Sunday in Pokhara
Sunday, another day off from the work at the school and another day to take in the local sights and culture. It rained very hard overnight and there was a pretty good thunderstorm at about 2 am. The morning featured a strong mizzle but it didn’t dampen our plans.
Hotel Crown is run by a lovely woman (I fear the British is wearing off on me a little) named Sushila who works very hard to make sure we have what we need. She employs several very hard working young women who always seem to be cleaning or working on something. She is married but, like many Nepali men, her husband is out of the country earning money. He is in Colorado working construction jobs and she thinks he may return in two or three years. She does talk to him daily but she misses him.
Sushila and her crew makes our breakfast, does our laundry and worries about my knee.
She also has what we think might be the only pug in Nepal. Certainly we have never seen another one even though we have seen many, many dogs. Bruno is his name and he is a brave protector of the hotel and us.
Bruno, the watch-pug.
Sushila and Bruno.
Our first stop was the Tal Barahi Temple, a Hindu temple located on a tiny island in the lake. Tal is “lake”, Barahi is a god. Transportation to and from the island is via pontoon boats (actually two canoes with a platform tied to it) that have benches for 12 and a roof. One person paddles the boat the 200 yards or so to the island. It was not unlike the commute to Seattle except that everything is different. Part if the process is that we all had to have life vests.
Looking through the gloom towards the shore where the boats depart for the island.
Looking towards the island where the temple is.
On the island there are a couple of buildings that provide some cover, a few stalls for vendors and the temple itself which is quite small.
Looking towards the temple.
There was a place to watch fish. Apparently, there were a lot of fish to watch.
The temple is very small and only a few people can be inside at one time. There were a lot of locals there who came to give offerings and be blessed by the priest. The team also went in to get a blessing and a tikka, a red mark on the forehead along with some flowers sprinkled on their heads.
Locals with offerings.
Waiting to enter the temple.
Team with tikkas.
The temple is surrounded by bells. You are supposed to walk around the temple (clockwise only) and ring the bells for good luck.
Some more offerings.
The next photo is of our “driver” pulling us away from the island. Tara is the gentleman seated on the left. He is responsible for all of our outside activities and logistics. He set us up with the wonderful guides, assistant guides and porters for the trek, all of our transportation to and from the project school and sightseeing activities. He came with us on this trip to make sure everything went well and answered all of our questions about what was what and why.
In the early afternoon we went to a place called SASANI (an acronym for Samrakshak Samuha Nepal) which is a place that tries to teach life skills and otherwise support women who have been rescued from human trafficking. The place we went to houses 6 – 8 women where they learn to operate a business or become a paralegal. They offer a program where individuals or groups can learn to make momos, have a lunch of dal bhat and learn about their mission. They also sell bracelets made by the women, a book called “Sold” about one women’s story of being sold into human trafficking, and cookbooks.
The highlight, other than learning about their programs and work they are doing was making momos. Momos are essentially the Nepali version of a pot sticker – a dough wrapper around some kind of stuffing. We made them from scratch.
Loretta mixed the dough – flour and water – by hand:
While everyone else chopped the onions, scallions, cabbage, and carrots.
Next they squeezed all the water out of the cabbage and carrots.
And everything was mixed together.
Next a little ball of dough is flattened onto a round circle. There are several different shapes that momos come in. We were looking for flower shaped momos.
Once the round dough was ready and there was some filling dropped in the middle it was time to fold it up.
This seemed easy when they showed us how to do it but it took a lot of effort.
Some retraining was necessary…
Which resulted in variable levels of success:
When they were done, they all went into two large steamer trays to be steamed.
We got to eat the finished product and they were quite good.
In the evening we decided to go to Godfather’s Pizza to have dinner. The rain started coming down in buckets like it does here so we all got soaked on the half-block return to the hotel. It continues to rain in buckets. Hopefully it will slow down so we can get to the project tomorrow. There are two classrooms that need painting.
To browse all of my photos from this day go here.