Nepali culture and ways of life

Aaaand again. All this time I’ve been in Pokhara there was no more aftershock, but on Tuesday one big surprised us and told us that it’s still not over. 7.4 was its magnitude and epicenter near Mt. Everest. So there is new fear of landslides and avalanches, and in Kathmandu again they felt it a lot. As they said, it was “just” 6.9 in Pokhara, and here everything is still fine. I was in my room (2nd floor) when it hit, and first waited if it will stop, but it didn’t. So I ran out. Half an hour later came another one, but even in between I had a feeling that the ground is a bit vibrating. Might have been just imagination though.

I learned a lot in my time of volunteering. First, about gardening, building simple structures and taking care of the farm animals, since I had no such experiences before. An interesting thing here was also that people here have no machines (nobody has even a washing machine for example, so everything is still washed by hands, even in laundry places in Kathmandu!), just simple tools that were probably used already for thousand and thousand of years. So yes, sometimes the work was really difficult for that reason. We for example had to turn all the soil in the green garden with our hands, and that 3 times. Not so simple as it might sound. I got 5 blisters the first day.

Second, I learned more about Nepali culture and ways of life. Our host met his wife first time on their wedding day, everything being arranged beforehand from their parents. Ashok (the host) said that he thinks those marriages are better and last longer, and at least the latter is statistically true. But because of different reasons that one might think – social ones. If the pair gets divorced it gets a lot of pressure from the relatives and friends, so this is usually not the practice. After marriage, everyone wants to get a son since he is the one to inherit the house and all the wealth, and girls being married away to live with another family. The sons bring their wives as they marry to their parents’ house, and the family lives together since. For that reason houses where there are more sons are getting taller and taller (the thing that proved bad in the earthquake). One should always marry a person of the same caste because the people from lower castes cannot even enter houses of those from higher ones. Ashok told us that his brother fell in love with a woman from a lower caste and insisted to marry her. Parents were not happy about it, but at the end they let him do it. However, the marriage lasted just two years, and the reason might be also that she wasn’t allowed to his husband’s (and his parents’) house.

Other than cows and buffalos for milk, some chicken for eggs and some for meat, the family keeps on farm also one male goat. Why? For the October’s big festival where they sacrifice thousand of animals for Hindu gods. The goat is so nice and he likes petting, and of course it was really a bad thing for me to hear that news. But. I know that this festival raised a lot of negative awareness all over the world. And you know what? I don’t know why. I am against killing all kinds of animals. But Nepalese people normally eat meat ONCE a week. In the time of festival they do eat much more of it, but that is once a year. A lot more animals per human being are killed per year in “first world” countries than in Nepal. The difference is also that in the west the slaying is happening behind walls, so nobody can’t see it (I am sure that a lot of people there wouldn’t be able to kill an animal themselves), but in Nepal people are much aware where the meat comes from.

And One more thing about the animals. As you might know, cows are sacred in Hinduism and thus cannot be killed. For that reason when a bull is born people raise it and then set it free, and cows they keep for milk. For that reason it is possible to see a lot of cows on the streets, walking freely and laying in the middle of the road.

So my time on Lovely Hill (yep, that’s the place’s name) now ended. By the way, the area’s electrical system was financed by Finnish government (yeps!), and locals are still really grateful about it and know the exact year when it happened (“it was 22 years ago!”). Before I went I woke up one day after it rained a lot (being the best time for clear sky) for sunrise and climbed on the top of our hill. The view was breath taking with Pokhara valley in morning mists on one side and high mountains in first sunlight on the other. If the visibility is good the more interesting view might be from the valley itself, from where the mountains seem really surreal, being so high and seemingly so close. No words to describe it, and unfortunately also my photos aren’t good. Just – well, come to Nepal and see it.


My host’s main house

29 31

Green garden where we’ve been turning soil and animal shelter with cows and buffalos


Down from the main house is chicken house, at the time of my stay empty since one night at 2 in the morning somebody bought all the chicken for meat. They needed it before 4, that’s why the strange hour.


The trees and gardens bellow. On picture are some mango and banana trees


Thunders can be really dark and loud. Once a lightningh hit really nearby.


A hindu ritual they performed when we visited my host’s father in law house. As far as I understood it was some special family occasion, and they were predicting what is about to happen. Really interesting to see


Those three girls (two in school uniforms) stopped us on our way from the city, took my hat and demanded photographing


A view early in the morning from Lovely Hill to Pokhara. A lot of people were already there, jogging.


View on the mountains. All the peaks on the picture are around 7000m high


And again.


And this is the nice family I lived with. They gave me some souvenirs as I left and wished me good luck


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