everyone standing around us trying to work out how it was done.  By this time I had convinced them that I could feel a vibration from the card and they were all trying to feel the vibrations.  

We stopped playing and about 15 minutes later one of the boys came out with a card trick book and told us he had found out how we had done it.  We couldn’t believe it.

Mayte and I were staying in the home in the sick room which I have since found out rarely happens so we were very lucky as the volunteers stay in host families and don’t spend the evenings with the children as they don’t come out after dhal baart.

There was no running water in the toilets so they were not all that nice but I found a toilet in the office area which I used and fortunately one was a western style which is appreciated especially after a meal of spicy food.

The next morning one of the kids knocked on our door to tell us to hurry up as they wanted to start the Holi celebrations but we had to have morning Dhal Baart first.  

The celebration is about good defeating evil and according to their mythology there was a war between Gods and the bad lady was defeated and the throwing of paint and water is a celebration.

I think it is a huge excuse for everyone to paint each other and the surrounding area every colour of the rainbow.

Mayte had bought some paints with here and Hari had also bought a heap of paints and 2500 water balloons.

The paint was laid out, balloons thrown into the air and then after we had all been Tikka’d which normally involves the placing of red paint on your forehead, today I meant getting your whole face smothered in paint powder.

Of course the moment you add water to the activity it becomes a lot more interesting and of course messy.

The next 30 minutes was pandemonium, kids running everywhere, the dog jumping on anyone who stood still long enough, kids hiding inside the house and of course any adult within firing range.

The paint ran out and by this time instead of water balloons they were using buckets, bottles, basins and watering cans to throw the freezing cold water over each other and of course us.  

The water was cold but at least the sun was coming out every so often.

A few of the older kids and the other volunteers decided that they would go into the village to join in the fun there and I decided that enough was enough and I had very little interest in walking that treacherous piece of road again stay there.  

We took the opportunity to take a shower while some of the kids were absent, the boys had taken over the shower area on the roof so myself and 2 other girls went to the back of the kitchen and proceeded to fill up a huge basin with freezing cold water.

The bathing in the villages is in the open and to save modesty the women wear a sarong style dress that has elastic at the top and sewn down the side, they have two of them.

The first they put on and then manage to struggle out of their clothes, wash their hair and then with their arms inside was the rest of their body, rinsing of with many buckets of cold water, they then slip a dry sarong over their head and take off the wet one.  

All of this is done without getting the mud and dirt back over them.

I had been lent one of the outfits but there was no way I was going to do any more than scrub my arms, neck and face and wash my hair.  

Those kids were shaking with the cold as they pour the cold water over themselves, I have no idea how bad it must be in winter, they do exactly the same thing but they said that they do it faster!!

The others came back about 1 hour later with stories of paint, water and a lot of fun, they too went up for a shower.

Shower finished and now it was time to kill the chickens and pluck them and give them to Didi to cook.  

The older boys took much pleasure in dispatching the chooks and they were plucked in a few minutes.  Must admit I was hanging out for chicken meat, didn’t care if it was just killed.

The afternoon was spent talking and just ‘hanging out’, there had been a program worked out which included ‘pass the parcel’ and dancing and singing but this didn’t happen, the kids where just happy doing nothing.

About 1800 we all gathered in the common room and 3 of the girls danced to traditional music to steps they had made up and they did  a great job. 

After they had finished, a call rang out ’Sister your turn’ and so we had to do something.  I had been doing the Hokey Pokey in class and Mayte loved it so we dragged everyone up and they did it with us, of course when it came to shaking their butt the whole room just broke into hysterical laughter.  

I think everyone loves doing the Hokey Pokey here, from the youngest to the oldest.  I am teaching them a few songs.

The bell went for Dhal Baart and we streamed down to the kitchen and yes on top of my pile of rice was a beautiful stew which contained chicken pieces.  Unfortunately I didn’t eat fast enough to get in the line for ‘seconds’ before the food ran out.

After the evening meal we all trooped back up to the common room where the small TV from Hari’s room had been taken up and it was quickly surrounded by 16 boys and Hari.  

It was great to watch them as it was the first time that Nepal had entered the 20/20 and the Government had promised they would keep the power on for the whole game which was pretty unusual.  

