So ends the week long language ‘refresher’ course in Kathmandu. A chance to catch up with other volunteers and to share experiences, to enjoy a hot shower(!), visit tourist bars and restaurants, pay tourist prices and of course build on the language. An enjoyable week certainly, but I’m glad to be heading back ‘home’ to Banepa. I’m pleased that my language is continuing to develop:- a combination of diligence and necessity I guess. I fear it would be too easy to live and work in Kathmandu and live a parallel life as an ‘ex-pat’, rather than integrate into the local community which I am slowly but surely doing in Banepa.
The weekend prior to traveling to Kathmandu marked the beginning of the festival of Teej, a celebration for women. The two projects that I am currently working with provide support to some 250 people who are HIV positive, a significant proportion of whom are women.
These are a few of the photos out of 90 odd that I took, (with their blessing and permission) from the celebration held at Sakriya Plus Nepal. A one day celebration of Teej, with a number of women travelling to the office to enjoy a meal, sing and dance. The ‘politics’ of Teej is interesting….. and as an ‘outsider’ it is difficult to fully grasp whether or not Teej is being (re)claimed by women. What is evident however is that the women at SPN clearly enjoyed themselves and yet again I had the privilege of witnessing another aspect of Nepal culture from the inside.
Another photo here… and a random portrait that I particularly like from a trip to Bhaktapur last week…