Late evening on the first day

Where to begin?  Our first day has been full of new images, sounds, smells and informstion overload!!  Kathmandu reminds me in many ways of Delhi and of Bucharest as it was back in 1990.  It is dirty, polluted, overcrowded, full of poverty and deprivation on a level you can’t imagine if you haven’t been somewhere similar and yet ….. it is teeming with life, the people are incredibly positive and welcoming and there is a buzz in the streets and great hope for the future in  people’s hearts, even though the evidence of change is small and moving at a very slow pace.

We had a fascinating walk from the “backside” of the hotal as our young guide described our route out – to the office of Social Tours who manage the logitics of our stay and the project in the school and orphanage. Nima LLama who is the director gave us a very detailed briefing and history of how Utam Sanjeel came to set up the school.  It is not quite as i had been told, but even more intriguing in a way – and made me think of Slumdog Millionaire.  basicall Utam, who had been given a huge helping hand into the film industry by someone he’d met as an impoverished youth, went to Mumbai (Bombay) to be part of a big bollywood production, where he was to have the part of the ‘bad-guy’.  Whilst filming he was so appalled by the number of young  Nepalese bots and girls who were there working as semi-slaves and/or prostitutes and rent boys that he decided he had to do something to stop them being sold out of Nepal by their families.  So he used his own money from the fol and oersuaded others in the inndustry to help and set up the first school – and that is where it all started. Tomorrow we go to visit both institutions and meet the staff and then work begins on Friday.

This evening we were taken to a wondeful traditional Nepalese restaurant in an old palace which used to be the home of the Monarch’s religious advisers – when there was still a monarch.  there was msuic and dancing, which suited me to a tee and the food was wonderful – six or seven courses, all beautifully frangranced with spices – and there was meat and fish, which surprised me, but was great to have.  We had time for some window shopping this afternoon and I found a music shop to which I will definitely be returning. Wonderful collections of traditional instruments at very reasonable prices.  then narrow streets are hesving with trekkers and locals, all haggling for all they are worth and trying not to get run over in the process as the shops spill out right onto the unpaved roads which are full of potholes and mud. We seem to have gelled rlly well as a group and are all feeling much more confident about coping with wjatever is thrown at us.  Trips to Pokhara and a flight over Everest are being planned and will rpovide some very welcone R&R at then end of each week.  ntil tomorrow …….


2 Responses to “Late evening on the first day”

  1. Chris Says:

    Hi Meg,
    I’m getting to be a blogging competent! Hwever, I can’t compete with you for interest. I got home late last night for the second day … evening class. I watched Holby City, went to bed and woke up at 6.45 (LATE!) The dogs were not walked and now I’m back at college. It’s starting to feel like a tread mill. Your days sound more interesting:- dangerous, muddy, information-overload. Burton-upon-Trent ain’t like that & Abbots Bromley is just wet fields and middle class folks off to work.

    Hope you are receiving my bulletins, boring though they be.
    Take care.
    Chris x

  2. anne from finland Says:

    It sounds very fascinating! It is so nice that we can all read what you´ve seen and done there. Have a nice weekend!

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