Wrapping up. Chapatis, tea and talk.

The staff meeting was to begin at 1:30. At 2pm people were beginning to gather. There seemed to be no agenda but we began. Everybody chatted and the agenda made itself apparent. Chapatis and spicey potatoes and cups of tea were brought in. People wandered in and out and at one point I thought I’d better give my prepared report on my visit. So I did. I wanted to avoid being rude and inappropriate, but the more I suggested the more they nudged me to be more direct. The staff received everything I said with such receptive kindness that it was humbling. Truly amazing how different behavior can be in another culture, and yet we really do understand and respect each other. There is something about the way things work here that is both frustrating and extremely refreshing at the same time. I will miss it. The slow pace is both pleasant and irritating by turns. Nothing happens and things surprise you and all of a sudden, it’s done. Birth can be like that too, can’t it?

I had my Dal Bhatt this evening, with the realization that I won’t be eating it many times more. I rode the bus on my 15 cent ride through the dirty streets knowing I would soon be breathing the marginally less polluted air of Texas. I walked through the throngs of pedestrians, narrowly missed by hooting motor bikers, knowing how much I would miss the street life, the noise and variety of Kathmandu in suburban Dallas.

Women are women, midwives are midwives, and birth is birth, but Nepali style it’s all a bit different, wonderfully so. Thank you Kathmandu. And lots of love.

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Eating and drinking Nepali

Amos, this one is for you.

Love the food here. Great for vegetarians. Again, the influence of both India and Tibet but independently Nepali. Nepalis have a very light breakfast: a cup of tea perhaps and maybe a piece of fruit or something very small to go with it. Loads of types of tea. The classic is Masala milk tea. I don’t like it much. Also lots of plain back tea (usually sweetened) (Drinking some now as I write, of course). Also, jasmine tea, mint tea and lots more. I love hot lemon with honey… basic and good. Around 10:30 or 11, the Nepalis break for brunch, which is Dal Bhat, litereally a plate of lentil soup and rice, but can be so much more, with added curries and vegetables and chutneys and maybe meat and even yogurt. Then, early afternoon, time for a snack. This “roti” could be a bit of anything but that’s when I have my small cup of bean soup with a piping hot chapti or two. A unique Nepali snack is momos: vegetable or meat dumpings, steamed or fried with a spicey dipping sauce. Dinner is…. Dal Bhat again…. and while this sounds boringly repetetive, dal bhat does have a lot of variation to it. Pretty healthy way to live. And for me, tasty too. Indian options are lots of curries and tandoori, while Tibet has its own cuisine with heavy breads and soups such as Thukpa. Then to add a bit of interest, many ethnic groups in Nepal have their own cuisines. Newaris have some widely eaten dishes. The only one I have taseted is the “pizza” called chatamari.

Dal Bhatt, fancy version as brought to the table

Dal Bhatt, fancy version: lentila soup, veggie curry, garlic spinach

Dal Bhat fancy version mixxing it up
Dal Bhat fancy version mixxing it up with yogurt

"Roti" bean soup with chapati from the dive next to the birth center

“Roti” bean soup with chapati from the dive next to the birth center. Note puffy chapti hot off the fire.

Tibetan vegetable thupka
Tibetan vegetable thupka. Note chilis!

Newari chatamari ("pizza") made of rice flower
Newari chatamari (“pizza”) made of rice flower

Indian vegetable Biryani

Indian Vegetable Biryani

vegetable momos, also bought next to the birth center

vegetable momos, also bought next to the birth center

Indian sweets (half eaten) served on a takeaway plate made of leaves

Indian sweets (half eaten) served on a takeaway plate made of leaves

Mint tea... just mint leaves and water

Mint tea… just mint leaves and water

rakshi: millet vodka!

rakshi: millet vodka!

Toomba, millet beer

Toomba, millet beer