Saturday, November 29, 2008


Nov 3, 2008

Oh, my God! I’m the only one here who speaks English (at least during a significant percentage of the time…like 99% of the time!)

I caught a minivan from Kathmandu to Bhairawa. It was supposed to leave at 7:30 am but left at 8:30 (not bad by Nepalese standards). We bumped and honked and nearly crashed head on into large trucks for the next 8 hours of silence within the bus (at least where I was concerned). No English AT ALL. Which was Ok by me because I read 1/3 of a book and still admired the astounding landscape of Nepal – some of the most beautiful terraced hills that I’ve ever seen… absolutely poetic, a river of a light green color that’s difficult to describe… must have very white sand beneath the green water… can’t think of where I’ve seen this color… and the riverbeds are clogged with huge boulders and gravel companies (Joanie, you would’ve loved these!). The gravel “companies” set up their crushers in the riverbeds and women in saris stand in line with baskets to collect the gravel that’s spewed forth… lines of women in red floated from the riverbed lugging god only knows how many pounds of rocks on their backs. Get a grip, guys, you really need to pitch in here!

Anyhow, I figured 8 hours of bumping thru beauty in silence was great… then I arrived at my new home for 3 months. Oh, boy! I’m probably gonna use less words here in three months than I usually use in three days…. Or maybe minutes. And I think I’m gonna love it. The town is just the right size… I can bicycle in and buy groceries and stuff and go to the Internet and the local chai shops with little effort… The house I’m staying in is lovely…. Two side-by-side houses filled with deaf girls who are adorable (no English, tho, except for one). Down the road is the Refuge for children saved from jails and abuse. Stopped in today and held many hands and shared giggles and hugs… they are certainly going to be fun! The deaf boys’ house is down the road as is the Administrative office (with Internet and promised art supplies).

After taking the tour of the surrounding town and kids, I unpacked using my headlight (power outages are common between 6 and 9 pm… THAT’S an inopportune time for my life!!) and worked on my computer by battery. At 8 I decided dinner should be served so I gathered 6 or 8 giggling deaf girls and went to the kitchen. Thank you, powers that be, for providing me good cooks for this adventure…. If I can’t talk, at least let me eat (especially since the food at the Kathmandu residency has been horrible recently). We had plates heaped with rice and dahl (good dahl) and veggies (green beans and other good stuff) and cucumbers with lime. Everyone ate on the floor on mats while I was on a chair throne at a table (won’t happen again)… I drew the line at using a fork/spoon while everyone else ate with their right hand only (which I had practiced so expertly on the bus up)… Tomorrow and forever more I’m gonna be eating on the mats with the girls and practicing sign language!

After dinner we shared sign language names and other amenities with the help of the “Nepali Sign Language Dictionary” the girls whipped out and sent home with me. They each spelled out their names and then gave me their “shortcut” name. I spelled out my name and they all agreed – in giggling unison – that my shortcut name is a hand on the head wiggled down thru blonde curls. I did a few vampish renditions of my new name (gotta establish that I’m crazy, you know) to appreciative laughter and then was hit by a BARRAGE of words and phrases that were easy one on one but after a dozen of so my mind went into hibernation mode.

They sent me home with “good night, see you soon” (Good --thumbs up) Night (pretend you’re sleeping on your hand), see you (twirl finger from eye) soon (flat palms banging together)… if that’s all I had to say, it’d be fine, but tomorrow is not going to use “good night” for many, many hours…

I think I’m gonna do a photo shoot tomorrow.. print out all their photos and add their names and pin them on the wall… it’s my only hope!

I do think , though, that I can teach some some English (that can hear)… they can teach me either Nepalese or sign language (depending on whether they can hear)… and local people can have my horrible language skills inflicted on them (whatever! They get to stare at me and say ‘how are you?’ a million times!) Not to worry, I’m just gonna shoot “cust o cha” right back at ‘em! And if they say they are fine, I’m gonna be “tick-ta” with an attitude!

Oh, and it’s HOT here… I’d guess around 90 during the day and cools off to maybe 60 at night.. the heat is nice, the mosquitoes, not so much… we are, after all, living in the middle of rice paddies and word has it that Bhairawa is MOSQUITO PARADISE!!! Thankfully we have fans in our rooms…. Oh! But then there is that little issue about having the POWER to make them spin around!!

Love it…. Why doesn’t everybody want to be here with me???!?!?!?

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