Contributing Author and Photographer: Michael Restivo – “Mike in Nepal” – 1/23/2010
Hey everyone! I haven’t been here in while but there’s been lots going on. I am not in Kathmandu anymore, I am in Pokhara, its a smaller town just west of Kathmandu. Its amazing here. There is so much to do and its not as congested as Kathmandu. The ride up to Pokhara consisted of 7 hours in a rather questionable tour bus, riding around cliffs with no barrier. There were moments where I could look out the window and not see road, just see ravine. It didn’t help that there were other trucks, lousy brakes, and a driver that insisted on whipping around corners. Thankfully after 7 hours and one change of pants later, we finally made it.
I am staying in a small home with a family, a mother, father, two sons, and three daughters. But I get my own private room and I am quite comfortable. The mother was not too fond of us when we first arrived, she wouldn’t smile, wouldn’t talk to us, was very cold. But she has now warmed up these days.
The kids in the house are curious about everything. They want to know about every book we have and all our pictures. They got a hoot out of the camera attached to my computer. Our meal, morning, lunch, and night is still dahl baat, a combination of lentils, rice, and curried vegetables. Dahl baat can vary in heat and ingredients as we found out the first night when the family insisted they add extra chilies for guests.
Needless to say I had a very uncomfortable night after.
The next day we finally met our kids. I am staying in the Quality Life orphanage. We have 12 great kids ranging from 6-13 years old. We arrive at the orphanage at 6 am every morning, eat breakfast with the kids and have a one hour tutor session. At 9:30 the kids go to school and we have the day free until 4 pm, we usually spend this visiting our friends working at other orphanages nearby. At 4:45 the kids come home from school and are allowed an hour of playtime.
The other day we bought them all new toys, legos, balls, cards, cars, stickers, bubbles, and the kids were thrilled. We teach them UNO and Go Fish and build legos with them. Then go out into the yard and play football. At 5 pm the kids have to have more tutoring time. Usually this is the time the government cuts the power, so most of this is done by candlelight. We help them with math, literature, and science. These 6 year old children are doing math I didn’t do until college!! At 7:30 the kids have dinner (you guess what we have) and then we leave by 8:00 and are home around 9 pm. Namaste. Mike
Guest contributor to the Blog MiamiRealEstateCafe, Michael Restivo is a writer and photographer, living in Nepal, working in orphanages, teaching, trekking and exploring. His posts are published periodically under the category “Guest Contributors”.