Thursday, 29 September 2011

Why are we here?

This morning I was able to silence the dog (not by physical means) by closing all windows and doors so I slept in a little later like 7 AM but I had a good solid sleep and woke up sore but refreshed.  Sore because yesterday I used my umbrella on two of our treks and the muscle is actually sore from holding the very light thing!  So out of shape.  I also woke up happier in spirit because of the evenings get together with Theresa, who is here just short term with her company work, who had invited us and another couple to her guest house for supper.  We met Tammy & Joe and two of the 4 children who are originally from California but has served in Qatar form many years. Now they've been in Nepal for 2 years and have started a girls home.  Great time and good Indian food.  Crazy alley driving to find the guest house.

John is off this morning to the new site for SDSS to meet with the potential contractors who are bidding on the job.  I hope it will be inciteful for them and John as to who will be awarded the bid.
 I have completed my household chores (of course there's always more that could be done), laundry is on the line and I have a plan for supper, so I thought I'd do a little blogging and bore everyone to sleep. : )

Ah yes, the reason we are here is to build a new facility.  We are amazed with the construction process here, so labour intensive; no big trucks or heavy duty equipment; just hands on, brick by brick, mix up some cement by hand in a large bucket.

We have only visited SDSS once but these pictures may capture why a new facility is needed for the handicapped and recovering patients. Presently they meet in an old carpet factory.  Please pray for the right contractor to be picked and for good weather (we've been having a lot of rain) for the project to begin in December with a ground breaking ceremony planned for Nov. 2nd.

Most of these children are not handicapped but attend church here. Such wonderful joyful children.

Lord, help me to remember, "Why am I here?".
beautiful faces
see any differences?


this woman is deaf
her husband

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Sunday, a day of rest??

The plan for the day was to go to church and the bank, which we did.  We had lunch at the Road House Cafe which may become a favorite spot.  The claim is, it's the best pizza in Kathmandu and the decor is unique.
margerhita pizza

me at the Road House Cafe
 So after lunch we head for the bank, this is all on foot you know.  You are patted down when you go to the bank here. There is a lady guard for ladies and all purses and back packs are opened and viewed. The line up was not long today but it all takes time.  We picked up our cheque book and online banking info but no debit cards today.  Tomorrow!  So we leave the bank and cross the busy road and have a coffee on the corner of the Jawalakhel round-about. 
Jawalakhel round about


 Now we are on our way home down the Polchowk road. I spot a fabric shop (I have been looking at kurtas) and have been quite impressed with the fashion.  The younger gals are wearing modern clothes. Most of the fabrics and depending how fancy you want to go...are gorgeous! Now to make a decision.. and John waits patiently for me, he had tried to help me : )  They are having a sale as well, not much, 10%, but hey a saving is a saving. I've already got a ready made one picked out for the colder months, it's black and red.  I have been told they will charge 200 - 250 rupees to have it sewn. That is like $3 canadian. Unreal.  Now I just have to find a tailor.  It's a 3 pc. outfit; top,pants and shawl.  I'm hoping there is enough material in the smaller print for another kurta instead of the pants.  Many women are just wearing pants (like ours or with jeans) with their tunic style tops (kurta).

Okay, now we are on our way home, except we stop on the way to another grocery just to pick up a few things. We were introduced to tonic water and lemon squash. It is very refreshing.  Off again, but we must pick up some bread at our Secret bakery and see what other goodies she has prepared.  I want it all. For our treat we pick up a cinnamon/nutmeg hardish square.  She also sells the local cheese and avocados from their garden, we purchase those too.  I see from my balcony what looks like basil in her garden; it is! I ask if she sells it, she sells pesto.  Ah, next time. This little fellow lives beside the bakery and knew what a camera was and his mother let us take his picture. Ah, life in Kathmandu and that was the rest of the day. Namaste

