Since coming back from the mountains, I have been on ‘holiday’. It is extremely different in Kathmandu than in the mountains. In the mountains it was very quiet, I spent most evenings alone meditating or writing. Here at the Shechen clinic, it is quite the opposite. Every day I have breakfast, lunch and dinner with the other volunteers. There are three nurses and a physical therapist volunteering from France. It is far from quiet, there are dogs barking, people talking, horns beeping and occasionally someone rings the bell at the stupa down the street.
We have gone to a festival, a wedding and dinner parties together, it has been quite a lot of fun, but not very restful. We went to a festival in a nearby town that was for Hindu women to celebrate their husbands and to pray for them to have long and healthy lives, and for unmarried women to pray that they will find a good husband. The night before, all of the women partied and danced, then the day of the festival, they fasted and stood in line for hours to go to the temple. The line of women was so long that it wrapped many times around the city. There must have been thousands of women dressed in red praying for a good husband. There were also people dancing and singing in the street. It was a very crowded, but beautiful experience.
The people who work at the clinic are very kind. They come to my room and ask if I would like to go do this or that. Yesterday one of the employees asked me if i wanted to go with him to buy plants for the clinic. “Sure,” I thought, that sounded nice. After shopping for plants, having lunch in a nearby town and going to visit the sleeping Buddha statue, we returned 5 hours later. Just in time to leave for one of the employees weddings.
It was a very different experience than I expected. Everyone said the wedding would be like a party. “There will be music, food and dancing” they said. When we arrived, the families of the couple were sitting in a circle and the bride was saying goodbye to her old family and introducing herself to her new family. Many people were crying. There was food, but no dancing or music. It was very different than the wedding we witnessed at the sleeping Vishnu only hours earlier. At the other wedding, the women were dressed in red and they were laughing and smiling and everyone seemed very happy. It is a mystery to me.
Tomorrow I will start working in the clinic. When I asked Manoj if I will be busy or not, he said, “I don’t know, people call and ask about acupuncture, and I tell them to come on Wednesday.” I think it will be interesting. The acupuncturist who was here before me was seeing 25-35 patients a day, but he was not prescribing herbs. So we will see. I will try to post more on the topic in a week or so.
I hope that you are all well. Much love from Nepal, Tuesday.