The whole room erupted everytime the Nepalese cricketer hit a run and even more so when a Hong Kong batter was out.  The team lost to Bangladesh the next day and won against Afghanistan the following day.  

A fantastic effort and the whole country was ecstatic.

Unfortunately on Monday we had to leave this little oasis and return to the city the next day and noon found us back into the dust and noise and outside the Basandara classroom ready to start again.  

We had our bags with us as we were going into Thamal after Balaju to stay the night as there was a volunteer’s get together that evening.

Poor Mayte had become quite unwell during the morning and by the end of the lesson she was looking quite green and so decided to leave me to do Balaju and she when into to Thamal to go to bed in the hotel room. 

It has taken her quite a few days to get over it, in fact it was not until Friday that she had her first meal which was in Thamal and it was a sandwich and chips.

I have been here over a month now and loving the warmer weather and sitting in the sun and especially love the ladies I am teaching.

We had a great storm last night, it started off with a hugh dust storm and winds that blew off lids of roof top plastic tanks and bombarded the birds who happened to be flying past with rubbish bags.

The lightning and thunder followed with a bit of rain and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees in a few minutes.

I am starting to make plans to see some of the sights in Nepal, think I will take some time off next month.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Life continues in down town Basandara

It amazes me how everyone accepts that there is never any power.  It seems that the Government sends out a timetable but it never lives up to it.  

The first night I was in my room reading and the lights go out so I go into the kitchen where there is a solar light and wander off to bed a bit later and go use my torch to get ready for bed and about 0200 the whole room is ablaze as the power has come on and every light in the room is on.  

I have now learnt to make sure the lights are off before I go to sleep.

There is a TV in the main bedroom and it is never turned off, so another indicator that the power is on is the TV blaring out at 100 decibels.

I have one power point in the room so I have my mobile, kindle or computer permanently plugged in so that I never miss the power coming on.

My Host family is made up of the wife Gyanu and she is about 25 and very interesting, she has a great command of English and we spend a lot of time together and more than often it is lying on my bed with her daughter there as well.  Gyanu on the phone looking as Facebook and Adshmina reading my Kindle and I am just lying there trying to reading as well. 

Gyanu's husband is away working in Dubai as a chef and has been away for over a year but is coming home on holiday soon.  They speak at least once a day.

The daughter is 7 and spends most of her time moving between floors spending time with the various members of the family.  It is lovely that the Grandmother comes down every evening to say goodnight to her grand daughter.

Gyanu’s husband is the third and youngest brother.

We had a holiday yesterday (Sunday) it was for New Year but I am not sure whose.
I caught a taxi into Thamil Sunday mainly to pick up my jacket I had ordered, I was staying the night and planned to wear the jacket out to dinner but unfortunately the jacket wasn’t finished and I had nothing to wear.  

The lovely shop keeper lent me a jacket for the night and I dropped it off to him this morning on the way back home.  How many shopkeepers would do that in Australia?

Dinner that evening was to welcome 2 new volunteers, one from NZ who is going to work in the orphanage for 3 months and a lass from Spain who will be working with Sue and myself on the Women’s Empowerment program.

Sue and I had planned only to go to Basundhara only and spend the afternoon doing some planning but halfway through the lesson, one of the ladies came into the classroom in her red sari followed by 3 others and said that we were all to go to her house for dancing as her sister-in-law was being married, so the whole class got up and we all walked up the street to spend the next 3 hours dancing, eating together.  

Sue and I have been invited to the second day of the wedding which is a big party tomorrow night in a fancy party house.  I have nothing to wear, the ladies all dress up in sari and heaps of jewellery.  I don’t even have a dress.

I met Sue outside of the reception room and we were made very welcome by all present and they didn’t seem to notice that I was still dressed in the clothes I wore to work.

The Bride and Groom were both from Australia and they had met there and come back here to get married, they return in 3 weeks.

We went into the reception room to meet the newly married couple and then went on the end of the line to try the food.  

It was a buffet and the last two dishes were mutton stew and chicken wings.  I thought I had gone to heaven but on trying to chew the fatty, gristly mutton I decided the poor old thing must have walked from India.

People were constantly coming into the room and it is not uncommon for over 600 guests to be invited to a wedding.  

