It all began from Kharkatta village, Madi valley, Chitwan. Maja decided to take some rest as well as start some writings for her report. Maja, an MSc student from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark was doing her field work for MSc thesis, in the Madi valley of Chitwan. I had the responsibility of assisting her. At first the plan was like, to finish the whole field work within a month, or stay for some more days if we didn’t become able to complete our target. But she wished to take a break after two weeks of work. She planned to go to Sauraha and stay there for a week. I had nothing to do (except for a few transcriptions), nowhere to go!
“Should I go to Kathmandu or Pokhara?” I don’t know. I can go anywhere. But I have to go to Bharatpur bus park at first and get a bus, for her, to Sauraha.
We left Kharkatta at 7:30 and reached the Bharatpur bus park at 11:30. The auto drivers started decreasing their price themselves; we just needed to stand silently for a while. After haggling with one of them for some time, she decided to take an auto rather than bothering to look for buses that would go only to another bus park but not to the hotel she had booked.
But where should I go?
I had made mind to go Pokhara because it had been quite long I hadn’t met my college friends. But the Mugling-Narayanghat road section was closed till 16:00 for maintenance. That meant I had to consume around 4 more hours.
What suddenly came to my mind is – Why not go to Sauraha! The auto was right in front! And I had never been to Sauraha! How lucky me! And I travelled towards Sauraha.
After wandering around Sauraha for about 2 hours, I went to the Pokhara bus park. When I reached there at 15:45, there was only one microbus to Pokhara crammed with people. And the khalasi was saying that was the last bus to Pokhara. Lol, the road opens at 16:00 and the khalasi was saying, at 15:45 that, that was the last bus. More amazingly, there were people who believed. How easily these people believe khalasis! No matter to me even if that was the last one. Because there was nothing that I needed to reach Pokhara the same day. I could stay around there and go Pokhara next day early. So I just waited for another bus.
But it took too long. No sooner had I decided to look for a hotel than the bus came. It came at 17:00. I boarded the bus!
It was obvious that I would reach late. I reached Pokhara at 22:00. Where would I go other than my Institute of Forestry! That is the only reason, that there is this campus, I go to Pokhara. That was that.
After two days at Pokhara, Professor Santosh Rayamajhi called and asked if I was free for 2-3 days. He only needed a friend to travel to Tansen, Palpa for some of his work. That too in his car.
Why would I deny! I had never been to Tansen. And I was aimless throughout the week!
But he told later that he needed to go up to Tamghas, Gulmi. And the journey to Tamghas began on Feb 21.
The whole day, we travelled to remote villages of Gulmi; Isma, Dhurkot, Madane etc.
The journey back to Pokhara began. We stopped and wandered around Ridi bazaar, Palpa for a while. And in the evening, at Pokhara again.
Now it was time to go to Madi for work. I had to reach Bharatpur on Sunday, Feb 25. Being unsure if I would stay at Mugling in the evening and start for Bharatpur early next day, I started my journey from Pokhara at around 13:00. Fortunately, I reached Narayanghat the same evening.
And the week-long destinationless travel ended!
[ Blog by Anja Schmidt, a masters student from University of Copenhagen, Denmark who was in Nepal for her research. We (me, Muna Sharma and Kripa Pokhrel) had assisted her for the research as well for the language. I have translated her German language blog with the help of Google Translate and posted here. You can find the original version here: https://anjanepal.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/research-finalized-forschung-beendet/ ]
Hello dear friends,
After 3 weeks of hard research, I am back from Pokhara. Even if I had in the time access to the net, it has not yet submitted to upload pictures or blog posts. But for now
On April 18, we are re-started, in a jeep, which has cost us a fortune. The ride was the same rafting experience as before, with the exception of one thing! The road was built, so we were (naturally without signage only by grapevine) redirected through the river basin and uh yes the river just I’ve never been so happy with four-wheel drive, which I can tell you. So we did not get stuck, the driver was so chilled that he joked one joke after another and just before the huge storm and thunderstorm we landed in Baluwa.We have thankfully also found a good homestay and ate again with the old woman, who has already hosted us on our last trip. “Ama, tharkari Denus na ra torre daal!” My Nepali enough now so far that I can order food without problems (vegetables and some daal). When I talk about vegetables, it is not like tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, zucchini, etc., it consists almost 80% potatoes and then either peas or spinach (chick peas, green peas) and if you are lucky, Okra, green Beans, cabbage or cauliflower. But since the season is not the best, it was mostly the first.
In Baluwa, we were able to quickly dig the few households and get all the data so that we are back up to Jhawa after 4 days. On the way, we met a few guys we already knew from previous interviews. They have played in the mountain river and have climbed a cherry tree up and down to get the cherries from the top branches. Man, man, because I have become a bit nostalgic, with the exception that they were 200x better climber than I did A boy has then also gedrück me a handful of cherries in the hand! Yes, fruits for eating!
