Excerpt of Recent Report from Nepal by Carole:
“I asked Lokendra if we could visit any of the sewing graduates and see their shops and encourage them as best we could. He said the only one who lived close enough was Ganga, so plans were made for us to travel to Somitar Village in the foothills of some lush green mountains about 2 hours from Narayangarh. I thought we were taking buses, but we ended up taking a motorcycle cab for about an hour, then switching to another motorcycle cab that took us onto gravel roads past rice patties plowed by oxen the way it has been done for thousands of years. Rural life in other countries is fascinating. I feel I’ve really visited a place when I get to see where the country folk live. We came to a portion of the road where the road was simply pile after pile of gravel, as though it were dumped there waiting for someone to spread it out on the road. They just drive over the piles. I guess over time it will be flattened out after so much travel, but it makes for a bumpy ride!
Evenutally we came to a stop at a little stand where several locals were gathered. We had to get out of the cab and walk a ways to the next cab which was on the other side of a long suspension bridge over a gully! It was just like something out of Indiana Jones! I was thrilled!
My first step onto the bridge was a doozy. I stepped down onto the stone threshold of the bridge and my foot immediately slipped forward. I’ve mentioned before that backpacks are evil: They will take you down if you are the slightest bit off-balance. Well, when my foot slipped forward, my backpack took the opportunity to throw me down and I landed hard on my bunuelos. In a frantic attempt to recover my dignity, I fell again to the side trying to get up. Sagar and Lokendra looked a little scared. The fact that we were deep in the hills of rural Nepal on a suspension bridge over a river bed was not lost on me. Not the best place to break a hip. Fortunately, only my pride and bunuelos suffered. I will probably be sore for a while, but I wouldn’t have missed this outing for anything.
On the other side of the bridge was another motorcycle cab. We continued the journey. Meena, Diana, and I were astonished at how far into the hills we had come, and we still had not reached our destination. Ganga has to walk all this way down to the main road to catch a bus to church! She comes to the Narayangarh church regularly in spite of the long journey.
We pulled up to a little dwelling and stopped. I immediately recognized Ganga and hobbled out of the cab to greet her. She has a little store front attached to a lady’s small house from whom she rents the space. She has her sewing machine, her overlock machine, some samples and catalogs hanging up, and some sewing supplies. Meena noticed a bee hive forming in the center of the ceiling above where she works! She doesn’t seem to mind. Ganga said she works there about 5-6 hours a day. She escorted us into the living quarters of the attached house where she served us cold Coke. We made sure she was reimbursed her for the cost before we left. Then we showed her the fabric and explained the kind of kurtas we wanted. She measured each of us and it was agreed she would be finished by Tuesday. Lokendra and Ranjhit would come back by motorcycle to fetch the finished kurtas so we would have them before we leave next Friday. As we chatted and Ganga measured, a little group of locals was forming outside. Passers-by would look in a stare in amazement at these foreigners who found their way to this remote village.”