I can understand how a wedding could put the bride’s family into debt for many years to come.  The music and dancing started about 1900 but I only stayed till about 1930 as I was not sure how I would go climbing those bl…dy stairs in the dark.  It turned out that it wasn’t as bad as I though it was going to be.

Life continued as normal for the rest of the week, we have come to an understanding about the food.  I cook myself an omelette with toast in the mornings and sometimes eat vegetables must most times I make some soup or have a large lunch and eat fruit at night.

Saturday the 8th was International Women’s day and Mayte and I joined the ladies for a rally and a walk around the district.  

It was interesting as it was supposed to start at 0730 and I think I was the only one there on time, the others came later after they had done the washing and cooked Dhal Baart for the family. 

I noticed that a couple of the ladies were wearing the same sari and on asking I found out that it was a uniform and it looked really great.

The organisers eventually arrived about 0800 and then we had to have pictures taken and then organised into two rows and the megaphone had to be checked and a speaker found and then off we went, it was great fun.  

The younger women were really serious and shouting and waving their arms around.

I knew a lot of the women as there were in both my classes and they kept Matye and myself company as we walk through the streets, up steep hills and down even steeper slopes.  We walked for about an hour chanting and disrupting the traffic.  I asked if it was legal to have the rally and they said that 5 years ago it would not have been but now it was OK.

After the walk we went into the Community Hall for tea and food which was a great idea and we each introduced ourselves and they were thrilled that both Mayte and myself did it in Nepalese.

At 1130 the Minister for Education arrived to open the Learning Centre which is where I teach.  It is a shame really but because I was white, I was taken into the room and made to sit next to the Minister.  

I did none of the work to get things organised but was made a special guest and always seem to be put in front of everyone.

We were then to be taken back to the community centre for more tea and foods but by this time it was after 1200 and Mayte and I made our excuses that we were meeting friends in Thamal and left.

I picked up my long awaited jacket which of course now I don’t need it as the weather has turned warmer and I am now wearing short sleeved shirts with a singlet underneath.
Back to work on Sunday, it is quite hard working 6 days a week, you really never get a chance to do nothing.

There is another holiday this Sunday but will tell you more about that later.

Although it is difficult to fill in the 2 hours each day with both classes especially as some of the ladies have a good grasp of the English language while some of the them are learning their own language as well. 

On Thursday I went to yet another school which was further away again and can take as long as 45 minutes in a bus.  

This school is run by a very strong Napalese women and the ladies attend for 5 hours a day and they work towards exams and certificates.  Very different but also great fun, we have introduced training aids and I even took them outside of the classroom to find partners in an alphabet game.

I am going to stay at the Brighter Futures home which is an orphanage run by VSN and we will go today Saturday so that we don’t travel on Sunday which is a holy day and it seems the idea is to get drunk and throw paint at everyone, so you don’t travel on that day.

It is a shame as we were going into the city but so many people advised us not too because the target western women and evidently it isn’t fun.

We will stay there Sunday night as well and then we come home to teach then back into the city to stay the night as we have a meeting in town and the busses stop running before I can come home.

The weather is beautiful.  The sun burns off the mist and pollution by about 9 and them it is superb until about 1800 when the temperature drop but not by that much.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

My Placement Begins.

Friday morning saw me on the back of a motorbike going to pick up my computer and then back to the hotel to take a taxi to my home for the next 4 months.

It was funny watching me get on the bike for the first time as Kahmal who is the lovely Nepalese working in the office; he said stand on the pedal and then put your leg over! 


I told him that I was too heavy and that I would rather reach over from the ground. 

Well, you know what happened, he ended up with the bike on top of him and surrounded by locals who were laughing their heads off.  The bikes here are bigger than in Cambodia and I really have to stretch to get there.  All was good after that.

I now live at Basundhara Heights which is about 20 minutes from the centre of Kathmandu. 

The taxi stopped at the bottom of a staircase that went straight up and I had 25kg bag, 10kg parcel, my huge coat, cabin bag and hand bag.  

Poor, Kahmal ended up carrying most of it and I thought I was going to die.

