- Nepal-tar home
I have arrived in Gaighat at last in the district of Udayapur after a long yet peaceful journey. I am happy to report there were no bandhas (strikes) to interrupt the ride. It has been more than a week here in the center of the district and I have spent my time becoming acquainted with NESPEC and settling in with my new family. Gaighat is much more bustling than I expected with crowded streets in the market area with people buying goods ranging from color televisions to mangos. My Nepali is limited to a few words that include many gestures so there is much to learn since English speakers are limited.
The western luxuries found in Kathmandu are no longer found here as my daily meals consist of dahl bhat, Nepal’s national dish of lentils, rice and vegetable curry two times a day. I truly appreciate how almost all of my food is coming directly from the land with the fresh vegetables from my family’s garden.
Over the weekend I was able to enjoy the local food even more when Sova, the mother of the family I am staying with took me to her family’s house in Nepal-Tai west of Gaighat in the hillside. Much more remote than any areas I have seen so far I was able to see how rural farmers live and understand the cultivation process. This way of living was all very new to me since I did not grow up on a farm and never started a garden, all in which I feel very ignorant about. Planting and cultivating food is the means on how to live yet tragically I feel so far away from living off the land because of my American luxurious life. No bright, freezing cold super markets here. Since NESPEC works with farming committees and landless people this was an important experience for my future field visits to the many farming committees that NESPEC supports.
Just about every family has a rice field and some, if they are lucky like Sova’s family have mango, banana, corn, guava and many animals to keep their stomachs full. I am very proud of my organic local eating that I would not be able to keep up in America and have even introduced the term “organic” to others here. It was fascinating to see rice being planted; the cultivation season certainly brings the entire community together. The traditional dress in the hillside area is the Guneyocholai that consists of a sari and a long sleeved blouse. In the excruciating heat women plow the rice and cultivate in the hot sun.
This Saturday NESPEC will hold it’s monthly meeting in which plans for next month will be made. I will then coordinate which areas I will be visiting in order to profile for NESPEC’s food security campaign with Action Aid.
Posted By Morgan St. Clair
Posted Jul 23rd, 2009