Sunday, April 17, 2011


• Our last breakfast at the hostel - omelettes, toast & Masala tea of course • Had my third shower of the trip and lo and behold I got warmish water • The solar panels must have kicked in for me • Received great instruction as to how to make Masala tea - it is made with milk and a bit of water • Driven to our host family's home - D.T. and Anjou • They live just below the Monkey Temple • Greeted with a huge hug by D.T. upon arrival • He then took us off to his school, the Arunodaya Academy where he is the director/founder • It accommodates boarding students and day students • This is the end of term and exams are in full swing • A nursery school on the premises is full of happy little people, all attacking me when they saw I had a camera - talk about a mob takeover - but it was really quite fun • We had tea next door at D.T.'s sister's home - his sister is a beautiful Tibetan woman whose husband is a Sherpa guide - one son lives in Toronto & one in New York city • We left our shoes outside, which is customary • Her two bedroom apartment is sparse in decor but large in size - one room is their "spiritual" room with statues of Buddhas and candles on display along one wall and a large sectional wrapped around the corner • In the living room we sat on the floor and were served Masala tea & cookies (both local style and shortbread) while looking at family photos • D.T.'s sister admired my jade - which confirmed I had made a good choice 2 years earlier • Back to D.T.'s for Daal Bhaat in our room at 11:30 - not as spicy as in the hostel • D.T. drove us up to the monastery, shown the classroom and were left to fend for ourselves with 12 little monkeys, as opposed the monkeys playing outside our classroom on the patio •  Our young lamas were aged 6-17 • Our classroom was very basic, made of cement walls with open windows out to the patio and views of the valley, with stray dogs wandering in and out and dozens of monkeys playing outside • There was a white board in the middle of the room and the perimeter had a built-in bench with small long tables placed in front for writing • Kitti and I had done a rough class outline that morning, but had no idea what their level of English was/is - being so varied in ages we knew there would be a variety of levels • Buddhist monks or not, these boys are typical young boys that are not used to discipline and sitting still • Some are clearly quite bright and bored & would wander in & out as they pleased • Class was from 1-3 and yet they tried to insist that it was time to leave at 2:00 • We did basic introductions and asked them to repeat what was said and to ask each of us two questions - the most common questions were, "how old are you? & are you married?" - sounds more like pick-up lines when I think about it now • Learning their names was a bigger challenge for me: Debendra, Sonam Dojee, Gorka, Nyima Tsering, Pema Gyalpo, Dargay, Singhe, Nyima, Dawa Gyaljen, Rinchin Tsering & Rabi • We put a group of objects out on a table, wrote their names on the board and had the boys put them in the notebooks we had handed out • They all got a chocolate once they completed writing the names in the notebooks, and the first to complete the list would get an extra chocolate the next day - oh, I wasn't beyond Pavlov's theory or reward -  and they responded • Exhausted after two hours of pure adrenalin & nervous energy we were escorted home, down hill, by Karma & Tsering (two lovely monks from the monastery), they wanted to make sure we wouldn't get lost • Back in our room we were served our 4:00 snack of noodles with Tea • Kitti and I lesson planned and reviewed for the next day • D.T. and Anjou took us for a walk of the neighborhood, for us to get a lay of the land • Anjou bought veggies at the local market for dinner - Daal Bhaat • D.T. and Anjou are clearly well known and respected in the neighborhood as people came up to them as we walked • D.T. sports a big smile & clearly loves kids  • Anjou was a little quieter in her demeanour but so curious and interested in Kitti and myself • We walked around the base of the Monkey Temple along with hundreds of monkeys • Saw a Buddhist funeral pyre at a Temple at the end of our walk • Lots of traditionally clad Tibetan women on their evening constitutional • Tried to use the local Internet cafe (45¢ for 30 minutes) only to have the power cut out on us, just as I got on-line • Instead I checked my email on D.T.'s laptop at home • Got the back-story on D.T. and Anjou - she is 30 and he is 50 - they met in Chitwan many years ago & married 5 years ago & started the orphanage & have now expanded into the local school • D. T. has found sponsors for his "orphans" so that they could board at the school • D.T. is a very liberated man by Nepalese standards, and by North American standards for that matter • He wants to empower women so that they can be self sustaining (encouraging women to sew & market  their clothing so that they do not need to rely on their husbands) • Because the main power is off, D.T. has a battery backup for the  lights in the house - all except the bathroom - which was probably a good thing

The children in the nursery school.

Happy to have their photo taken!

Shoes strewn all over the outside of the exam class.

View of the Monkey Temple from the roof of D.T.'s sister's home.

Buddhist's always have this prayer flag pole on the roof of their home.

This was a "Passport of health & happiness"
on the entrance to the school.
Things mentioned are from a to z.
A few are: hope for the  best,
treasure good friendships,
wear a smile always & yearn always for peace

School rules.
Some are: speak in English,
look smart neat & tidy & cooperate with juniors

Exams in the action.

Typical of any school - backpacks piled up.

The younger set in exams.

D.T. at the entrance to his school.

Debendra and me on our first day in the classroom.
He was one of our older monks, and clearly bored,
or simply being a teenager thinking,  "I know it all already." 
Karma & Tsering escorting Kitti home,
along side the prayer wheels
beside the base of the Monkey Temple

Our local veggie market.

They put in long days sitting & waiting for customers.

Anjou & D.T. making a purchase.

Parrots were captured, and for a fee,
you could release them at the Monkey Temple.

Our local Tibetan women out for their stroll.

On mass, they stroll around the base of the Temple.

This lady had just stole the onions from a vendor
& was fighting off any other monkey that came near her.
She had a temper & successfully held her ground.

Road side sewing repairs.
Note the pedal power.

Kitti in our local Internet cafe.
Make shift stations made with plywood separated people.
I barely fit in one.


  1. It seems that "boys will be boys", anywhere in the world. Its so typical that they try to get out of class at 2.00 rather than the prescribed time of 3.00. So cute and yet so very common with young boys anywhere.

  2. Interesting how the Tucson blogging adventure laid the groundwork for telling your Katmandu tales.
    Great seeing you on Saturday and getting to know you in your home.
    Hope Gretel has recovered!

  3. Yes, this reluctant blogger, is a full on blogger now. Thanks again Clintons for telling me about Tucson & the blogging seminar.


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