Nepali Culture at its best!
After Kathmandu we had to go to Darkhe, the place 30km outside of the Valley where the farm we were supposed to stay was. We had to catch a bus that would take 1h30. Yes, it takes almost 2 hours to do 30 kms in Nepal, so imagine how good the roads are!
We had to catch a local bus to get to Darkhe, which was really cheap but terrible as well. The buses take a lot more people than they should, and it smells like sweat mixed with food, horrible! Anyway, in Nepal there’s one single road that apparently goes everywhere else in the country from Kathmandu, and that’s the one we had to go to. This road, to which they call “highway”, IT’S SIMILAR TO Carretera de la Muerte in Bolivia, or even worse! It’s extremely narrow, it has no cement at all and it goes all the way down the valley with a huge cliff along the way. Two cars can hardly fit side by side but that doesn’t stop the cars from going both ways and the drivers from driving like street racers.
We were told that the average of deaths was 11 a week and that accidents happened all the time. Anyway, we had no other way of getting to the farm so we went for it. The second we got to the beginning of the road, at the top of the hill, the queue was already endless and no car was moving. Of course, there had been an accident. And the weird thing was no one reacted, everyone in the bus looked at the huge traffic jam and continued doing their own thing. I guess an accident is something they see everyday. We asked everyone if it would be fast to clear the road, and everyone started laughing and making fun of us. We were obviously going to stay the whole day stopped in traffic with 40 degrees outside and no air con, juuust perfect!!
An hour later we decided to grab our backpacks and start walking down the road. We had to do 20 kms by foot, but it was certainly faster than waiting the whole day burning in the sun. We went past the accident (3 trucks had crashed) and we had the best idea ever: get a ride from a motorcycle! The only problem was finding 4 motorcycles to take the 4 of us. One by one, we were all able to find a guy to take us and 30 minutes later we were all together in front of the school where we were supposed to meet with our farmer.
The school was an unfinished terrible building, almost falling apart with millions of kids coming out of every window (or hole) in the building, all waiving at us! He gave us lunch and told us that only at 5pm we would go to the farm. We had time to visit the school, go around the classrooms and meet the kids, and see the playground – a small open space surrounded by marijuana plants (which they called wild plants). Everything was shockingly poor, the classrooms were tiny and smelled really bad, the kids were all very dirty, the books were old and the toilets (latrines) were beyond disgusting. However, despite all of that, the kids were very happy and funny, they were really nice to us and they all spoke very good English, it was impressive!
In the end of the day we went to Ajoy’s house, the guy who was hosting us, and that was another big shock. The house was made of mud, very dark inside and with no furniture at all. We had to curve our back in order to fit inside the house, the walls and stairs were just mud and wood, everything looked like it would break the moment we stepped on it. The smell once again was weird and the beds had no mattresses. There were spiders, geckos and all sorts of bugs everywhere, and the bathroom and shower were replaced by a latrine and a bucket. Finally, on top of all these, the house was incredibly dirty and no one seemed to care! It was hard to take it all in, especially knowing that almost everyone in Nepal lives under this kind of conditions. Asoy and all his family were very nice to us and they welcomed all the best way they could, they gave us food with no spices because he knew ‘the Europeans can’t take it’, they offered a room just for us, making the kids sleep somewhere else and took us for a walk around the village.
In the end, we stayed there just for that night even though we were supposed to stay 5. He had a farm but it wasn’t working at the moment and, given the monsoons, there was no work for us to do. He wanted us to help him clean his house but that wasn’t what we were expecting, what we wanted was a WWOOF experience and unfortunately that wasn’t possible.
It was a big shock to see the lack of conditions of the average Nepali people, and even worse to experience them ourselves. However, it was a very good experience, worth having at least once in our lives, even if it’s just to teach us to really value what we have at home!