Posted by Nell Rose Phillips on Tuesday, May 31, 2011
I awoke this morning at 4:00 AM and hit the streets by 5:00. I
wanted to see what life is like in Kathmandu for ordinary people.
One of the first interesting differences I noticed was the morning
delivery of small sacks of coal and the preparation of it for the daily cooking
fires at some of the tiny eating establishments. Men hammer the sacks
until the pieces are broken down quite small, and then the coal is fired in
large slightly concave iron vessels. I feel somewhat compelled to sample
the fare in one of the tiny cubicles and elect to sample a vegetable dish for
the equivalent of 15 cents.
The "restaurant" had only one bench, and two customers ate
sitting on the floor. The woman who cooked and served me was very
friendly but the floor beneath us literally broke when I stood up.
Later that day, I watched a leper with no toes, fingers, or nose,
crawl across the highway with hundreds of trucks, busses, and bicycles zooming
by. No one stopped or slowed for him, and one bus may have actually run
over his foot. But when he made it to my side, he placed his stumps of
hands together and greeted me with a grinning Namaste!
As bad as it is here, there is very little begging. Instead,
those who are bitterly poor, try to sell trinkets or services. And
everyone keeps themselves meticulously clean. Even those living in four
or five-foot leanto's been out every morning sweeping with handmade brooms.
I even watched one desperately poor woman, washing the dirty street in
front of her mud brick abode with a rag as small as a washcloth.