Day 1 in Nepal – Hot showers and toilet paper are king!
In my continuing personal journey to make a difference and uplift other women around the world, I have travelled to Nepal with my friend, Belinda Smith, to help build a family home with Habitat for Humanity. This journey, though, is not just teaching us about Nepali life and culture, it is a constant reminder of all that we are grateful for in our own lives… Mel xx
DAY 1 – WHAT WE HAVE REALISED WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR AT HOME…
Mel: A good flow of running hot water in the shower.
Bel: Toilet paper, every square is precious.
DAY 1 – KATHMANDU
Today Belinda and I arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal, and headed to our hotel in an area called Thamal. We love it here!
Dirt roads wind through the area and are lined with small merchant shops selling Tibetan singing bowls, silver and stone jewellery, cashmere scarves, home-made Nepali knick-knacks and knock-off North Face hiking gear.
Prayer flags are strung back and forth across the bustling the streets below.
Belinda and I explored Thamal on foot talking, as best we could, with the Nepali merchants who are so friendly and polite. Though they wanted us to go into their shops, they were not pushy or pestering. They just smiled and asked us inside. If we declined, they politely said ‘Namaste’ (goodbye).
We came across one particular shop that we loved. It had a range of brightly coloured bags and homewares made from recycled lolly wrappers, tyres and rice bags.
An organisation called Jeevan Kala Art for Life runs the shop. The women who make the products earn wages sufficient to support themselves and their families. Any profits from the organisation support Himalayan Healthcare which provides healthcare, education and income generation to people in need in rural Nepal.
Knowing this, Belinda and I bought a couple of products – Belinda a handmade cushion and me a satchel bag made from rice bags.
Our hotel room is basic but comfortable, however, Bel and I have come to realise how much we value a shower with more than five streams of water …. and toilet paper. Yes, there is a general lack of sufficient toilet paper in Nepal…something I learnt last year when I was here. It would seem that Nepali people are not big on toilet paper and use other means. The good thing is we bought extra from home and found a shop down the street the sells rolls for 10c a pop!
Our hotel conserves its power usage by turning off power to the rooms and the lift during the day. This is actually very common in Nepal and is done to supply other parts of the country with electricity.
Finally, we met our Habitat for Humanity build team back at our hotel. There are 15 of us in total…13 women and two men. In the morning we fly to Biratnagar, which will be home base for the week of the build and get ready to begin work!