When I am thinking about my time at Kavresthali (beautiful village just outside Kathmandu), the one thing that I always remember is the roof of the house where I stayed. You are probably thinking why it is so important, it is only the regular roof right? During my time there it became the place for the most exciting conversations, dancing lessons and it was a perfect spot for exploring Kathmandu valley as well.
My family had a cow, which they would milk in the evening and every day the neighbour’s daughters would come to our house to get some milk. The girls would always come in early before the cow was even milked and we would spend a good half an hour singing with them and learning Nepali dances. The language wasn’t the barrier – all you needed was an open mind and a smile. After they would leave we would continue sitting on the roof, enjoying the lights of Kathmandu valley and the ones of the fireflies, waiting for electricity to reach our house and creating various stories. My favourite story was about the lizard who was the wizard of light. We would imagine him making decisions on who gets electricity, pressing the right buttons an then suddenly the light would reach our house and we would be called in for a plate of dhal bhat, leaving little green lights to circle around our village.
The roof was our evening place, but it is just one of many memories from Kavrestali. Days in the village were always full of colours and surprises. There would be always people in the house that we did not know and they would always be brothers and sisters. You never knew who was actually related who was not, but it didn’t matter – every person would bring a new different colour into our lives.
(the local shop)
I remember one evening we were making plates and bowls from some random plant leaves. The next morning we found out why. One brother’s mother died 11 months ago and every month he would come to our house to perform a ceremony for gods. These bowls would be used for the ritual and would be filled with loads of various things such as food, money etc.That day there was a Guru in the house, a lot of food and random people and I was allowed to watch the ceremony. To be honest I never understood what every little thing used for the ceremony meant, but it was a captivating experience.
Death was all around all the time, completely natural, never hidden nor forgotten. The man died in our village one day and we could observe the entire body preparation from our roof. The body then was burned, however women were not allowed to go to the river to watch. During my entire time in Nepal I was surprised how many different rules there were related to death, but maybe I will tell you more about that in another blog post.
Let’s talk about happier things. What I really loved about living in Kavresthali was a strong sense of community – it felt that everyone was helping each other, they were working and having fun together. They always included me, some stranger who came from a random country and could barely speak any Nepali. Couple of times I was invited to plant rice – such a hard but fun experience. Planting rice was tough, but the mud fights, smiles, singing and dancing will never be forgotten.
I had a really beautiful time in Kavresthali and it will always stay in my heart.
(The road to Kavresthali)