Part 3, Food is a gift and a blessing!
Today was a strange day, just not understandable at the time though I get it now. A Saturday, the only day that workers get off in Nepal as they work for 6 days every week. We decided to have a “quiet day”.
Stayed in bed later today, got up at about 9am though the kids had been up and messing around for a couple of hours. After another cold shower (!) went upstairs to the old traditional kitchen for breakfast which was boiled eggs, toast and cups of tea. Surprisingly though Champa’s father was there waiting for us, he had walked the 2 miles from Ason to bring me an English language morning newspaper, the Kathmandu Post, and had been waiting for 2 hours! I felt so ashamed I had made this old gentleman wait as he told me he enjoyed the walk and would bring me a newspaper every morning!
We sat around chatting for a while as the kids seemed fascinated by the traditional Nepali clay wood burning stove. Wood is fed into the fire as a long single piece, not chopped into pieces and all thrown in which is a way of regulating the heat I suppose ……. Wood mark 5 please! Mostly the wood we saw being used was dried bamboo? A large aluminium pot full of water is kept constantly hot resting over one hole and ladles of hot water taken out for other tasks over other holes such as cooking rice, boiling eggs.
After a while Champa’s father left us and Nanta (oldest sister) said we needed to go back downstairs to our room as we had a visitor. What we saw on entering our bedroom I will never forget, the whole carpeted floor was covered in food: eggs, rice, cheese, lentils, dried fish, mangoes, oranges, grapefruit, grapes, mosum, naspati, biscuits, bananas, figs, lychee, noodles, meat pizza, vegetable pizza ….. Everything had been brought and laid out for us by Champa’s young niece Jyoti and her husband Dharma. Jyoti is the daughter of Champa’s second sister, Mutta.
Michael and Sharon couldn’t wait to start eating as we sat on the floor and the “ritual” was explained. This was our family’s way of honouring us, our marriage, our family, our visit. We were not expected to eat everything, just to respectfully accept the gift and taste a few items, but the pizza was disappearing fast in a certain direction! We chatted for about an hour or so before they had to leave and we promised to visit their home too within a few days.
We helped to clear up and store things away with Nanta before she said to come upstairs again. So, up we went to Nanta’s living room to find ……….. Oh hell, a floor covered in food and another niece, Geeta and her husband Keshap waiting for us. “Nothing to describe or explain” said Champa, “you know what to do”!
I am now absolutely stuffed, only to be told that Gopal, Champa’s middle brother is waiting for us downstairs. Even the kids looked worried, but he had come to take us out for the afternoon to Balaju. This is a park on the outskirts of the city and a 2-3 miles taxi ride cost 10NRs or about 40p. The park was a mixture of grass lawns, pools full of fish, a swimming pool and temples. There were also taps gushing water similar to the Golden Taps in Kathmandu. The kids loved the trip and Gopal seemed to have a strong affection for both of them, keeping close to them, holding hands, trying to communicate even though he didn’t speak a word of English!
We returned to Chauuni around 5pm to find two families waiting for us with …… Here we go again, not funny!
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