At 5:30 in the morning on October 4th we left Kathmandu for the outskirts of Chitwan National Park and our home for the week, Balleram’s farm. The road to get there was beautiful as we drove through a verdant valley with a roaring river; a breath of fresh air after a week in Kathmandu’s urban sprawl.
Compared with where we were, bustling Kathmandu, the farm has been quite the culture shock. The farm is nestled among the rice paddies of rural southern Nepal. We’ve had to deal with the humid heat, glaring sun, close proximity and some more intense waves of home sickness. This led to an excellent discussion on missing home, culture shock and dealing with new environments and circumstances.
We have been busy here at the farm. Under the direction of Balleram, his wife, and two daughters, we cut beans in the fields around the farm (both for sale and consumption), helped in the kitchen, collected eggs from the chicken coop and worked to construct a new addition to the kitchen. The days are sweltering and we had to stop working for a couple of hours in the middle of the day in order to keep our energy. We have been eating very well and most of what we eat was grown on the farm, some of it picked by us just hours before eating it.
Walking down the street we are amazed with how friendly and quick to smile everyone is. The kids especially love to practice their english and get their pictures taken. One in particular, Sudarsaan, invited us to his school, named Motherland. When a group of us showed up we were instantly taken up in a sea of school children. We ran around, did handstands and had a blast. We also spent time in the classroom which was a wonderful cultural exchange opportunity.
Some of the ways we’ve been spending our downtime here has been swinging on a giant bamboo swing, observing a Hindu custom during the lunar eclipse, learning a little Nepali, connecting with the locals and getting refreshing almond milk and fruit drinks in the local village. We have also played a lot of games as a group which led to lots of laughing and group bonding.
Next we head to Chitwan National Park, then on to Aurobindo Ashram!
Nick and Kavian