Postcard from Nepal -2010 visit

8 Nov 2010

The festival time here is a time of celebration for all…. Much noise, singing in the streets and endless firecrackers. Saturday night Suraj wanted me to go to his friend’s house, so after the 30 ride into town I met him and his friend and followed them out of town to “God knows where”.

“God knows where” is an expression that has perhaps lost its original meaning – for I had no idea where we were heading, but a real sense that “God knows”.

We arrived at a house smeared with the days tika in order to welcome Lakshmi – It looked like a 70’s squat or one of the many houses we see on the news in war torn suburbs around the world… there were about 20+ young people all over the place eating various things from a variety of plates/containers…. After some introductions we went onto the roof, and there I was given a plate of food, and watched as the members of the household set off various cheap fireworks… After an hour or two I left for the ride home, with some clear directions that would get me back to my room. Riding through Kathmandu at night is suicidal excitement – the roads keep giving way to lunar surfaces of potholes and loose stones – pedestrians, cyclists, cars and bikes all appear out of nowhere sharing either side of the road according to the best road surface….

And all the while I was passing groups singing, chatting by roadside fires, and kept alert by the frequent fire crackers… The school is amazingly quiet during the festival, often only the volunteers around to be with the children… And most of the children spend most of the holidays crammed into a small dark room watching TV.

My few remaining days are filled now with completing details of all that we have been discussing for the future of the school, meetings to see if we can get plans into practice and some commitment to funding. School starts again tomorrow so I will have a couple of full days with the kids – but am aware of so many loose ends to tie up before I leave.  I just finished reading “Forget Kathmandu” and have started reading “Arresting God in Kathmandu”… it is certainly a place that is hard to forget and a place where God is apprehended in the most unusual of settings… It is also a landscape, which asks so many questions… I feel like the onion layers of my being are pealed away to open up new (and old) experiences of being.

There is no sophistication here…. but then what purpose does ‘sophistication’ serve? Is our richness is found in poverty, is our complexity is found in simplicity?

As my orientation turns to leaving, I wonder what will be packed up to bring back with me… and I’m also aware of so much to catch up on my return. It is a delight to know that wherever we are we share a common ground, we are held and we hold a delightful togetherness that crosses continents, cultures, and time. I rejoice that we are held in one Divine eternity.

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