Much to our surprise, sadness, excitement, amazement (you get the picture: we have mixed feelings!), we only have three weeks left in Nepal. One of our parents, perhaps a little concerned that we would not want to come home (we DO!) asked recently, ‘Is it all terribly familiar to you now?’. This got us thinking about all the people, places and routines that have, indeed, become familiar to us, and we’re going to celebrate them in this blog post.
First, about that title! We are three big foodies, and we have grown to love Nepali food: momos, dal, turkaree, chana. We enjoy cooking for ourselves much of the time, and happily, find grocery shopping far more fun than in the UK! Most of our food comes from Shreshta’s, a nearby shop run by a fabulously friendly and smiley Nepali family. The father speaks only a little English, so he makes us write our own receipts, and then studies them to learn the English names! Fruit and veg is bought from streetside sellers. Some of us have grown skilled at judging what is a kilo of this, or half a kilo of that, before handing it to the seller for him to check the weight. Others of us, naming no names, have poorer judgement in this regard than when we arrived!
Some food items that, bought in Nepal, put UK produce to shame include: honey, grapes, and bananas. Vice versa, foods that the UK does better are: cheese, cheese, and cheese! So imagine our delight upon discovering the availability of imported cheese, brought to us in a tin! While we acknowledge that this sounds awful, it has made cheese toastie lunches and pizza evenings possible.
It was lovely to return to ABBS four weeks ago, after our time away, and immediately upon entry into the building, to be ran at by a dozen children shouting ‘Didi, didi!’ [‘sister!’]. The children in our classes may be familiar to us now, and us to them, but we continue to be so blessed by our time spent with them, whether we are drawing spaceships, elephants or princesses for them to colour in; persuading them to concentrate on their tracing of the alphabet; or watching as those who are new to the school gradually blossom and start to smile and laugh in class. One little boy comes from a Christian family, and we joyfully observe him laying hands on and praying for each of his classmates every morning!
You may remember that a boy in Rach’s ABBS class is receiving treatment for leukaemia. A week ago, his parents brought him to visit the school. One of his classmates ran outside to give him a big hug, and the others soon followed to do the same. It is something we have noticed about the children at ABBS, that they are such good friends. Some of them might have a way to go with their alphabet and some don’t have any regard for colouring inside the lines (!) but they absolutely understand, and practice, friendship.
Also very familiar now, is a weekly raid of paint, paper and glue supplies (and Pinterest) for the purposes of craft with our preschool children. Recently, our favourite craft was a Valentine-themed one: in order to tell mums, dads, brothers, sisters and grandparents how much they are loved… we decorated Valentine’s cards with shaving foam and paint! Homemade rain-makers featured at the beginning of February – inspired by the first rainfall that we have seen in Nepal. You will be pleased to know, however, that the weather here is perfect at the moment – sunshine, clear blue sky and warmth every day.
Unlike our other projects, we haven’t ever written much about our teaching of English to ladies at Beauty for Ashes – this is because it is very difficult! Their permanent teacher has wanted us to tackle grammar with them, and over the last few months, we have become accustomed to the feeling that we are not quite up to the challenge. But this month, a small breakthrough was made! Surprisingly, it came during our first lesson without a translator. The ladies were forced to ask their questions of us, enabling us to address their confusions… one after the other. We and they were so thrilled at the end of the lesson – they were getting somewhere! It is a great encouragement to us that we know what needs to be taught in the last few weeks.
Finally, over the last six months, we have got to know and love the several BMS families out here. After a December/January period during which some were on assignment in the UK, everyone is in Nepal again, and we have all of the BMS children back at ‘Sunday’ school (it should be ‘Saturday school’ as Nepali church services are held on Saturdays, but we just haven’t got used to calling it that!). Last weekend, we saw more of them than usual, managing their chaotic but enthusiastic enactment of the story of Joseph while the parents met together for a BMS retreat.
Praise for all of the lovely people, especially children, who we have got to know in Nepal.
Prayer for ‘good goodbyes’ to all of those people; how to say goodbyes to children who we will miss a great deal but whom we hope will not miss us too much?
Prayer for language lessons at BfA, that we would continue to make progress but mostly that we would show love to the women through our teaching of them.