The best way to understand a foreign culture is to jump right into it. Travelling is something not always easy. Out of ignorance or convenience, travelers often end up in the tourist areas of a city without missing the true life of the visited country.
Probably it would have gone to me in Nepal as well, if I do not the projects of Community Homestay had discovered. Tourists can get to know local families about the project, in which they stay then and live. This not only cultural exchanges will be encouraged; The project supports the creation of jobs, reduces by the rural exodus and simultaneously raises the living standards of local people.
On my trip through Nepal I immediately met two Homestays. Both were very different, but what they had in common was the intense experience of Nepalese culture and hospitality. Today I want to tell you about my first homestay experience in Panauti.
After my arrival in Panauti I made myself right on the way to my host family. I was extremely excited, what to expect in my new home for the next few days. How do people live here? Especially after the earthquake? How did they experience all this and like me, these people at this difficult time for them? A thousand questions buzzing through my head. But the anticipation was extremely large. At last I had the opportunity to look behind the facades. How often I go on my travels through the streets and try to imagine what it would look behind the closed doors and windows. What stories take place behind the walls, live what ideas and dreams there. Soon I would learn it. If we can communicate at all? I try to turn my thoughts and me simply embark on the adventure and then it starts.
I stand in the dark hallway of my host family. I have to bend slightly, as the ceilings are very low, suddenly I am torn by two old hands down. The grandmother of the family who briefly up enough over my belly, hugging me so warmly and enthusiastically, that remains to me almost off the air. You need no words to say: “Welcome to our family.” Over the steep, dark wooden staircase I am taken to my room. The daughters (21 and 17 years) who speak both good English, put me in my clean, large room, in which we get to know a bit first. The mother, who is single after her husband’s death, brings us tea and biscuits. You can earn money with the help of this project a few rupee, in addition to the income from the shop on the ground floor it. In addition, their daughters so improve their English and learn about the world. At home.
How much they want is me quickly clear. The tea is not really empty, since we are on the move again, to explore the city. The girls want to show me everything and know how it looks at home with me. As I live and what I do. Why do I live with strangers in a so-called WG and am not married yet they have not quite understand it, but after I was obviously not the first to tell so nonsense, they have nodded understandingly.
You show me a nice vantage point on a hill, we can look out at dusk over the city from the. Normally they are allowed after dark no longer alone run through the city, today there is an exception. Show me the temple complex and the location by the river where the dead are cremated. We walk through the dark alleys, partially lit by candles in shrines. But in some places it is so dark that I have to be careful not stuck in the irregularly laid cobblestones to stay with my foot. Panauti seems fallen from the eyes of a European, a bit out of time.Comfortable affects everything here. And so it does not surprise me that we sometimes just have to go buy a little milk in the plastic bag in a basement.
The girls gush over. They want to tell me absolutely joy, excitement and of things. So even as they have felt the earthquake. They talk about it as if it were a wild roller coaster ride. Certainly they have understood the seriousness of the situation, but in a situation like this happens to have any deal with it its own methods. They themselves have taken no harm them, had to leave the upper floors of their house just a few days. A structural engineer had checked the safety of the house, assure me the girls. Now you can stay anywhere without difficulty again.
So we can all sit together in the cozy kitchen on the 4th floor after our return. The house is indeed narrow, but it has 5 floors which are all used by the small family. The mother is in the kitchen already at the stove and prepares dinner for all of us before. There are Nepalese specialties, served as a kind of finger food. I would like to help, thus showing me the woman of the house as the delicacies are prepared. The power failure. When atmospheric light of a torch we all sit together on the floor and eat with our fingers the delicious chapati. I could not be happier. The others are too. “I now have three daughters” says the mother. I am grateful. Grateful for so much hospitality and the opportunity to gain deep insights so. In a foreign culture, a foreign family and a strange life, which no longer seems so strange suddenly. I was taken up with a matter of course in this family, that my initial worries seem almost ridiculous.
The electricity is back. Time for the nightly ritual of the family. Together Bollywood films look in her mother’s bed.Of course I’m going. As I assumed that now begins the quiet part of the evening, however, I have deceived myself. Now blossom my hosts only on properly. During my aufmalt A a henna tattoo, shows the other their Facebook photos. We exchange German and Nepalese vocabulary and make us laugh broke through the false debates. And then he came. The moment to appear to have been waiting all day the girls. I shall put on the sari Mother. Now they do not even get back. Granted, I also think it’s very cool times to try a traditional robe and especially to see how complicated it is wrapped and sent. I’m surprised it’s as heavy and warm among the many layers of fabric. In the Nepalese women that looks ever so slightly out in the warmest sun. I’m glad when I can to Sari T. and also when I finally lie at the end of this exciting day in bed.
I’m tired and exhausted, but can hardly keep my eyes closed. As in an action movie shoot the many new impressions through my head. I love those days when I was worn out of sheer luck, as abdrifte in my dreams delirious. When writing I have degrees again a smile on my face and I’m very excited with joy at the wonderful experiences in Community Homestay Panauti.
Note: We translated original (Deutsche) text and photographs from Julia Brauer. This is one of the memoirs from Lilies Diary.
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