There is a place

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There is this place in Nepal . . .

a place where time stands still, life is full of adventures both big and small, and people pass time by sitting//watching//gossiping// drinking tea//dancing and wrestling in the mud.

The place is Letang. And it is one crazy, special place. A place I find very difficult to describe or understand.

The internet these days is slower than ever these days and it is hard to begin to recollect these past few days. The journey back from Kathmandu was far more manageable than the journey there and I felt that part of me was missing while I was away.

As I write this now, I’m squinting, feeling better at last, but near-blind from a game of handball (*in a muddy rice paddy) yesterday. I gave myself over to the game and was left blind in one eye and covered head-to-toe in dark mud.

The days here are happy. We tend to loose count of the days and have little desire or intention to check our watches. It is a good way to live and I feel that I could keep doing this for a long, long time.

“Out beyond ideas

of wrongdoing and rightdoing,

there is a field.

I’ll meet you there.”

– Jelaluddin Rumi, 13th century

For now, I am thankful for this life. Thankful for these experiences and the lessons I have learned. Lessons learned about this place, this country,  human kind, and most of all, lessons about myself. I find that in living like this, in traveling, I come to better know myself. And even though it can be far from pleasant at times, it’s necessary, needed.

Until that next time. I never know when it could be. . .

[Photo: Outside. Letang//Grace Farson]

On Names

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A few days back, there was another bandha and all the schools were out. We ended up spending our day at a birthday party//coming of age party.

We were stuffed with dal and dahi (*a curd drink, that is never my favorite), painted with tikka, and asked to sing and dance until we were sore.

While at the party, we got on the subject of names. I was sad that after three trips to Nepal, I still did not have a Nepali name. Laxman, our friend//part-time guide around Letang, assigned us names and said mine from now on would be Batuli. Batuli, a name he translated to me as “cultural woman.”

It made me laugh and I heartily accepted it.

In Nepal and India, no one really gets me name or how to say it. It usually comes out something like “G-R-E-S” // “Grass” // or, if I’m really lucky, “Greese.”


In thinking through names, I remembered this (*an interview I did with my family members about names):


For now, I’m content with the names I have and the names I have been given.

All of them.

[Photos: A birthday/Coming of age celebration//Grace Farson]

The best part of each and every day

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The best part of each and every day here is tea time. The time of day when the world stops and everyone comes together, under the shade for tato dudh chiya.

I remember the first time I went to India, I hated the stuff. I thought it was ridiculously// unnaturally sweet, but now, it is something I crave.

I believe in the quiet moments.

I believe the quiet moments are when Nepal seems the most real. Because, most days, all this still seems like a dream.

My body these days is incredibly happy. Stretched out from all the yoga, strong from the trail runs in the heat or monsoon, full from all the chiya and dal bhat, and covered from head to toe in mehndi.


+ New posts on the ECCA Project blog here

+ Nikita’s post here


[Photos: Afternoon tea, Letang//Grace Farson]

Shakti//Power

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On the days we work in the field, life looks a bit like this. . .

Work in this heat isn’t easy (especially when everything is on fire), but on good days, the Nepali army even comes to help.

We have created a song about sweat (tato pascina)  and sing it with the kiddos here, who also come to help as we work. . .

x

[Photos: Working on the children’s park, Letang//Grace Farson]

What life looks like these days

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Bright. Beautiful. Big.

Our days are full of adventures -> in a new place -> in a new language -> in the heat -> in fields -> in forests . . .

And I couldn’t ask for much more than that right now.

“I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)I am never without it (anywhere
I go you go,my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate,my sweet)I want no world (for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)” – e. e. Cummings

[Photos: Around Letang, Nepal//Grace Farson]