Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Kids and Leopards
Aama: 'Mother' This is the most esteemed matriarch of the Neupane family. She is a mother of 15 and has already out lived 8 of her children. Sitting here with her eldest son, I thought she looked most dignified. Although we could not speak directly to one another, I was honored by her presence and welcomed by her impeccably raised and generous family. Many, many thanks to Aama and to her family.
If you look to the left of Aama, you will see a rock. This is a pestle. The mortar is the stone beneath it. It is where Aama grinds her spices. We accidentally sat on the mortar, but we were forgiven.
They had an out house with running water, it was cold, but you could still take a shower if you wanted. We met a young woman named Mary who was a doctor from Texas volunteering at the local hospital for a couple of months. She had come up the hill to the Neupane's home for a shower. Dr. Mary told us that the prevailing illnesses at the hospital were a mystery rash and parasitic dysentery. In Nepal, diarrhea is the leading cause of death for children under 5.
Our first course was boiled salted potatoes. We peeled them with our fingers and ate about 4 potatoes each.
JR's wife did a tremendous job of feeding so many guests. She spent a long time carefully picking through and cleaning the rice. We sampled a rice wine made by a neighbor, and we had stewed spinach. She made spicy potatoes with home made butter out of the left over potatoes from earlier. There were even a few cubes of spiced goat meat for everyone.
After dinner JR played the drum for us and sang. Belief and his cousin danced and we were well entertained until we could barely hold our heads up any longer.
Before we turned in, JR carried the kids (baby goats) and the calf inside a storage room, put them under baskets and barred the door. This was to keep the leopards from eating them at night. Apparently the leopards usually leave the larger animals alone. I made certain that the bar was down on our door before we turned out our lights and climbed into our sleeping bags, just in case.