Today the buses ran and I’ve finally arrived in Baglung. It was a long trip – around 9 hours in a microbus. Luckily I had the front seat and was next to an untalkative but helpful high school kid on his way to see relatives in Baglung. After passing Pokara I knew I was close and with every passing kilometer the landscape was more and more beautiful.
The first six or seven hours was between Kathmandu and Pokara. It was amazing, especially the activity around the road – overturned buses, naked kids jumping from boulders into the water, and water buffalo plowing rice paddies, just to name a few.
One of the many fine establishments seen from my hotel room window. Another included a butcher who began the chopping at 5AM, specializing in chicken by the sound of it.
But the road runs for the most part along the river, so you are mostly looking up at the “hills” (not a compaint!). Only in Nepal can you call one to four thousand meter mountains, hills. Once past Pokara you begin the ascent.
Vegetation from peak to valley, you only begin to notice the many terraces for farming once you climb high enough to see what looks like steps leading up the mountain face.
Since I didn’t get a chance to roam around the Baglung area yet, I’ve yet to see how much the farmers here have done the same.
I quickly found the Chartare Youth Club (CYC) on the main street in Baglung. This organization is where the focal point office is located and where I’ll be basing myself. I grabbed my stuff from the top of the bus and walked into the CYC to find three smiling faces to help me along.
The focal point coordinator, Yogendra came a few minutes later and I met my newest friend. Yogendra is roughly my height, dark skinned with the look of a Tibetan and rail thin. He has a big smile, and although we’ve had some communication difficulties, we are hitting it off.
Unfortunately, I learned though that there was no internet at the CYC or even at Yogendra’s office, which is in another building. So it looks like I’ll be camping out at one of Baglung’s happening “cyber cafés”. I’m not expecting much more than dial-up. After some more details about my proposed work and what he will be doing in the next couple weeks, it was six o’clock and the traffic in the office picked up as there was a gathering of the senior staff of CYC.
Just one of the many beautiful views in Baglung. It only gets better without the clouds.
After the amazing send off that COCAP gave us in Kathmandu, I was thinking it would be an official welcoming party. Yogendra told me I would be saying a few words, but luckily I wasn’t the center of attention. A very important group took that honor.
Around 16 young adults were taking an oath of commitment (that included no alcohol or tobacco) as part of their final day of training for the microfinance project made famous by Muhammad Yunus, which won him the Nobel Peace Prize. They will soon be full time CYC staff members and you could see the nervousness on their face as they answered questions for the group.
After the ceremony I went to my hotel to crash. Unfortunately, the stars were aligned against me getting a sound nights sleep. I had a family of cockroaches to contend with as well as some bed bugs who seemed to love the fresh meat. Well, here’s to hoping there is somewhere else I can sleep without the company.
Posted By Tassos Coulaloglou
Posted Jun 13th, 2007