14 May, 2010

patience is a virtue?

I was asked ALLLLLL the time “why are you going to Nepal” or now that I’m here it’s “why did you come to Nepal”. I don’t have a good answer like “Well, I am here to do an in-depth study on the democratic movement and how the Maoists are hindering that.” or “I am going to study the Terai District and the environmental effects of global warming in this area.” I end up saying something like, I want to know the people and the Nepali culture. In reality that’s something I want to do now that I’m here, it’s not the reason why came. I want to say to them “I am here because I wanted to be; that all the ‘signs’ were pointing me here; and once I started the idea in motion everything good that helped me along my journey, came into being”.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to learn here; or what life lesson is awaiting me. I do know that if nothing else, after 3 months in Nepal, I will have mastered the art of patience. I believe that I am a very patient person; one that can endure long waiting lines, slow restaurants and people packed metros. – not that I like any of these things, but I have patience…or so I thought.

Here I wait and wait and wait. I wait to see which class will suddenly need my presence; which house we will visit instead of going home after a long day. I wait to see who will make the first move to show that we can eat, when we will leave and where we are going. It’s not only a language barrier it’s a cultural barrier and personality conflict. By nature I’m a fact taker, my mind works in a way that I can see a situation and know which way would work best. I don’t need to confer with others on my decisions, I act. This in itself is not the culture I’m in. I understodd much about the 'Asian' culture after reading Greg Mortensen’s dilemma as he tried to build schools in South Asia (“Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones into Schools”) and thought “ok, let’s get started” but was told time and again to just “be patient”.

I think of the thousands of times I was impatient in my life and now I have had to travel all the way to Nepal to make up for all that negativity and to refill the ‘patience tank’ in my mind. The way it’s going, I should have it filled up before the Monsoon season starts!

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