Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Never Thought I'd Say This...

I never thought I'd EVER say this:  "Apparently we have two cats!"  "What's that?" you say.  "I thought you were allergic to cats?"  "Yes, I'm very allergic to cats!"  "What gives?"  Here's what gives:  Remember back in November, I found this little family on the balcony of our apartment building?  (Check out the November 2010 archives if you missed it.)

Yes, they were SO adorable and CUTE!  Well, we don't know what happened to the cutie on the top, but the one on the bottom (I named him/her Little One) and the mother (I named her The Mom :) )  appear to be living under the step to our apartment building

and/or inside our neighbor's gas container box!

Little One saw me coming, ran for cover, and then peeked out to see what I was up to!
How CUTE she is!
(I'm just presuming she's a she because she somehow seems feminine.)

We didn't feed them (AT FIRST) because I wanted them to go and eat wherever The Mom used to eat.  But they never left!  They seemed to feel comfortable "with us" and we couldn't stand to see them hungry--so we gave in and started feeding them.

You can almost imagine Little One's thoughts here:  "Shall I actually go out while she's standing there or not?  I am thirsty.  What to do???"

Eventually she lost her fear of me and seems to even like me!

Sometimes she even jumps up onto the kitchen window ledge, peeks in to see if I'm there and "talks" to me!

The Mom seems to sense that she's starting to like us and has started hissing at us like she's jealous!
The other day as she was hissing at me I looked right at her and said, "Honestly!!!  After all I've done for you!!!"  She looked contrite (really!) and bowed her head and started licking her paw.  I guess that means she'll try harder to be nice next time!  :)

So, as you can see, apparently we have cats!  I won't be petting them and they won't be coming inside, but they are cute and they have already killed two rats, so they are also pretty useful!  Besides, it's kind of nice to be greeted by them when we come home.   I don't know how long they'll stick around, but while they do, apparently we have cats!  :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Yesterday evening a very bad bus accident occurred nearby.  Unfortunately this is not as uncommon here as it may be in other countries.  Besides numerous pedestrians,


tight squeezes,

difficult roads,

and a LOT of motorcycles on the roads,

there are the twists and turns of the Himalayas--

which can cause drivers to take chances when passing.  Overcrowded and overloaded buses are also the norm,

which can topple over, or fall into a ditch,
 when the circumstances are "right." 

Yesterday a bus was going up a steep road when three motorcycles got in the way.  While trying to avoid them, the bus toppled over and rolled over four times down into a ravine and landed 100 meters down.  Apparently the people struggled up to the road where passing buses picked them up and brought them to our hospital and to the hospital in the neighboring city.  We received 55 patients at once!  Everyone jumped into action and even those not on call came immediately.  Ramon and his team had just finished an emergency surgery so they were already on hand.  He had to go with an ambulance to take a patient to Kathmandu.  There he found a neurosurgeon who also wasn't on call, but had come in anyway in case he was needed when he heard about the accident on the news.  Unfortunately five people died.  What a tragedy.  Situations like these cause devastating hardships here in a land where there's no insurance and many people live from day to day.  Besides the usual difficulties of losing a loved one, the economic impact could be a financial crisis for the family.  At that point the best way we can help is by supporting ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) and praying.     

Thank you to those of you praying for us and for the work of the hospital and for the lovely people of Nepal!  Have a nice day (and be careful on the road)! 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

"It's a nice country."

Yesterday I was standing here.

A group of young men walked by.  We greeted each other with the customary "Namaste" (pronounced Namastay) greeting with our palms together and a slight head bow.

Here is a cute little boy greeting me as I walked by his house.  (You can see his sister was a little afraid, so she calmed herself by putting her hand on his shoulder!  Precious!!!)

These two little ones greeted me while they were playing.

In Kathmandu, Ramon got a greeting while outside of the grocery store.

Anyway, the young men greeted me this way.  Then one of them asked me, "Are you from Germany?"  Not an usual question, since there are many German tourists in Nepal.  Many people ask me where I'm from as I walk about and the children especially like to say, "Hello!  Hello!"  (...such as these boys in the picture below did:)  I don't know why, (smile) but they usually just assume I speak English!  (I never can blend in!) 

Well, I answered the young man, "No.  I'm from America."  "Oh," he remarked, "It's a nice country."  "Thank you."  I said and I really meant it because in the past decade since I've been living out of America, this was only one of the few times someone told me that!!!  Can you imagine?!  It feels good to know that some people agree with me that my country is a nice country!  (big smile)

By the way, many people believe Ramon is a Nepali and patients will say, "Why isn't that Nepali doctor talking to me in Nepali?"  When he lived in Mexico, people thought he was Mexican, and when he was in Saudi Arabia and grew a beard and wore a turban, people thought he was a Saudi!  He can blend in!  However, he says when we visit Sweden, he probably won't be able to blend in there.

