My Recent Visit to Nepal

One of the nice thing we have observed on Rohantime is the diversity of exploits and endeavours members of the Rohantime community are up to. Some great stories are coming in to Rohantime from dedicated very long standing Rohan customers. This story from Barbara Holl is a great example. We first caught up with Barbara on Rohantime Facebook. Barbara has been involved in creating a new NGO to protect the interests of children resident in a hostel near Sundarijal National Reserve, on the edge of the Kathmandu Valley.

I planned my visit and booked my flight in May 2009 hoping that my husband would have recovered from his two hip operations to cope without my cooking and help. The plan was, this time to stay only three maximum four weeks. The timing was to ensure that the main festivals of Deshain and Tihar/Deewali had finished and that I might to able to start and conclude some work for the charities I am actively involved with. I underestimated the number of days lost to nationwide strikes.

The pleasure and leisure aspects of the visit were to see my adopted Nepali family and assess their progress since I was last with them in 2007. During that visit we were able to open bank accounts for the children and also their mother Sita. I encouraged them to save small amounts of money and they took this on board as we had kept a crock money box each year since I became their guardians.

This visit saw Arjun ( father and trekking guide) ask me to fund a special visit for his parents to the sacred temple at Manakamana. His parents would leave the village in Langtang and come to Kathmandu and the next day we would take the tourist bus to the cable car for the ride up to the village. The most significant aspect was for the parents to make offerings at the temple but before this could happen we had to wait in line for the cable car and then in the square with the temple again wait in line for more than 4 hours to reach the inside and receive a blessing and make their offerings of fruit, nuts and flowers.

standing in line manakamana journey job done
The protocols dictate that fasting must take place from waking until after the offerings have been received. The number of people feeling ill and needing some help gave me an opportunity to assist even though I was the only white face amongst a sea of brown. The number of sacrifices and offerings made of live animals did not bode well for Arjun or his parents. The previous day, Saturday 12th was New Moon when no animal sacrifices could be made and therefore there were double the number on the Sunday, the day of our visit. It was also the day I had planned to be flying back to the UK, but I needed to complete the tasks for the charities so accepted that I would be in Kathmandu until the end of the year.

Our journey back to Kathmandu seemed never ending and the traffic volumes swelled in line with the number of large potholes and broken down trucks. I had made my extended family happy that they fulfilled their obligation as Hindu Brahmin to make a visit to a sacred temple. Thank you is not a sentiment expressed in Nepal but Arjun and Sita acknowledged the “gift”.

Dr. Barbara C Holl PhD, MSc, LLB, C.Eng. Contact Barbara

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