The house I am living is, is a family house, Father, mother and sister & husband with baby on the top floor, I am living with a wife, 7 year old daughter and a cousin on the 2nd floor (husband is working in Dubai) and the ground floor has yet another family.

I have a room to myself and the toilet (not squat) is outside my window and the shower is there too.  I think everyone shares the shower and yes it is cold although I have been promised that they are getting gas.

A bit more about the family later.

We dropped (literally) my gear and Kahmal walked me to the community centre where I will be teaching.  

Sue and Waiana were already there and I was given a very warm welcome by the ladies.  About 20 were squashed into the room and they are aged from about 40 to 60.  

Not sure how much they know as everything is rote and the 2 paid teachers spend then next 30 minutes repeating everything we had done.

We stayed there until about 1330, we start at 1200 and we called in at a small café and I bought a bowl of noodles and naan bread and it cost less than 30c.

We walked to catch the local bus/micro and went to the second school, which is about 20 minutes away and it is a 15 rupee trip.

Balaju is a much poorer area although the women are no less enthusiastic.  

This is a smaller group and the community room we teach in is much smaller and stinks but you don’t notice it after awhile.  

This class starts about 1445 and goes until about 1630 and we then go back home, by this time the chill has set in and on goes the jacket.

Every Saturday is a holy day and we don’t have to work (it is our only day off) so I caught a taxi into the main centre of Kathmandu, it cost 300 rupee and I went to the hotel I left yesterday and wandered around the town with Waiana, bought some trousers and a bucket so that I didn’t have to unlock the house and go to the toilet in the middle of the night and of course the power goes off at 2000.

I wanted to buy a jacket that I could wear and tried a number of the but soon realised that of course I was too big so am getting a nice thick cotton jacket made for me for 2500 rupee which is roughly $25.

It was a lovely day and Sue joined us in the afternoon and we sat in a coffee lounge for awhile as the weather had turned cold.  

Sue went home to her flat and Waiana and I split a pizza and I tried the local beer which came in a huge bottle and was OK.

I love walking around the main city as it if bustling but no one pushes themselves on you although as I found out the scams are here.

The shops are full of trekking gear, especially boots, jackets etc., they are quite cheap but not great quality. Lot of trekkers get their gear here. 

We left the hotel about 1100 on Sunday and caught a taxi to the school where we had to teach.  

I didn’t go to the other school as the family was celebrating the 6 month ceremony for one of the children.  It is to celebrate the first solid food which off course is rice.

When I got home the whole area was full of ladies dressed in a sari or their national dress and I went upstairs to give a gift to the baby.  

The poor little beggar was dressed up in traditional dress and everyone put a dob of paint on his head and gave him a small spoonful of watered down rice.  

Can you imagine how much rice he had shoved down his throat over a period of 4 hours?  

I stayed around to eat because guess what, there was meat!!  Chicken curry, I had two servings.

It was really quite warm out on the veranda and everyone was still wearing at least 4 layers of clothing and one poor baby who was crying because I think that he was boiling inside of all the clothing and then a huge blanket.

There was dancing until about 2030 and then everyone went home as most Nepalese are in bed by 2100.

Life has now settled into a routine and it hard to believe that I have only been here just over a week.  I am picking up a bit of the language and will do so in the classroom as even though I try to keep it English only, it doesn’t happen.

On the trip back home from Balaju we were on one of the susses and a lady came on with a goat and she tied the goat to the arm of the first chair and then went and sat down.  I was sitting the first chair and before I knew it, there was a goat comfortably sitting on my foot.

On Wednesday Waiana left to go on her travels so it was her last day and as she had been here for 2 months it was sad for her to go and the ladies were all upset and bought her gifts.  They are lovely and very generous.

Another year another adventure

Tonya and I left home at 0300 and drove to the airport only to find everything in the dark and quite deserted.  Oh no!!

It turned out that Malaysian Airlines didn’t open up until 2 hours before the flight and all was good. I had 5kg too much luggage but they didn’t say anything and I didn’t pay excess.  

No it wasn’t my clothes, it was the laminated work sheets and reading books that was the weight.

We left at 0600 and it was the first time I have flown with this airline and the service was quite good but my only complaint was that the seats are really quite small and my bun completely filled it with a bit left over.  It was lucky that the middle seat was empty.

