Friday, May 30, 2008
Just as the READ libraries around the country are zones of peace for the people of Nepal, the READ office in Baluwatar is a zone of peace for me in Kathmandu. From 5am until 10pm my world is a noisy mix of traffic, chatter, Sadhus (holy men) chanting, horns honking, bike bells ringing, and dogs barking. LOTS of dogs barking. These noises are not only heard on the paved roads but on the uneven brick thoroughfares, and down the alleyway where I live. Another layer of stimulation is the dust. Since many of the roads I travel are dirt, the covering of dust each day is amazing. I look like I’m getting a tan! The final elements of sensory stimulation are the smells: incense, dung, curry, spices, and mud. I love it. Yet, when I close the gate to the READ courtyard it is nice to leave it all behind for a little while. The READ house is surrounded by a brick wall and located down a dirt alley off a paved road. Behind the wall lies a blooming flower garden. Each day a READ volunteer brings us a fresh bouquet. VOLUNTEERS!?!, you ask? Yes, just like the Clinton School we have volunteers at READ. Each morning, along with the flowers, they bring me bottle water and serve Nepali tea. One of the volunteers, Gheeta (sp?), has the sweetest smile and two of the cutest children you’ll ever want to see. Watch for their photos as I post my Picasa web albums. The people here are great and the work atmosphere is calm. I share an office with Tee, a college-aged student volunteer, with whom I discuss politics and culture each day. We are having a good time deconstructing America. Downstairs is a reading room filled with books and those of you who know me well understand how that adds to my sense of peace. In fact, today, I gave my 100 rupees and 3 passport size photos (you give photos here for everything) and became of member of the READ library. I checked out a book on micro-economic development in Nepal and a collection of one page Buddhist readings to read before morning meditation. Peace out!