We settled into our homestay in Pokhara for two weeks as we went to Language School. Milan and her family were wonderful hosts, willing giving their time to converse with us, and graciously and gently correcting our grammar and pronunciation. Mohan, our teacher, was also extremely patient and made our lessons interesting and fun. While in Pokhara we really appreciated the opportunity to meet many of the other INF team, both new and long term, and to share in meals, shopping and Bible studies together, as well as a visit to INF’s Green Pastures Hospital to have a tour of the INF Income Generation Projects. We also enjoyed a day visit to Sarangkot, a hilltop village on the outskirts of Pokhara, and then walked down to Lakeside – and down, and down! It’s been sad to see the cafés and restaurants all empty and everyone asking, “where are the tourists?” So many in Pokhara rely on tourism and are doing it really tough at the moment.
Our two weeks in Pokhara extended to three as we weren’t able to travel due to continuing riots on the Terai (the southern stretch of Nepal along the Indian border). The roads finally opened and we were able to catch a night bus to Nepalgunj. We had been warned to expect a very uncomfortable journey, so our expectations were low, but apart from a 3.5 hour delay at one town and a few short delays in other places, the journey was uneventful. We arrived rather tired after 18 hours on the bus and were glad of a quiet first day.
The night bus from Pokhara to Nepalgunj
Sue has spent the week updating and writing training resources which will be used over the coming weeks to train Community Health Workers in using Word, PowerPoint, Excel and INF IT processes. Getting to work and home each day has been a challenge – a 5km bike ride each way, dealing with the traffic hazards of buffalo, chickens, dogs, donkeys, goats, puddles, potholes, rickshaws and tractors – to name just a few! One of the confronting sights is the lack of care for animals – we’re continually seeing painfully thin, sick and injured buffalo, horses, cows and donkeys. Strangely the goats seem to be very well cared for, with most being very clean and often hand fed.
Adventures of the purple bike - on the road to work.
Everyone at INF has been very welcoming and the office routine of morning and afternoon chiya is very welcome.
Today we (Sue & Phil) rated our local lunch café as 2 star – based on tasty food and friendly service – and I got a lovely photo as well.
As Rob and I travel over the next few weeks we’ll do some comparisons.
Phone services and internet may be a bit patchy over the next few weeks, so the next web update may be a while away. In the meantime follow us on Facebook if you want more regular updates.