A yam between two boulders…

Final post before leaving Kathmandu and off to a language training centre in Budol, which is near Banepa, the location of my placement for the coming two years.

A few days in to being in Kathmandu, I’m beginning to scratch the surface and the order and rhythm of life is beginning to emerge. It’s undoubtedly been written before, and far better than me about the difficulties faced by Kathmandu, and indeed Nepal. Poverty, lack of access to education, a caste system that clearly inhibits opportunity, pollution and the uncertain political situation are certainly major factors that will influence Nepal’s future.

There is a bandh (strike) scheduled for this coming Monday. Essentially, if a bandh is called, the area effectively becomes a no go area, and a virtual shutdown occurs. This is increasingly the method of political protest used by all of the parties, and seems likely to be a more prevalent activity as 28 May, (the date that the constitution should be written) looms ever closer. This bandh, which is against the Nepal Government outsourcing the manufacture of passports to India will be in Kathmandu after we have departed, but its fair to assume that more will follow throughout the country.

Woman At Durbar Square, Kathmandu.

Woman at Durbar Square, Kathmandu. John Callaway (March 2010)

The first week of language training has been immensely rewarding, if a little intense! The teaching method is in small classes of 3 or 4 people. Words and grammar are introduced by the tutor and repetition is the order of the day. Basic sentences are slowly being etched into my brain, and buying certain goods from the street vendors becomes a pleasure rather than a trial. A pleasure helped inordinately by people’s tolerance of my stumbling attempts at the language. The fact that you are trying to speak their language almost inevitably means that they will help you, correct your mistakes and respond to requests of yo ke ho? (what is this?), with the answer. And my favourite phrase of the moment….

…jeevan yestaii chha…

… which I have written on my exercise book like any good schoolboy should (!!), and which means “such is life”… A philosophy which will hopefully guide me through the next two years

…and the title of this blog entry? Nepal, a small sliver of land between India and China, is often represented in this relationship as “a  yam between two boulders”. Certainly an apposite desription as the next two years unfold.

5 responses to “A yam between two boulders…

  • Lesley Callaway

    Like the photo. Will you ever put in one in colour?
    Hope to speak to you soon

  • Joanne Ledger

    Hi John, I’ve just read all of your blog entries. It sounds like a fantastic, eye-opening adventure. I hope you’re getting used to the noise and chaotic street life. It is really warm in Nepal at the moment? What type of food are you eating? (sorry, basic questions that need to be addressed!). Good luck with the training in Budol. The pictures that you’ve taken look great.
    Love Jo

  • carol

    I like the sepia! Every picture does indeed tell a story.
    Am enjoying following the blog!

  • Mally

    Hi John
    Have managed to find blog which I can now follow for the next two years. Hurrah! Good luck with your language learning.
    PS Pompey in FA Cup final!

  • Jay Wilson

    Hi John! Great to hear from you and to see you have made the big move! Sounds like you have more than a couple of challenges facing you – but I know you will take them up with gusto! Good time for you to be out of the country…because Alex, Rory and I will be in that part of the world in approx 4 weeks! We have met some people from down the south coast (somewhere – Hampshire??) and they have offered to take us ‘sight seeing’. We are really looking forward to being tourists and seeing a country do different from Australia!! Mind you – we are pretty green here at the moment (which is a nice change to varying shades of brown!) Anyway, take care. All the best. Jay 🙂

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