Friday, 23 September 2011

TGIF in Kathmandu

our neighborhood

statue at end of road marking our neighborhood (we don't know who it is yet...Bruce said Jacky Chan!)
Friday: Our Internet or server went down last night (where does it go exactly??) so we waited until 10:30 for our provider to come by to fix it.  We have been out and about since noonish on.  I (we) walked to the bank which I thought was far and it wasn't. I stopped in at Saleways supermarket, checked out the prices; chatted with Bina,who remembered John from yesterday when he was looking for a ladies umbrella!  Now she knew there was a lady to go with him.  Very sweet gal. When we got to the bank, it was closed!  Closes at 1 pm on Fridays.(would of made it if I hadn't stopped at Saleways). We were to pick up our new Nepalese debit cards.  Oh well, another day. Went to the ATM  (at the bank) there is only one machine so the line up can be long.  We took out money from our Canadian account; it all works! Stopped in at a Pharmacy, I now wear a mask!  The air pollution is bad here and I am already coughing. It feels like I have a full head (sinuses) most of the time. I'm feeling pretty good with all this walking so far; someone had told be about Namaste supermarket so I checked out the the store and the prices. Quite a lovely store and while exiting; we were asked to try Knorr mushroom or chicken soup and give an opinion."Good".  My big purchase from Namaste's was a red mug for 60 NR. (not quite a dollar cdn.)  If you know me, I love the color red and I don't like the mugs here at the apartment. I was now exhausted. Oh, and you would be so proud of me, we crossed the busy roads about 3x.  I felt a motorcycle, I'm sure we were within inches of each other. As we headed for home we passed Herman Helmerr's (very fun to say) bakery for a Fanta.  We have been discovering lots of bakeries and we have found the Secret Bakery, which is directly behind us in apartment buildings, just that you have to go around to the road and then down a path to her door.  We will be supporting her often.  We had her cinnamon rolls this morning.
the path to the Secret Bakery
We are enjoying making great discoveries. We aren't home yet.  We haven't had a coffee so we stopped at Tamarino's (Tamara Sawatzky-Martens) for a coffee and had chicken wings!  Good and spicey.  It started to rain and we hiked on home. We washed our feet and sandals off at the back tap and now we are home and that is part of life Kathmandu style.  It is Friday night so I believe everyone likes to get out and socialize a bit, but we have no one yet to do that with so it's just John & me for a quiet night in.  I'm probably tired enough that I will fall asleep on the couch, like I did last night!  (and apparently I was snoring! snore?.... nah!!)  It's hard to keep awake until 9 pm.  Namaste
and we're home (blue apartment, 2nd from top)

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

First week in Kathmandu, an Eye Opener

Where do I begin?  Wanting to come home the 2nd day,  the earthquake, the TD,  visiting Sundar Dhoka, attending KICC, going grocery shopping with Bikash, visiting the monkey temple?  Ok, I'm exhausted already!

When we arrived we stayed at the beautiful Summit Hotel for 2 nights and our first connection meeting was at KISC.   Here I connected with Lise Malta who is a med student from Calgary and took a year off of school to do research and work oversees. She will also be renting our home in Calgary when she returns.  Lise is a wonderful young woman with a servant heart.  We brought along part of her life long collection of stuffies to be donated to the children's ward in Tansen.

From dropping Lise off at her guest house we carried on to Sundar Dhoka Seta Sewa's construction site. This is where I started to get a bit nervous as we had to cross a road, called the Ring Road. It was absolute mayhem to me.  As I processed this later in my brain, I thought and told John, 'You are going to die in Nepal'.You are not allowed to cross that road on foot.  I must have been overwhelmed with the place because I was ready to turn around and go home.  The roads are terrible, if you can call them roads; they are paths meant for walkers and bicycles.  Calgary's bike trails are wider I'm sure!  I will never complain about bad roads again!! (don't quote me on that one).  I had a nap after that and woke up numb.  We went out for pizza.  By this time I'm starting to get TD.  Stomach is unsettled and yes a few extra trips to the bathroom, and I've only been eating food at westernized establishments and drinking bottled water.

I don't know where I am in days but on the 15th we get to move into our apartment.  If we can get the door open.  Different locks, 2 men, 1 Bikash.  "Bikash you gave us the wrong keys".  Bikash, "those are the only keys that Geoff & Jenny gave me."  Finally the engineers!! get it figured out!  We're in.  The men plunk themselves down on chairs.  I take charge. Now, I'm the boss and order John to assist me.  This is my new home.  We need internet, propane, groceries, water, and where do I get all these?  Thankfully all information is passed on from Geoff & Jenny, the previous tenants.  Internet is ordered, someone will come in a few hours.  Bikash will order a taxi and take me to 3 different grocery stores.  We try for propane, not today, maybe tomorrow.  We have a small electric oven so can make due to cook and electric kettles.  Water:  the water from the tap is not safe.  We have a filter; when has it been cleaned?  We must boil all water (no propane). We have another water candle filter system.  I think I'll stop now because I should go and boil some water!  We did get propane yesterday the 19th.  I'm off to cook some supper.  Namaste and I did feel the earth move under my feet. 

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Getting started or packed.

We are pretty well packed!  Today a shipment of stuffed animals (not real ones!!) arrived to be taken to Kathmandu with us, to be picked up by Lise who has been working in Tansen hospital and is donating them there.  Lise will be returning to Calgary and living in our condo.  Confused yet?