By Nicole and Charisse
Before our sad departure from Hotel Mandala, we were given time to literally walk in circles around the heritage town that surrounded the Bouddhanath Stupa. We bought even more souvenirs before the long drive to our home stays in the Mechhi village.
And then went on a 4 hour road trip from Kathmandu to the homestay.
We spent the first half of the van ride sleeping, because all of us were exhausted. But then we spent the second half playing Resistance. Resistance is a game where you have to send people on missions and the spies have to work to get voted to go on and then sabotage the missions.
Josh scammed Damian twice by framing him as the spy. Conor never seems suspicious even though he’s always the spy. There was a lot of yelling, and it was extremely fun.
After the drive, we hopped off in the middle of nowhere: surrounded by colossal mountains and waterless river. We crossed the road and entered an old, rural wooden house where we were served black tea and zucchini bread. We stuffed ourselves, ready for the hike awaiting us.
We crossed a suspension bridge that wobbled according to our steps. The trail to the homestay was so steep and zigzagged, but was worth it for the astonishing view of the valley and the welcoming ceremony we received at Mechchhe village.
We were greeted with adorable children offering us marigold wreath necklaces and traditional powdered .
The home stay was definitely outside of our comfort zones: with baby goats frolicking around, a constant tinge of cow dung, a lack of water, all surrounding a clay wooden house. While the boys suffered from three spiders and pitch black darkness, we basically had a fun sleepover and two light bulbs. The village lady embodied full joy and gratefulness, telling us how the village becomes lively and warm with our presence.
During our first night at the village homestay, we gathered around the fire and asked our Nepal guide Kishan questions about Nepal. This included the political situation, religious backgrounds, gender equality, architecture and much more.
We learnt about the key things Nepal needed to improve. This included first stabilisation of the central government, investment into industries and jobs, and then improving infrastructure and preventing brain drain.
We also learnt about the religious context behind Nepal. Nepal has the highest percentage Hindu population in the entire world, although the Buddhist population is still quite prominent.
Due to the God Ardhanarishvara the Hindus believe as being both male and female, as well as the fact that Nepal was never colonised or invaded, the gender equality in Nepal is quite progressive. As Kishan tells us, women often take half the workload in the family, and many are in charge in the household.
Also, we learnt about the different backings of cultural practices in Hindu religion. Although they put a red dot (tikka टिक्का) on their forehead to be blessed by God, this practice is also for health, as a way to centralise the mind during stress by cooling the main part with the ingredients in the dot.
Overall, the talk was very fulfilling.