04 May, 2010


Today I had my first Nepali lesson with Bhola after all the corn was shucked and the kernals removed (more on that another time). He had said he could teach me Nepali in 15 days. I said ‘OK’ although I am totally skeptical. Today he gave me the basics (me, mine, you, yours, we, ours, he…etc.) I was going over the new words in my head over and over while we had then moved to another brainless task at hand: leaves.

During the dry season there is not many (or no) vegetables and certainly not any leafy greens so we eat leaves. There is a tree that produces a leaf that is edible –the new leaves/stems. First the kids climb to the top of the trees and pull off the whole new stem (then a new growth comes in its place). The new growth comes really quickly as we eat this every couple of days it seems – actually tastes like spinach, which is what I thought we were eating until today. After the leaves are plucked from the trees (the boys love this part!) the hard part of the stem is broken from the fresh part.
After we had a pan full one of the kids took it and walked down the driveway. I kind of wondered where he was going with it, but again, patience usually answers all questions. When the 2nd pan was filled and again a child headed down the driveway, Bhola saw me watching and informed me that the leaves were for the neighbors. No particular reason for the gift, he said they do that a lot. Neighbor’s giving surplus to each other; even if that surplus requires labor (picking/gathering). He said the neighbors bring stuff to them also.
Bhola then decided to show me how to properly pick the leaves from a tree (as not to stunt the growth of the new leaf) and got up on one of the very worn out plastic chair. As he reached up, the chair leg snapped and he fell to the ground. Jaya rushed over to see if he was ok and to help him up while I picked up the chair and the pieces that broke off. After he was seated on another chair in the circle of us, I told him that since he was teaching me something, then I would buy him a new chair. With his usual sarcasm, he then told the others that when something is going to break, please call Melinda and then when it breaks she will buy a new one, ha ha. He then said that you can always find good things in something that goes wrong.
With the chair, he will now get a new one and also he saw how his wife rushed to his side, showing her affection and love for him and she will give him a massage tonight to help his soreness. It made me think of how wonderful life could be if more people “looked on the bright side” of things.

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