10.10.2008 28 °C
It has been an interesting couple of weeks - some good and some bad - but it has all been an experience !!! As you will be able to tell by this enter I am a bit scattered !!!
As Ruth was with me the first week of my stay at that Monastery we did a bit of traveling around the Kathmandu area. One of the places I took her was to Patan to see the Tibetan Singing Bowl Center as her daughter is into natural healing - this seem like the place to go. Ruth enjoyed the owner of this store as much as I did - and she even had a bowl on her head. It was a lot of fun and well worth the trip.
We also went to Bhaktapur - this is a place with no cars. It took us about 2 hours to get here - it is only 7 kms outside of Kathmandu. The traffic was so bad - I have never experienced a traffic jam like this before - a little ironic considering we were going to a place with no cars ! It was an interesting trip - as our taxi driver tried to avoid the traffic jam he decided to go down many back streets - we saw a lot of meat and chicken stalls selling things like goat heads - actually the other day I saw a whole bunch of wild boar heads - I have decided goat heads are not so bad. The grounds at Bhaktapur were very clean and we saw a lot of different temples. The sad part is that nothing is cared for - so wonderful woodwork is all left unprotected and will one day rot away. We visited a paper making factory - very basic and again no safety standards. Workers are silk screening in very tiny rooms with no air movement at all - the smell of ink and other chemicals just about knocked me over - I didn't stay long !!!! The trip back was much faster - thank goodness !!!
We also went to a place called Bodhnath - it is a Tibetan village and one of the most peaceful places I have ever been too. We met Troy's friend David (thank you Troy - David is a wonderful person) who is a photographer for World Vision. We had a wonderful afternoon and Ruth & I ate real food - yes !!! I will be spending my last weekend or at least a night in Bodhnath before I leave - in the evening it turns back into a real Tibetan village after all the tourist have left - so I am looking forward to that experience.
Everyday at 5:30 a.m. I have been going to a yoga class - it is interesting - from 5:30 to 7:00 a.m. on the first level of the Monkey Temple over 200 people gather to do yoga. I always try to sit in the middle as the monkeys like to walk around the edges - they scare me. When I first arrive I have to walk up this hill and it is a bit dark - and it never fails those darn Monkeys are sitting on the edge of the path - I do go by them and hope they don't come near me. Even sitting in the middle doesn't help sometimes - the other day a group of monkeys decided to walk right pass me - of course they past by all the other people but I thought they went out of their way to go pass me - I think they know I do not like them much.
Last Sunday I decided to go for a walk (Ruth had left on the Saturday) after yoga - Sunday is my day off - so off I went to the other side of Thamel. Not a pretty sight at that time of day - there was a lot of street children sleeping on the street curled up with the dogs. They are of all ages - some I would guess to be around 3 or 4 years of age. Mother's with tiny, tiny babies sleeping on the street. Later on in the day I heard this child crying - it was a mother with three children - she was hitting the youngest one with a rope very hard. I just froze as I didn't really no what to do - anyway I decided to just walk in-between the mother and the child - as I did this I stopped and looked at the mother and said what a cute child and gave her a couple of rupees - she stopped hitting the child and was very pleased. I walked into a bookstore - she did not hit the child again. About 10 mins later I heard the child screaming again - I looked and some tourist were walking by - as I had given her money she may have thought why not try it again maybe these tourist would give her money as well - I really did not see that one coming. I was very upset as I thought what have I done?
The street children have increased greatly over the past 3 -4 years in Kathmandu - glue sniffing and IV drug use is high even among the very young - there are many different levels of poverty - these children would be the ones that fall under abject poverty without a doubt. Very few of the street children our literate - they come from the rural areas where parents do not see the immediate benefit of sending children to school. There are about 7.8 million people in Nepal that are illiterate - most of them are from the rural areas. The schools were closed a few days ago as they were celebrating Children's day - the slogan was "Ensuring Child Rights for a New Nepal" - Nothing happened and there was no mention of the street children nor for the number of rural children sent to India to become sex workers, workers in the circus and workers in factories - the numbers continue to grow every month. Unfortunately the focus of the government this past month has been the cost of festivals and the number of goats/water buffalo you can kill during this time. I realize the festivals and killing of goats, etc. has to do with trying to deal with all the different cultures and religions - it is a very delicate balance right now - many a strike and protest have happened during the past few weeks - riots and burning tires in the street - not a great thing either.
Anyway another interesting thing - or at least I find it interesting -
One of the things I did find out about TEEJ - the women's festival - that they fast all day - the fast is broken in the evening after drinking water used to wash their husband's feet - this is a tradition that is still being carried out - I still don't understand the concept of the women's festival but all I have to say I am glad I live in Canada !!!!!