Saturday, January 05, 2013

Hello from Nepal!

Hello and a Happy New Year from Kathmandu!

I've been here only a week but it feels like months. We've done and seen so much that it feels impossible to distil my experiences into a single blog post. In short it's been a sensory and emotional overload. The streets of Kathmandu are as you would imagine - narrow, colourful, rambling, loud and chaotic. But strangely there's an amazing sense of calm and order in that chaos; not once have I felt concerned or unsafe on the streets here. Even though the roads are teeming with people and motorbikes and cars and bicycles all tooting their horns and weaving in between one another, it's all done with a cheery disposition. You never get the sense that anyone is anxious or aggressive. They just go with the flow and it works.

Nepalese people are renowned for being friendly and cheerful and that definitely seems to be true. They have an infectiously warm and positive nature. Their lives don't revolve around working, they are centred around family and community. Although these people might be 'poor' by western standards they seem truly happier. This might sound flippant and naive but it really does seem that the simpler your life is the happier you can be. As humans (particularly westerners) we find it so hard to be content, but having less opportunities, lofty ambitions or obsession with material goods can be somewhat liberating.

Poverty is another thing, and there are definitely degrees of poverty and injustice that just aren't good through any lens. The work that Seven Women are doing here is aimed at instances of extreme poverty and discrimination. Women with disabilities are hugely discriminated against over here, since the Nepalese belief is that these women committed sins in a previous life. We've had the pleasure of meeting some of the women that are now living and/or working at the Seven Women centre and they are truly lovely. I had such a fantastic time working beside these women teaching them how to make some new products.

I could prattle on for ages, but instead I'm just going to fill the rest of this post with pictures!

Hello from Hotel Moonlight, Kathmandu! Very cold here so I'm perpetually rugged up in mum's knitting - thanks to Ravelry for the patterns! (Copenhagen Cowl and Kabuto Hat)

The view from our hotel rooftop. Marigolds are everywhere here.

Working with Kumari and Selena on some new products at the Seven Women centre

Pink house with matching pink creeper - very Kathmandu!

A group of women making felt ball mats at the fair trade felt factory

Felt balls drying in the sun

A woman rolls felt balls at the fair trade felt factory

Walking down from Nargacot we visited this small rural village

Village children with their homemade street luge! (photo by Annelise Hickey)

Rural farmland on the hillside

Love this tiny rural farmhouse with it's goats, chickens and cows in the yard

View from the rooftop of our hotel in Bhaktapur

One of many, MANY fabric stores I've seen here. Lots of tailors too. How fashion should be.

Hope to write more soon! xx


Unknown said...

Hey Lara,

Glad all is going well. These images are amazing. Are you able to past a link to the organisation who organised your trip? You've inspired me to investigate it myself. Oh, and congrats on your engagement. Happy days ahead!

AJ said...

It looks like you're having an amazing trip

The photo of the fabric store is amazing .... I think I would find it hard not to buy up the whole store!

Enjoy the rest of the trip

and ... congratulations on your engagement


Verte Adélie said...

I love seeing your pictures into my Instagram feed, they are so beautiful. Seeing those happy-looking women working together makes me happy :).

Oh, and seeing your engagement ring too, so congratulations!

Kate Moore said...

It's all beautiful and I am sure you'll bring so many memories home with you. I am so keen to learn more about what you're doing. I work as the media manager for UNICEF Australia so the development program you're working on, I'd be super keen to hear about - by blog - and over the phone or email when you get back.

O'Quilts said...

This is wonderful. I love living thru you here. If I were young I would come too!! Thx for sharing pix.