We stayed in the community center, built a few years ago by members of our team, and were hosted by the most beautiful local woman, who we affectionately called Didi, which means "big sister" in Nepali. She cooked us two meals a day - daal bhat for lunch and daal bhat for dinner. Daal, which means "beans", and bhat, which means "rice", was a plate of white rice and a bowl of bean soup. You pour the soup over the rice and eat it with your hand. The first time I tried it, I think most of the daal bhat landed in my lap, not in my mouth. It's definitely an art, and I am proud to say that by the end of my two month trip in Asia, I had it mastered. In the early morning, and in the afternoon, she would serve us hot tea. Even though it was over 100 degrees outside, we would never pass up a cup of Didi's tea. I still crave it, hot and milky and so spicy.
This was the most simple village that we were at. There was limited electricity and I went a whole week without showering (thank God for baby wipes and lots of deodorant). We slept in bunks underneath mosquito nets, and here's the best part - no toilets. We used a "squatty potty", which was a hole in the ground, with ridges to put your feet in, and a bucket of water nearby to "flush" with. The people don't use toilet paper (that's what your left hand is for!) but we brought some to spoil ourselves. It's really not as bad as it seems, but it did make me gain an appreciation for Western toilets.
The people here were such hard workers. They were awake early - I saw them up by 4am every day and went to bed late - after dinner, which was usually at 8pm if not later. I often saw women carrying heavy containers of water in baskets which were secured around the head. Inspired by the work ethic we saw all around us, the team and I carried firewood up a hill to bless the widows of the town. I was way too weak to carry a whole bundle, so I picked up the stray pieces of wood that fell out of the other bundles. Even just carrying a stack in my arms was such hard work. Blame it on the altitude or the hot weather, but I give major kudos to all those who live and work in Dadhuwa.
The days were so hot. Even in the early mornings, sweat would be dripping down our arms as we prayed for a breeze. There was no relief. The nights were so cold, the coldest out of all the villages we stayed at (except for Jomsom - Jomsom wins for coldest, but that was thankfully only one night). We lived right across from a sheep pen, right next to chicken pens, and on the road where cattle and goats often were herded by. Needless to say, there was never a quiet moment. One afternoon, the sky went dark and we experienced the loudest thunderstorm. My roommate, who slept in the bunk directly beneath me, was shouting something, but I could not understand a single word. The rain on the tin roof, the thunder echoing through the village, the wind forcing the windows open with loud crashes, and the lightning lighting up the whole room. It was humbling and drew my thoughts to the Creator.
I think most of my Nepal stories come from our stay in Dadhuwa. From Didi's famous tea to the struggles of the squatty potty to the children we fell in love with. I can't write a post about Dadhuwa without mentioning the beauty of it. There was the most spectacular view of the mountains, the brightest stars, and so many different types of trees that it made me want to take another biology class (hear that, Dr. Guevin? Teach me more about tree recognition!). I loved this week so much - the simplicity won me over.