Monday, 16th of September, 2013, 9:20 pm
Today marks one week into my stay in Nepal and its activities are as good as any for updating all of you back in the Western hemisphere. Before recounting today’s adventure, let me hit the other major points from the past week.
It all started with a 36-hour travel period from Austin to Kathmandu, which included a three-hour excursion to see the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque during my layover in Istanbul. Besides commenting that the monuments were breathtaking and the weather excellent, all I’ll say here is that I will have to return some day. Following an hour-and-a-half wait in line for a Nepali visa at the airport, Prashant Jha (Prabhat’s brother) picked me up and brought me to my Nepali base of operations at his home. After four days of adjusting to the time change and some brief visits to a couple of Kathmandu’s historical sights, Prashant accompanied me on the grueling 12-hour night bus journey to the Terai village of Sisautiya. It was not an experience I enjoyed terribly much, but is one I will probably endure three more times.
Anyhow, since then I have also made it through my first three days of village life. Apart from a bout of stomach insubordination, which appears to have settled down today, the major hurdles have been to accept the inevitability of always being dusty and riding out the suppressive mugginess. After a shower you can’t tell when you finish drying water and when you have begun drying sweat.
Today started with the morning computer session, including a lesson about input and output devices, followed by typing practice. Eejot Center is rough around the edges, to say the least, but considering all the odds against it, it is a pretty amazing place for the local students. With six functional laptops, we have the ability to let students spend reasonably useful chunks of time with them. Whether good or bad, however, the rest of today’s story doesn’t involve any computers.
After the good-byes and the request of one local villager for me to stay, we headed off again further down the road. I asked Rakesh where we were going. Jay needed to buy something.
“Only one hour more,” he said.
“Will we be back for the afternoon computer session?”
“Yes, yes. No problem.”
So on we went, shopping for sandals. After fruitless attempts at several shops, I asked if we were going back to Sisautiya. No, we were going on to stop by Jay’s wife’s family home next. It wasn’t very far.
Finally, we got back on the road, and the subsequent couple of hours was quite fantastic. Jamison Warren, a very inspirational geography teacher of mine, always expressed the joys of seeing India by motorcycle, but up until now I had never understood how that could be any fun with the dust, pollution and unruly traffic. However, riding amongst mature mango groves and sugar cane fields with a fresh breeze and the hazy Indian sunset illuminating a late summer thunderstorm in the east is something I won’t soon forget.
Back in Sisautiya, the day ended with Rahul, a whiz kid of eight who reads an introductory book for computer science in his spare time, presenting me with a blank journal in which to write down everything I know about computers. He had been waiting for the afternoon lesson for four hours.
Follow Scott’s adventures using Google Earth:
Kathamandu to Sisautiya
Accidental Trip to India
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