Thursday morning began with a trip to the bank to withdraw some Nepali rupees so we would have enough money to pay our interpreter, buy food/meals, pay for transportation, and buy local Nepali crafts and/or art to display/auction off at V.A.S.T. fundraisers. The loud city sounds, and smoggy and dusty air seemed more noticeable today compared to the quietness of the hilly countryside where we spent last week. The mooing, blaaaaating, cockadoodling, and groaning (buffalo) have been replaced by horns honking, and the occasional siren. The ominous singing and preaching from hillside temples (5:40 – 6:15 am) replaced with dogs barking, people talking, and soooooo many motorcycles.
We had an interesting discussion with our housemate (another Canadian, teaching school aged children grades 5-9) about teaching grade 7 and 8 children a Justin Bieber rap song (God help us all!). Apparently the Biebs is popular amongst Nepali children. Juanita, the teacher, said the grade 5 class is difficult to control, and she would like to take a fire hose and spray the whole class every morning to calm them down. At that juncture, Sangita arrived (preventing possible inappropriate suggestions) and we left the house for more adventures in Kathmandu.
The carrying of boxes continued, as we (of course) left the house with a box of left over veterinary supplies to donate to a lucky Nepali veterinarian. Our amazing tour guide/interpreter Sangita, was actually able to hook us up with a veterinarian at the only vet college in Kathmandu! It was an exciting visit and a guard even met us at the entrance to the campus (and Gin voluntarily relinquished the box she was carrying to be examined).
The school is actually an agriculture/vet school where students can choose to complete a three year agriculture degree or continue on following the three years of agriculture for two more years to complete a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Medicine. We enjoyed a tour of the school and noted the pickled animals, parasites, and tumours in the various labs. The ag students were participating in a lab where they were making sausage and dressing chickens properly. Don’t be fooled, a properly dressed chicken is not one wearing a suit and tie, but naked with no feathers. Apparently aggies everywhere know how to have a good time.
Following the tour we had tea and a very productive discussion with the small animal vet/professor and the directorate of animal health for Nepal (at least we considered it productive – poor Sangita was wishing that she hadn’t found the school!). We discussed the work we had done in the Nuwakot district of rural Nepal, disease concerns in animals in Nepal and Canada, and funny (subjective term) vet horror stories. The visit to the vet college lasted a little longer than anticipated (as mentioned Sangita almost feel asleep), but it was well worth it given the information exchange, networking, and the potential for future collaborations.
We continued on our journey (without the box) to a non profit organization call SAATH. We are not sure what that stands for however the organization works with marginalized children, women who are in the sex trade, children affected with and effected by HIV and AIDS, and people affected by the April 2015 Earthquake. (SAATH loosely stands for “Support Together”). We had a tour of the several story house-like building where women were sewing clothing and bags and other members were practicing drama, given to us by the founding woman of the organization. The facility was very inviting with bright colours and motivational quotes decorating the walls (how can you go wrong with a motto like “hakuna matata”??). There was even a music room with instruments where people in the program could go to relax and rock out. Many of the women had no skills initially when they began the program, however, following a year of training were able to sew clothes and bags. The clothing and bags even have an official tag on them with the name of the group. The kind and inviting women in charge of the program told us about an upcoming fundraiser and quenched our thirst with mango juice boxes.
We enjoyed a late lunch following the SAATH visit at a restaurant with a sketchy curtain and back room. Only time and the toilet will tell if that was a good idea.
Darkness enveloped Kathmandu by 5:45 pm, and we enjoyed watching the night life on the streets while looking for calcium citrate for Gin (she has consistently had low calcium since a thyroid removal 7 months ago), and art or crafts to bring home to Canada to be displayed or auctioned off during V.A.S.T. fundraisers. Tonic attempted to convince her that she should go and get checked, since there had been some numbness and cramping in her hands and feet, but true to form Gin bolted the opposite direction every time we neared a clinic.
We made our way back to the house by a combination of bus and walking. The moon looks amazing tonight since it is about ¾ full and orange. We are not sure how Orion is hanging out in Canada right now, but here in Nepal he is lying on his side, like a centerfold pose for a pornographic astronomy magazine (damn the fact that he isn’t an actual person).
Good night and don’t let the bed bugs bite (although they may have been biting Gin last night given the welts on her legs)!
Love Gin & Tonic