I had one of those Rupert Brooke moments at the beginning of the week…except with toast replacing the honey…..
“…oh! …yet stands the Church clock at ten to three?
And is there honey still for tea?”
from “The Old Vicarage, Grantchester”
Despite the acquisition of a gas bottle and cooker a week or so ago, my delight at being able to at last cook for myself was tempered by the fact that I hadn’t eaten any toast since I got to Nepal back at the end of March! Salvation was at hand though when I finally found somewhere in Banepa that sold electric toasters. I think this may well have been my luxury item, weighing in at around 3 days worth of my allowance, but worth every rupee…
I’ve also been on a quest to find the perfect mango…a difficult task given that they are in plentiful supply here at the moment, with phalanxes of vendors keen to offer you their best price. The difference is that unlike back in the UK I haven’t been disappointed with any of the mangoes (or for that matter any of the fruit) bought here. They may not reach EEC standards in terms of size, shape or uniformity, but they sure as hell can’t be beaten in terms of flavour. (Messr’s Sainsbury, Tesco & Morrison please take note…)
Enough home thoughts from abroad though…a trip out to the farthest reaches of the district with Sakriya Plus Nepal’s outreach team proved to be a little more eventful than I’d planned for. The journey out was the typical two bus rides to Khopasi, followed by around about an hour’s walk to our destination to meet up with a woman had recently been diagnosed as HIV+. Once again it is a salutary reminder of the very limited infrastructure that exists in Nepal, but you all know the story by now…
The return journey proved to be a little more interesting. The bus in which we were traveling left the road and ended up with its two nearside wheels firmly embedded in a rice field. A combination of speed, narrow roads and less than ideal driving conditions proving to be our undoing. Thankfully nothing too serious, but a timely reminder of the fact that that the monsoon season presents a much higher risk for road traffic accidents here in Nepal….
Heavy rain also makes getting around pretty difficult at times, with virtually everywhere covered in thick mud. Particularly when you have a three and a half hour walk through the hills ahead of you to Devitar, one of the Village Development Committees in the Kavre district. A planned community awareness programme by staff from Navadeep Jyoti Kendra still needs to go ahead, and as its still raining heavily at 9.00 in the morning, a jeep is procured from somewhere and nine (!!) of us, (including a driver who at least has a seat to himself) squeeze into a space which is clearly not designed to hold quite as many people…it’s an additional expense for the project, but it does mean that everyone arrives at their destination dry, and the programme can go ahead without the added distraction of being soaked through to the skin.
Thankfully the rains have abated by the middle of the afternoon, and the area is bathed in glorious sunshine…which is just as well given that there is no ‘luxury’ transport to take us back down. Something of an adventure for me maybe, but less fun if you need to have your CD4 count monitored at the nearest clinic which is in Kathmandu…another hour and a half away by bus….