In Jhawa everything has remained so far, except that Aunti has her daughter with baby there. The little one is so sweet-naturally I can not remember the name, so it was great again that all of them just called Nani! Little Nani was the sweetest girl ever, screamed at the oil massage, and slept otherwise;) On one of our days off, Aunti took the chance to put me in a sari, give me a tika, put on her jewelery and so on Neighbors! The white girl in a sari! It was pretty funny, Praerana attracted me and it had to of course the pictures are taken Tadaaa I in Sari:
And then it went on up and down the mountain, the households with children, which we had in the database. Can be funny, but is usually exhausting, especially if one must realize that felt half of the people have moved away. The earthquake has left a serious mark. The beautiful houses were all made of the earthquake, and the higher we got, the worse it became. Therefore, most of the people live in zinc bins without electricity (only a few solar cells on the roof for light in the evening and mobile phone charging) and really only inadequate water. As already mentioned in the morning and evening max 2 h. And we had sometimes really bad luck that the water was less than an hour on. The drought at the time is really bad, affects the harvest and indeed extremely on the water supply. There was hardly any rain in the time we were there, and the midday heat had half killed us. (Try to be in a corrugated hut at over 30 degrees. This is like a sauna gang only without cooling possibility)
For those who can not imagine really what we do all day because there, here’s a sample daily schedule:
5:00 rising and morning rituals
6-6: 30 Breakfast (mostly Roti – fried flatbread with vegetables) 6:30 To our households with children: we have questionnaires for the children between 8-14 years and also for a family member (mostly the mother), in addition we measure the children (weight, size, mittoberarm circumference), because I make statements about the nutritional state would like. The balance was there mostly the big highlight for almost any … When can one here otherwise times its weight measure
11:00 Lunch (exception Daal Bhat: Lentil soup with felt a kilo of rice and vegetables and sometimes Achar – pickled vegetables or leafy vegetables (horseradish, spinach, Gandruk, tomatoes)
11: 30-15: 00 recess, it’s very hot and there are no children at home now, during the holidays because they are in the woods, or help in the field and are in school just in school
15 : 00-19: to make 00 again from to households and try interviews
19:30 dinner (exception Daal Bhat said I night no more rice eaten have, so to speak Daal and vegetables for me)
We did not only do interviews/surveys, but also focus group discussions or with the children. In contrast to Praerana, unfortunately, I could not conduct informal conversations. So, unfortunately, if you do not speak the language. But then I concentrated more on the observation. 2 interviews I could lead and I hope that still some follow with NGOs.
In the evenings it was not boring, because a few others were also there. Researchers and Ingeneers. With which I’ve then in the evening times local alcohol approves rice uh well I do not know exactly. Neither proper wine, nor clear! The whole cup full, over 30% … wuhu I would not have watched, then it would have quickly turned 3. If they drink, then right! Well, was not quite my taste, but at least tried
Unfortunately this time the disease did not spoil us. First, it caught Muna and was so bad that she had to go back to Popkhara. Typhoid as a diagnosis, but thank God she is now well again. A new interpreter could come to thank God, Kripa, and we were all happy, otherwise we would have had to spend much longer in the field. Unfortunately Praerana was afterwards with illness and also that was no better and she is to Kathmandu to her family. And there it was only 3. Aditya, Kripa and I – last men standing.
Haha, we thought at least … .the day we were at 3000m altitude, I’ve got a fever attack, of course, and my runny nose has not made breathing easier. It was pretty cold up there and a shack made of corrugated iron and the toilet outside, making the location not really a health environment well, the next day after Lame for 4 hours (with paracetamol is everything) and back to Jhawa 2h. One of the Homestay owners has pressed me a plant to help to Aryuveda. All right, bring it on, so can not hurt what can I say, I was dead after the trip and really had to stay in bed. My two assistants have done great work in the time and have continued without me. Without the two I would probably not yet down.
The health post in Jhawa gave me then still offered blood to take off, but when I saw the room, which is about as clean as a workshop, I have rejected and that now in Pokhara afterwards fetched. Apart from a bad cold and a parasite I’m getting a rough ride So all again OK and I could for the first time today again go jogging.
The farewell to Aunti, the neighbors and children was sad despite everything. Aunti has every vice depends on us a prayer shawl and Tika added, symbolizing luck on our way group picture, press and then off you go to Pokhara!
So here I am, enjoying the diverse food – by 95% Daal Bhat and 5% Roti – I could not wait to eat a few fruits and to polish off some spaghetti Next, the data is sorted and some pre-analyzed before I 10 days disappear to yoga and then (FINALLY) Anne comes
I hope you are all well and the sun and heat has now arrived in Europe! Take care of yourselves!
See you soon, Your Anja