Friday, October 23, 2009

Cynthia's Report on Taulihawa

It felt like time to leave Kathmandu though it was sad to say farewell
to Deepak and his wonderful family. After a 2-hour wait, we caught our
flight to Bhairhawa, a very short 35-minute flight.

The taxi from the airport to Lumbini dropped us in a very dusty street
next to a "rustic"
Garden Hotel. The room had two single beds, each with a single sheet
and a mosquito coil. In its favor was an attached, though barely
functional bathroom with a non functional shower.

We visited the sacred sites of Lumbini in the afternoon. Much of it
was familiar from our previous visit and some was new. The grounds
were better maintained than I had recalled and it felt less forgotten
than it had on our previous trip.

The following afternoon, having explored the other temples and
monasteries in Lumbini, we climbed aboard a crowded bus to Taulihawa,
the village of David's Peace Corps experience. At stops along the way,
a few people would get off, but many more would get on. The bus
conductors were hanging on the outside of the bus, making sure no
passengers fell out of the opened doors as we bounced along the narrow
rutted road.

I don't know if it was our gray hair or our foreign appearance, but
the conductors insisted that David and I have seats. Once seated,
there was no wiggle room and it was necessary to hold ones feet on tip
toe or they were stood on by one of the standing passengers. I had fun
imagining the meaning of the conversations going on around
me. When we peeled out of the bus at our destination, we found a
rickshaw to take us to the home of David's friend, Dinesh.

Our stay with Dinesh Gyawali's family was delightful. We know Sumita,
the eldest daughter because she had lived with us for a few months
when she first arrived in the USA. Her younger brother and sister were
also there since it was holidays for them. It is obvious they are a
close knit family and there was a great deal of joy and celebration.
We were treated like treasured long lost family.

David is truly a celebrity here and everyone has their own stories of
experiences with him that they treasure. It was fun for me to sit back
and be the observer of such rejoicing. Our visit with Julian and
Allison of 14 years ago was recalled with great pleasure and they
wanted to know what each of the kids were doing now. We were shown
many pictures, some framed, taken with our family on that trip.

It has been humbling to spend time here with people living very simple
lives of necessity (and in some instances of choice) and yet
experience the generosity of spirit that expects nothing in return. I
am grateful to have returned here.

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