Friday, September 30, 2011

Bandipur - the land where people do good

bandipur - THE VIEW, originally uploaded by veggy.
Sitting in the town of Bandipur where the time stays still. Old men walk slowly through the streets, and hundreds of children run, play, and joke with each other as they head to school. They are even more excited because at the end of the day they have two weeks off for Dasain, one of the biggest festivals of the year. Before the fog set in the valley the northern view of the Himilayas that hide behind clouds most of the day days take your breath away. Something so majestic hiding behind clouds.. how is that possible?! Ahh but that is weather an the natural pattern that best serves this nature and area. Global warming is changing the climate patterns here as well. Newari archtiecture is everywhere here, short doors with dim lighting, with women sewing school uniforms. You would barely see them if you didn't step closer.
I stayed in a old Newari style place where you have to watch your head to enter or else you will smack it. Most Nepalis have no problem with this as they are naturally short. There are so many people doing good in this town. I met a young man who is helps run the Old Bandipur Inn (a beautiful hotel, with a stunning view that costs $30/night). He also assists on treks in the Everest region. He supports 20 kids himself by buying them the supplies they need to go to school. In a world where people you meet tend to hord their money and use it soley for themselves you can also find people who give a lot. The owner of my hotel would feed one blind man and talk to everyone, this is what happens in smaller towns. Meanwhile this hotel is full (which means 8 rooms), of people from Austria who are helping to survey land for a 150 student school 25 minutes down the road. A older swiss guy named Hanz is the man in charge of building this school and said that instead of playing golf he is building this school. A worthy hobby i would say so myself...if only more people had these hobbies! It was interesting to see the Austrian and Swiss German man really crack the whip on the Nepalese who tend to do things very, very slowly. I was told, and i have seen it also in many of the restaurants i visit that it often takes around 3 Nepalese to do the job of one western worker, of course this is not true for everyone, and it could be said the other way as well. I see skinny, older women hauling massive loads on their heads, wondering how is that possible! Another german guy is there for 4 months teaching english, and shares his stories about the differences between the public and private school kids. Teachers often don't show up for classes, because they are either lazy or have other teaching jobs because it doesn't pay that well. Meanwhile if a student is late for class he gets smacked hard with a stick, but if a teacher is late their are no consequences . I recently watched the award winning documentary "Waiting for Superman" which focused on the American public school system and the corrupt School teachers union where teachers cannot be fired ever . The documentary correlated the difference between having good teachers and having bad teachers, and the same can be seen here. Good and bad education/teachers is a universal issue.
I also met 5 americans who are here for the year, are fluent in Nepali, and working with the locals on proper agricultural systems. I was reading in the local paper that Monsanto is trying to seduce the government here into introducing gmo crops. This is obviously something the local people don't want after seeing how it has destroyed and taken over crops in neighbouring India. It will be interesting to see what happens, if corruption will prevail or if the reality of frankenfood and big money will win.
Nepal is full of interesting people doing good work. It warms my heart to see this so if someone is looking to do something good, this would be a great place to come. Help is needed and goes a long way.

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