First Impressions of (We don’t really know where we are)

**it just got real. After repacking what we needed for the month into our backpacks we headed on out around 6am to ‘beat’ the traffic.

After a 10 hour van ride through crazy traffic (3 hour jam choking on dust) and Nepalese smog, rough roads we arrived in the town of Besisahar.

Our driver let us out of the car and we met a few people that didn’t speak much English (our driver didn’t speak any either). Turns out that one of those people was the mother from our home stay and the others were her parents. Her name is Goma and she has a very warm welcoming smile. We followed her along the busy road with no apparent traffic rules, got a SIM for my phone and headed towards the bus stop for our next part of the journey. No it wasn’t over yet.. Rain started on and off (a late monsoon apparently), and then we hopped on a bus headed to Khudi.

The road was a crazy 4×4 track, with our packs in our laps we swayed and bounced radically. At times it was like a theme park ride which plunged occasionally to the left and then to the right as if to scare.. it worked. We drove through 3 waterfalls and 2 shallow river crossings (I counted).

After half an hour we jumped out at the side of the road next to a random house/shed. There was a guy who spoke a bit of English and asked if we wanted a porter to help carry our bags to the house. Having no idea where we were going, we said yes.

Turned out to be a 20 min walk uphill through terraced rice fields, and finally we arrive at our home stay. Boy are we glad we packed our backpacks and not our bougie rimowa’s as we watched a dude in flip flops carry our packs up a narrow slippery path.

We’re in the house with the blue roof, building to the right is the barn.
View from our room

There we met the father (Bishnu), and the youngest daughter (Sandha). The home is split into three small buildings, one is a barn for the 3 goats and 1 buffalo, another an outhouse (squat toilet with bucket for water) and shower (both serviced by a cold water tank on the roof – no hot) , the third a very small, hand built wood and concrete 4 room house (2 up/2 down). Kitchen is one of the rooms downstairs. Doors look hand made to the size of the openings and there is no glass in the windows (or at all), instead wooden window frames with iron work in the windows. My guess is that the house is maybe 600 sq ft?

There is electricity, but this is the type of place that wouldn’t surprise you if it didn’t, and possibly was built without it (Bishnu handbuilt the house 10 years before). There is one bare bulb per room with an outlet below each bulb.

We sat down on the porch as honored guests. Told to leave our boots on which is clearly a no-no. Bishnu put hand made flower wreathes over us and applies flower pollen or paint to put tikas on our foreheads. We are welcomed as family members.

The rain really started to bucket down, as we were led into the kitchen and served tea and sliced fruit. We were also served slices of bare white bread which Goma picked up in the village – it turns out they go down to the town about once a month so I believe the bread is a real luxury.

We were shown our room as Goma squatted on the floor of the kitchen rinsing rice in metal bowls with her hands for our dinner. Our room has two beds, a window without glass, and a single light bulb. It’s above the kitchen and I believe we likely have 2 times as much space as everyone else in the family.

Both of us are taken aback with how humble this life is. We thought Kathmandu was a contrast to Paris, but this is taking it to the next level. We are here for a month… We’re both rather uncomfortable with the idea, we think it is just because it is so different from what we know. But at the same time, we’re sure we’ll adjust quickly and likely be sad to leave in a few weeks time.

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