We had a good flight and arrived in Kuala Lumpur on time at 0900 and I had  10 hour layover there.  

The airport is quite large and you have to take a train between terminals.  I wandered around for awhile and then went into the public lounge.  It was about $60 Aust but worth it as I had a shower, free massage and food and drinks.

I flew out to Kathmandu 2100 and settled in to about 7 hour flight and yes all the seats were full and I got to know my neighbour quite well.

We touched down on time and I bought my 3 months visa with no problems at all, I was out of the airport in about 15 minutes.  

The airport was like Dili and Siem Reap, dingy and unwelcoming.  The temperature was 8 degrees and raining.  I picked up a sim card at the airport and changed $20 and went out to face the crowds.  

It was really good, they have volunteers helping the visitors and I was soon in the hotel car and off to the hotel.

The traffic was light and we were soon flying through the tiny roads and the trip was uneventful except for the almost head on at one of the intersections.

The 7 km trip took about 20 minutes but normally during the day it would take 45 min as the traffic doesn’t flow  very well.

The Heritage hotel is in the centre of the tourist area which is called Thamil and it is 6 floors, the staff is lovely but of course no heating and the walls are paper thin.  The water was freezing so no shower for me and it was nice to snuggle down into the warm blankets.
View of city from hotel rooftop restaurant

The next morning was again wet and cold and I rugged up and set off too look around the city. 

I was very close to the old part of town and while I was walking a young man came up and started talking and offered to show me the various temples etc which was nice.   

He was a student and wanted to practice his English, we wandered around and the temples are mainly Hindi and we saw where the Guirka’s lived when they guarded the city. 

It was great and he was a good guide, we went to see his school where he paints the most intricate pictures with a brush with one yak hair.  It takes 10 years for them to become a master.  

Of course I was offered the opportunity to buy some of the paintings which were of course very lovely but also $300 US, I promised to come back (sure).  The young lad started to take me back to the square where I met him and he suggested that I would like to give his family some food.   

OK, so he went to a stall and ordered all this food and the shopkeeper told me it was 53000 rupiah ($53 Aust), well I had 200 rupee in my wallet and no intentions of giving more.  

Guess he wasted his time and I should have known better.  At least I saw the temples with a local guide.

Guirka's barracks - see little soldiers

There is wi-fi at the hotel and I had used my computer the previous evening and all was good, this arvo it just wouldn’t boot up. B…….ger.

The evening Miryan met me at reception and we walked to a local restaurant and I met Sue and Wyaana there.  

Miryam is from Chicago and is a long term volunteer who works for VSN and she has just married a local man.  

Sue is English and is a Biology teacher who can’t find work in England so has spent the last 5 months volunteering and will probably continue travelling for years to come, she is about 45. 

Wyaana is a Kiwi and this is her first trip outside of New Zealand and she is 26 and much to the concern of the locals she is not married and with baby. 

The meal was nice and I had satay chicken which cost $2.50, we didn’t stay late as it was cold and Sue who lives in a flat had to catch a miro bus and then walk in the dark.
Back to hotel and no water because there was no power.

17 February 2014.

Hot shower!!!! Washed hair and soaked up the heat.

I am off to a village which is about 17km from the city but it takes about 1 hour in a taxi and Miryam is taking me to introduce me to the people from BFCH which is one of the orphanages that the VSN looks after, the training is done there.

The trip to the village is the same as any trip in Asia, noisy traffic, bad roads and chaos.
The weather is still cold and wet and I still haven’t seen the mountains because of the constant mist.  

We arrive at the orphanage and for one brief moment the sun comes out and I am surrounded by fantastic mountains. 


View from Orphanage
I meet Jaccu who is the manager of the orphangage plus a number of other titles, he lives nearby to the orphanage.  Harri is the Nepalese teacher.

It seems that the number of volunteers have decreased recently and I am the only one so the training is not as good and Kate who is the co-ordinator has just also married a local as she was out with him.

Lunch time or as they say here Dhal Baart which consists of steamed rice, fried vegetables which normally come from the garden and a dhaal soup which you pour over your rice.  

The meal is eaten from a small table while sitting on the floor and you use your right hand to shovel in the food after you have mixed it in with the dhal.  Good fun.