Have a nice day, which ever country you're in!  

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Harvesting and Replanting

In the September Archives there is a post called, "Rice!" which tells about the rice fields and how they grew before our very eyes in just a short time when we first arrived.  This post is going to be about the harvesting of those fields and their replanting.  Something is always happening in the fields--and seemingly in the blink of an eye! 

The rice grew pretty high pretty quickly.

One day soon after this they started harvesting.
What hard workers!
It's a big job, all day long, every day for weeks, with lots of bending and lifting.  They just kept going--like Energizer batteries.

At least the weather was nice!
Let's zoom in on that scene.
Fill up the bags.
Move 'em out!

How nice to see this couple working so happily together!

When they're done, they start thinking about the next crop!

However, sometimes you just have to take a little rest!  (This is one of Ramon's shots with this telephoto lens.)

The fields always look amazing to me.

Now it's time to put in the new crops, which vary from field to field.  This picture is the same field as in the above picture, but taken about two weeks later.

Here are some various fields with new crops going in.
(Can you see the mustard?!)

He's lucky because he has a plow.  These girls don't.
Neither does he.
He worked hard all day.  We could see him from the school's windows.

When these fields start to grow, I'll put up more pictures.

I'm not sure why, but almost all this rice you see in the grocery store is from Thailand.

Well, enjoy your rice, wherever it's from, and think of the beautiful people here who work so hard!  Have a nice day! 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR from Nepal !!!

We wish everyone all of God's blessings in the new year as well as health and happiness!  But, guess what?  It's not 2011 here in Nepal!  That's right, it's 2067!  (As mentioned before, we don't know if we're really old or really young!)  Nepal follows the Bikram Sambat calendar, and the new year doesn't start until April when I'm sure we'll have our "real" celebrations!   There are still 12 months here, and they go from about the middle of each of our months to the middle of the next one.  Some of the months do not have the same amount of days from year to year.  Not sure how that works birthday-wise yet, but I guess we'll learn.

Here's the calendar I bought at a bookstore for 2011.
I think on top of Friday and Saturday is where it says the Nepali dates, which happen to be the months of Push or Paush or Poush (I've seen it spelled all three ways--the first half of January) and Magh (the last half of January) 2067.  I'm not sure exactly where Paush ends and Magh starts but I think it's Jan. 15.  The 30 and 31 at the top are the last two days of January.  Martyrs' Day (Jan. 30) must be the holiday of Shahid Diwas I see on my school calendar which is January 30 (or Magh 21).  (More about that when the time comes!)

Here is what the "regular" Nepali calendar looks like:
(You can see we'll have a holiday on Mar. 2, called Shiva Ratri.  I'll tell you about that at the time.)

At first I bought this cute calendar

in a nice little bookshop on this street:

The shopkeepers seemed a little shy and were very quick and efficient.  Later I realized that they were only holding their breath, thinking, "Yeah!  Our ploy to get rid of the old calendars worked!  Hurry, finish before she notices!"  Yes, when I got home, I noticed this:
Yes!  It was a 2010 calendar!  It had been right in the middle of the 2011 calendars, and I obviously was careless when I finally made my final choice.  Oh well!  Anyone want some pretty pictures?  They're free!  :)

Well, speaking of holidays, there are two I have missed telling you about.  One was on Dec. 21 (Paush 6) called Udhauli Parba.  I was told this would be a time to eat good food!  Just as we have our start of Winter on that day, so do they here.  This day was the festival to celebrate the winter season and the migration "downward" to warmer climates.  (At the start of Spring, there will be an "upward" celebration I've read.)  There are dances, music, special clothes, and of course good food!  :) 

I went to Kathmandu that day with another missionary wife.  Ramon wasn't able to go and neither could her husband, but we needed to go shopping so we braved the crowds!  See:
When the sidewalks were full, people walked in the streets.

And sometimes they (including us!) just squeezed in!  Lora told me it reminded her of being in Shanghi!
I felt like I was just being carried along!  My purse was across my body and my hand firmly gripping it as well! 

Occasionally we saw people in their special clothes

and sometimes we saw them with signs.  This group also had some drummers, but I missed getting them in the picture.

However, I did get the drummer of this group.

Hopefully Ramon will be able to come with me the next time we're in town for a festival!

He did get to go with me this past week, which was really nice!

We saw these adorable little ones so happily playing who looked as content as any girls playing with Barbies look.

The next day it was December 30, and the festival of Tammu Lohsar, which I haven't been able to find out much about, but I'll let you know when I do.  We heard that there would be booths set up where people could sell things and we did see them preparing for that.

That day is sort of a blur in my memory as I came down with some kind of Asian bug again--ugh.  Ramon put me on meds right away and I'm feeling better now.

Well, again, we hope and pray that everyone had a lovely New Year's holiday and that your 2011 is already off to a great start!!!