Whilst in Nepal I lived with a Nepalese host family and 7 other volunteers. The host family were quite well off for Nepalese standards – their house was 4 stories high with the first two stories being the kindergarten they owned. The third story was their living area with a kitchen, dining area, 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. The top floor was the volunteer floor with 3 bedrooms (well, one big room with divider walls cutting it into 3 smaller rooms) and our bathroom (consisting of a broken shower head, a foot tap, a basin, a mirror, a toilet and lots of buckets). The advantage of the top floor was that it had a nice view and roof access. The downside – so many stairs!!
I was slightly surprised and very glad that we had our own bathroom, lights and power points in our rooms except that the power only worked in 4 hour sections twice a day because of the electricity shedding Kathmandu has in place. This meant that when the electricity wasn’t on, not only did the lights not work but the water didn’t run and the toilets didn’t flush – quite a problem when you have 8 people living together with multiple tummy upsets! We all got used to it though and it just became part of the daily routine.
We lived on a back street about a 5 minute walk from the main road into Patan from Kathmandu. It was quite a busy little street and there was a small fruit market at the end of the street which was handy. Our house was also close to a small supermarket and the local bus stop – again very handy! However, like all streets in Nepal it was extremely dirty and dusty. Technically the road was sealed however the seal had broken down so much that it was really just a rocky dirt road. There were also piles upon piles of rubbish on the side of the road that the locals would sweep up everyday, only to have the chickens, dogs and cows go through it and mess it all up again. Cows are also sacred in Nepal, which basically means they can do whatever they like! Including walk up and down main roads – you get in huge trouble if you hit a cow whilst driving!
Overall it was a really fantastic experience and I would love to go back again, there are a few things I would do differently though – the main one being stay for longer!
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