Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Waiting for Gudu...

• Had my best sleep in Nepal last night - must have been the heavy rain, and lack of dogs outside barking • Kitti and I lay in bed discussing today's lessons • Dressed by 7:30, we were waiting for Gudu, but knew he wouldn't knock on our door till 8:00 - this morning bringing noodles with vegetables & black tea for breakfast • Gudu is D.T. and Anjou's cook • His age is guessed to be around 15, as D.T. took him out of the streets of India, and gave him a home when he was a small boy & he had no knowledge of his parents or his history • Gudu was a sweet shy boy, who carried far too much weight on his slight frame • He was a boy who had lived a thousand lives already, all in his young 15 years • At first I felt sorry for Gudu, just sitting patiently on a stool in the kitchen, waiting • But, because of D.T., Gudu has a roof over his head, 4 meals a day & a family • Who am I to feel sorry for him? • Kitti and I explored yet another new area, in the mud soaked back streets • Chickens were being seared with propane torches at the local butchers - we were both happy to be vegetarians on this leg of the trip • At home I sat on D.T.'s wide porch that ran the length of his house • The delicate scent of jasmine wafted up from the huge shrubs that surrounded the house • After Daal Bahat, D.T. had arranged for Kitti and I to meet his "ladies cooperative" • We had no idea we were the special guests for this special meeting • They formed three months ago, & had three foot pedal sewing machines donated and one instructor teaching about 30 women • Kitti was their first customer, purchasing a cute little Nepalese top for one of her grandchildren & made many good suggestions regarding pricing, sizing  and that they should value their time • D.T. is indeed a good man bringing this group together, finding a place for them to meet & genuinely wanting them to have a better lot in life • From the meeting Kitti and I trekked up hill to the Monastery for day 3 of our volunteer teaching stint • We never know who will show up - we started with 12 and now seem to have a firm 6 or 7 that come and stay • I asked the Monks to draw a picture of what we saw at the Monkey Temple the day before - this totally stumped them • They are very good a copying pictures, but didn't know how to put one together • We compromised with them looking through the flash cards and finding images that we saw and to draw them - amazingly there was a monkey flash card • We also handed out word find books for the first time - silence fell upon our classroom - they loved them • Even Sindu, the resident dog, fell quiet • Had we found another success? • They asked for help when they needed it, but seemed to work independently quite well • They had a penchant for showing off their prowess with numbers - I would ask them a number & quickly they would arrange the punch out numbers in the proper sequence • Mid way through our class, out of the blue, Rin Tsering woke up & gave Kitti a prayer bead necklace • Well, not to be outdone, Pema disappeared and came back within a minute with a prayer bead necklace for me - "108 beads" he proudly told me • Well, you could have knocked the two of us over - we were speechless, and trust me, we are not two women that are easily lacking in vocabulary • As the boys were working I would quietly go around and put chocolates on their books for a job well done • More photos were taken and at the end of class,  the boys made an effort piling up the workbooks, pens and even sweeping the floor - another wow from me • Walking down the steps we met up with an older Monk, Shal Lama, who asked us about our young charges, Canada, the monkeys and the dogs - he was on his daily "walking prayer" • Arrived home, exhausted, waiting for Gudu and our 4:00 snack of noodles • Spent 70 rupees today - 3 waters and the Internet • Back out on the balcony I was entertained by a monkey stealing laundry from a line - he would take a towel and wrap it around himself like a blanket then run off with it, going from rooftop to rooftop • Across from me is a lovely Tibetan woman holding her prayer beads and chanting her prayers on her balcony • We are only a ten minute drive from either Kalinki Temple or Thamel, yet it seems another world here - almost rural • Friendly faces smiling at me across balconies • We appear to be in the middle of a large Buddhist part of town, as most houses have the traditional prayer flag pole on the roof • There is a physically challenged young girl at the end of our lane, who is always smiling with her mother and grandmother when we pass by • They have the most wonderful vegetable and herb garden • The light is going down but the squeals of children has not lessened - I guess there is no "come in when the lights go on" here - as there are no street lights to go on • Sweeping of the lane-way continues • The prayer chant is still going on by my neighbor • Kitti is reading her travel bible, "The Lonely Planet guide to Nepal" • You would be hard pressed to to find a tourist/trekker/volunteer not have one • People are indeed house proud, watering plants on their balconies, with gardens as neat as a pin • It's now 6:15 & I'm feeling like I could put down my head, but dare not - best wait for Gudu, and Daal Bhaat at 7:30

Chickens being seared by the local butcher.

Walking the mud soaked back streets.

Kitti and I as the special guests
at the Ladies Cooperative Sewing Group.

I hope this doesn't reflect on our teaching skills.

Rin Tsering slept through most of the class, as Kitti listened to Rabi  read.
Rabi was an excellent reader, and probably our best student.
He was so interested in learning.


Everyone, except Rin Tsering, working hard on their word find books.

Our classroom was basic in construction & decor:
Plain cement floors and painted cement walls.

Dargay loved to work at the big desk.

Our resident dog Sindu.
I really think he was Pema's dog,
as he always followed Pema.

Rin Tsering woke up and worked on the word find book along with Pema.

Our boys sweeping up the classroom.

Thrilled to be wearing my new prayer bead necklace made by Pema.
The ever smiling Singhe in the background.

Shal Lama who we encountered on the stairway down.

Gudu's kitchen. It was always immaculate.
Very kitchen proud.

Note the monkey beside the water tower.
One of the thieves of laundry.

Anjou & D.T.. Anjou left for Chitwan tonight.

Our lovely Tibetan neighbor with the beautiful garden.

Less shoes outside the rooms now that Anjou is gone.
We always took our shoes off before entering any room.

Our room - where we had all our meals - waiting for Gudu...


  1. What an interesting and exciting trip you experienced. Seeing the electrical wires reminded me of what we saw in India which everyone labeled Indian Spaghetti. Great photos.

  2. Following your trip through your blog I have learned about Gudu, brought into a warm home with DT and Anjou (what a beautiful name) and the difference DT has made to the (women of the coop). I now know and love Pema and his companion dog, Sindu, and the bond you developed with Pema , probably a lasting one. But isn't this really what your journey was all about, and that is the people that we encounter, and the impact they have on us and how we touch their lives. You clearly left a part of yourself on some wonderful people of Nepal, and I know they have left a loving impression on you. What can be more meaningful than learning that the most important things in our lives, are the people in our lives, not stuff.


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