Thursday, 15 September 2011

Children's Day Nepali style

Its Children's Day today.Children were let off school early .I said to Uma that I would like to buy bits and pieces , food wise to give them a treat.

It was interesting to go to the market to buy the fruit, cakes, sweets, juices and crunchy curls. Apart from the fruit, most of the food are unhealthy but nice.Bananas are bought at x rupees each. I was with Sankur, one of Uma's cousins who was dispatched to help me carrying the shopping. He was asking the street hawker how much the bananas would cost. We settled on 50 rupees for a big hand of bananas.Then it went up to 55, then 60 rupees. Its the fact that I am the foreigner therefore he hiked the price up.We walked away, angry.Its the same scenario I have experienced in Malaysia. The taxi fare would double the minute they see a foreigner in tow!

Its increasingly common nowadays to see cows sitting /crossing/wondering on the road.Being a sacred animal, there is no chance of them being hit by a speeding car. The driver would rather crash his car onto something than to hit the sacred cow.That would spell trouble, in a form of mob attack! However, there is a real problem to cross a road when you are out and about.The motorists do not stop , not even at pedestrian crossings. A chanced remark from one of Uma's volunteers in her soft German accent' I wish I were a cow'. It was said totally out of context . We looked at her,perplexed, not understanding. Then she said ' cars stop for cows, that's why'. We just collapsed with laughter. Uma had tears running down her face, it was hilarious.

Sankur the cousin comes from a remote village, hoping to look for work here. He is also applying for a visa to work in Qatar or Kuwait.Life is tough here. He has his elderly parents, his wife and son dependent on him.He is without a job.He is staying with Uma for a week or two hoping to pick up the odd job here and there.He has left his wife to toil the small field at home while he tries his luck here. He was telling me that food in his village in Terai is a lot cheaper than Kathmandu. For example, a banana would only cost one rupee, as opposed to six rupees here,not that I have any understanding the value of one rupee.

We walked to the Kalimati market which is a mile away, and bought pomegranates, pears, apples and bananas for the kids.Any bash for the children cannot happen without the cakes and sweet desserts. For 15 people in all, we had a feast for a princely sum of 18 pds sterling, with quite a lot of left over. This is what I call value for money. Sterling does go a long way here.

For their part, the children perform their folk dancing to entertain us. They dance very well, especially Nitisha and Sangmu. I have videoed them performing the dances.One could see how much they enjoy dancing, including the boys.I intend to show them at the Sponsors' tea on the 1st October

I can't help but reflect , in the scheme of things, how lucky these children are comparing to many others in less salubrious orphanages and homes with parents. They have stability, love and encouragement from Uma, and everyone around them. They are nurtured.In the same token,how lucky the children are in UK,and those in the developed countries.What the children here would not give to have the same opportunities as those in UK!

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