It seems that you have a cup of sweet tea about 0700 then about 0930 – 1000 you have dhal baart and then about 1400 another cup of tea and then 2000, dhal baart again

In the afternoon Miryam and Jaccu gave me about 30 minutes of cultural matters and then I was taken to Jaccu’s home by one of the boys from the school.

We wandered through rice fields and paddled through a creek and climbed a hill and eventually we got to Jaccu’s home and I met his wife.  

Rahajani and after a cup of tea, I went out with her to cut grass for the cow.  The cow lives in a barn and is kept on a small rope and during the day it is taken outside and allowed to eat straw but still on the rope.  

In fact everything seems to be on a short chain, the dog just goes outside on a chain and then in the evenings chained up outside the door.

Cow shed

I must admit that if I have to eat vegetables, Rahajani spices them up with masala, chili and one other spice. 

It was lovely, I was there 3 nights and the first night they gave me a spoon and I sat on the floor, the second a spoon and a small stall, the third night a spoon and a chair.

I was also spoilt because instead of rice and dhal for breakfast she made me naan, or pancakes or omelette pancake.

The house is quite big, a large number of rooms and upstairs a kitchen and a open area and of course the dreaded squat toilet which at least was inside the house but quite a challenge especially when there was no power which is most of the time. 

The house belonged to Jaccu’s father and he inherited it as he is the only and eldest son with 4 sisters.  

The whole family goes to Jaccu’s house for festival so sometimes there can be as many as 30 people there which explains the rooms that are currently used for storage.

Rahajini cooks either on a 2 ring gas burner or a wood fire baked clay stove, the dhal baart takes ages and if it wasn’t for the pressure cookers she uses for the dhal and rice she would spend the whole day cooking.

Jaccu came home about 2000 and we had dinner and then we were tucked up in bed (not together) by 2100 and Rahajini was up at 0600 cooking for the daughter to eat by 0730 as she catches the bus to College in Kathmandu and comes home at 1930.  

The son then eats about 0800 and goes to school and then Rahajani feeds the cow and cleans everything and then eats with Jaccu if he comes home for morning dhal baart.

Jaccu didn’t come so I had to walk to the orphanage for my Napalese lesson, I was quite confident that I could remember the way but after about 10 minutes I couldn’t remember where to go next and of course the sun had come out and I had about 4 layers of clothing plus a jacket.  

I knew eventually someone would come looking and I tend to stand out in a crowd over here.  Fortunately, Jaccu saw me and it turned out I was on the right track.

I have managed to remember of bit of the lesson from yesterday and then I was given a heap more.  The main one I was pleased to learn was ‘Ali Ali’ which means little, little as I seem to get a bucket full of rice.

It is a lovely atmosphere in the house although it does change when Jaccu comes home as he is rarely there and mum is raising the children.

The women look a lot older that they are, Rahajani looks in her late 50’s and she is in her early 40’s.  

They marry young but surprisingly they only have 2 or 3 children, it seems that the injection to prevent pregnancy is easily available and quite cheap.

So far, the hardest thing for me is the not showering, it seems that it is  a once a week thing and they seem to wear the same clothes every day, although nothing would get too dirty as they never take of their jackets or in the case of the women their shawls.

I am making good use of my baby wipes, the other thing is interesting, I am used to squat toilets but also having a hose to wash your butt, nothing here, I have to work it out!!

I stayed three days with Jaccu and his family and left with an invitation to come back anytime.

On Thursday I got into a taxi for the trip back into town, the cars are small, old and very battered.  

I knew when we were getting to a dangerous part of the trip, as he would pray very loudly about 7 times and then when the next big bend or traffic intersection came up he would do it again. 

It must have worked as we got back to the hotel safely and I caught up with Miryam who took me to a computer repair shop and also the local supermarket.

It turns out that the battery in computers only lasts about 18 months as I remember it happened to my last one, I can still use it but have to turn it on, plugged into power. Just have to find out when the power is on.  The total cost was 3000 rupiah or $25.

 I went to the local bakery and bought my tea and then after dropping my washing off at a 2 hour service to be told that it will be ready 1100 tomorrow, went back to my  hotel room to snuggle down and read my kindle in the dark.