Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Finally--Jatra and Summer...

Hello!  FINALLY I'm back!  Wow, I'm "somewhat" behind, aren't I?!  Well, let's see if I can finally get back on track!  What's been happening?  We have been doing well thankfully--just a little busy!

I was blessed to be able to make a trip home for visits and business.  (Ramon was too busy to go.)  Before we left, the kids at school said Goodbye to Liesl.  Everyone was sad and great hugs were given all around.  She did an amazing and fantastic job and I don't know who was more blessed, she or the kids!  I think it was Even Steven!
Besides amazing memories, she got a calendar with pictures of adorable Nepali children on it.  So cute!

The little ones still ask me where she is just about every day and ask WHEN she's coming back!  The older ones pray for her every day.  She will always be in their hearts as they will be in hers!
Right before we left, as mentioned at the end of the last post, there was a local festival unique to Banepa:  Chandeswori Jatra!  What is that?  It's a celebration of the victory of the goddess Chandeswori over the demon Chandasur.  You may remember the mural of this victory that is on a wall at the Chandeswori Temple down the street.

If you don't remember what the temple looks like, here it is--as we see if from here.
I love walking home from school and seeing this view every day!

Since this festival happens every year, you can just refer back to last year's posts if you missed them.  Part 1 is here and Part 2 here.  Here are just a few pics from this year.  I took a little video of the second day when the town's menfolk take an idol which is inside this chariot back down into town from the temple where it had been brought the night before:

Well, I'm out of order here.  Two evenings before this, the town folk marched through the town and up the hill past the hospital in a parade of lights.  Here is their progression as they got closer and walked past us and went on to the temple:

Then the next night we all waited for the chariot with the idol to come up the hill.  Some people had food.  Here you can see a bit of the hill.  It's pretty steep!  You really get your exercise when you come up it. 

As mentioned last year, there's a nice feeling in the air as people wait for the idol which is inside the chariot.  They line the streets and sit where they think they'll have a good view.

While waiting for the chariot this year we also had a camera crew filming.
Don't know if we made it onto the news or not!

When the chariot finally came, the crowd surged forward and backward and I was just swept along (and separated from Ramon like last year, although this year he didn't get called to the hospital for an emergency like he did last year!) and at one point almost was hit by one of the logs carrying the idol!  There was nothing I could do.  Luckily someone saw me and pulled me back just in time!  I never found out who helped me because I never saw them!  :)  My pictures last year were better (I guess there were less people) but with this one you can see the logs pretty well.

You get an idea of how heavy the chariot is when you see all these strong young men working together and they still have to rest every few steps.  Most of my pictures are like this:

 As I said, it was very crowded and I kept getting jostled.   The next morning was when the idol was taken back into town and I took the video earlier in this post.  As you can see, it's a festival that takes several days and has many components.  You may remember that when we first got here I asked some kids what happens at the festivals and they told me, "Just festival stuff!"  :)

A few days later there was another festival and people sold things on the side of the street, sort of like a giant yard sale.  Everyone was in a happy mood!

Many of the "regular" shops were closed so the owners could enjoy the day.

These ladies are carrying their wares to the spot where they will set them up to sell.  Or, they could be carrying them for someone else for their job.  It's a normal site to see men and women both carrying very heavy loads on their backs using the forehead strap.

This little cutie grabbed his balloon and ran away from Daddy (in the red shirt) as fast as he could!  He stopped short when he saw us and then ran back to Daddy!

 In other happenings, there were road closings/strikes (called bandhs) when I was last posting.  We had to go to Kathmandu the day before we left to make sure we could get to the airport!
Here is a look at Kathmandu from a window in the hotel.

During the winter, when the skies are clear, you can see mountains there!

On really clear days you can see the snow caps of the Himalayas!

It's a good thing we went to Kathmandu a day early since the roads were closed the next day.  Here are some trucks parked and unable to work.  One thing you can say about the trucks here is that they sure are interesting looking!

The road closings made no difference to the field workers who kept busy.

Did you notice that the fields are a little brown?
Everyone was worried because the rains were late in starting.

Thankfully, just before we left, the monsoon finally started!

Notice how everyone keeps working in the rain.
They just put on their homemade "raincoats" and keep on going.

When it's not raining, you can see the fields filled with workers working their hearts out.
As I've said before, I don't know how they do this all day, every day.
"You do what you have to do," seems to be their motto.

Now these same fields look like this:
It seems like every day you can see that the rice is just a little bit taller!
Soon it will be waist high, and then shoulder length!
(If you missed previous Rice Field posts, and want to see them, check them out from the "Labels" section of this blog.)

Well, I'll try, yes I will, to keep up and get back into the groove of posting more frequently!
Thanks for stopping by, and hope to see you soon!
Take care and God bless!