Saturday, March 31, 2007

Weekend getaway

It is starting to get warmer in Nepal and the perfect weather for weekend trips. I am lucky enough to live less than 2 hours drive from Bardiya national park – the perfect spot for weekend trips.
We were 12 friends leaving Nepalgunj early Saturday morning to get to the park in time for a full-day rafting trip on the Karnali river, the longest river of Nepal. 7 years ago I was on a 10-day rafting trip on the same river but further up north. It was a wild trip with lots of white water. This weekends rafting was quite different. The river was very calm and we could just float along enjoying the nature and the cold beer. However, there were other elements of excitement such as river dolphins, beautiful birds and a rhino with its baby. We stayed on the river to watch the sunset and reach our lodge just as it became dark. All in all a really beautiful trip.

The following day we went on a jungle walk hoping to see a glimpse of a tiger. However, being 12 tourists walking around between the trees makes more than enough noise to warn any tiger with a kilometer. Still, the nature was great, the monkey funny and the “bambis” adorable.

It was a wonderful weekend and far from the last weekend spent in Bardiya – actually I have already planned a trip in 10 days with my colleague, Jeppe, and his family. Now is the perfect time to spot tigers so I will try again – this time in a smaller group ;-)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

News from Nepal - and Anne

I know that it has been a while since I last wrote on this blog, but the routine of every-day-life is getting to me. Still, here is a small update from my life:

MS’s annual meeting
In the beginning of February I went to MS annual meeting in Kathmandu. Representatives from all of our partner organisations were there as well as all development workers. Besides from this we also had prominent guests from Denmark namely, our general secretary, Frans Mikael (see the pix) and the vice chair of the MS board. It was an extremely interesting 3 day meeting and also a great opportunity to get to know many members of the MS family.

My bike
My motorcycle has finally arrived to Nepalgunj. Because of the many bandas it has been useful whenever cars are not allowed to drive on the roads. However, we have had a week of tropical storms and I learned the hard way that my North Fake rain trousers bought in Nepal 7 years ago no longer are water proof – so now the bike stays at home on rainy days.

My home
I have finally managed to furnish my apartment to a degree that I would actually call it a home. Still, I need to find lamps, plants and stuff to hang on the wall, which is quite challenging, since there is no IKEA in Nepalgunj. I have put a few pix for you.

At work my colleagues and I have just produced an action plan for me for the coming year. There plan contains many different assignments such as revision of monitoring system, baseline study of new Dalit groups, producing a new documentation system just to mention a few. There are plenty of things to do and lots of challenges which is how I like it. Unfortunately, the many bandas and fighting on the streets has made it difficult to go to the office so I have spent a lot of time at home lately.

It seems that everyone is getting married these days that I am to be involved in these festivities one way or another. Either through sleepless nights due to celebrations through big speakers blasting Indian music all over town or through invitiations to wedding of people I have never heard of. I have, however, only participated in one where I knew the brides brother. The others I have avoided since I still haven’t gotten used to going to weddings of total strangers. There is one wedding, though, that I regret haven’t attended namely, that wedding of a 12 year old girl and a fruit!!! A tradition belonging to the Newar people, which seems rather odd. It would have been extremely interesting to witness this ceremony but unfortunately I had an important meeting at the time of the wedding. Still, I hope that the happy couple - a girl and a fruit – will have a long and happy marriage.