Welcome to our story, which began during the 2002 Festival of Lights in Kaskikot, Nepal. Or in any case, that’s when this blog starts.
You can read about how I first got to Nepal here. But the short version is that there wasn’t much of a reason I went, or a plan for what I’d do, and even though I still spend a few months a year in my home village of Kaskikot and run a nonprofit, at the end of the day I would be lying if I said this blog was about a social work. You can read about that on the organization website. This story pretty much starts out because I wanted go live in a village in Nepal and get to know people. That’s it. That’s the whole story.
I’d just turned 22 when I first went to Kaskikot, and I ended up living with a widow and her two daughters, Didi and Bishnu. It was through their eyes, in an all women’s household, that I entered a rural society dominated by men but nourished by women. This extraordinary situation offered infinite opportunities for the unimaginable, because we were all kind of different. Their family already didn’t fit the rules.
I’ve been keeping journals in Nepal for over a decade, and a lot of what you’ll read here comes from those. Or from an email list that started with a note to my parents and a few old friends over a dial up connection in Pokhara, and then grew to nearly 200 people, due in part to nice old ladies on New York City Transit buses asking about the origins of my winter hat, and in part to the wonder that in the 21st century a letter can be replicated and sent to others and others and again others until one letter has 200 duplicates of itself in 200 places, while its author is innocently off pounding wheat with a wooden mallet in a village in Nepal.
Sections of this blog are also remastered from my thesis in creative nonfiction writing. And then some of it I just thought about while I was sitting here right now. And some of the entries are reflections or anecdotes I collected from people who have been part of my life in Nepal. You’ll figure it out. I’ve listed everyone below for reference.
Thanks for keeping us company.
Laura, Aamaa, Didi, Bishnu, Prem, Aidan, Pascal, Govinda, and of course, all the animals.
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