update: I'm glad to report that the village was not affected by the May 2015 earthquake. I urge you to give generously to the organizations on the ground.
In the week between my work trips to Zambia and Bangladesh I had one week to research and get ready for my next project. I picked Kathmandu and Pokhara in Nepal. I can’t think of a better place to recharge and get inspired for the month ahead. I spent my working days surrounded by temples, chai, chicken chilli (stir-fried chicken), mo mos (dumplings), raksi (millet wine), and tidbits of Nepalese and Farsi.
In my last weekend I took a bus from Pokhara and hiked up for two hours to Damdame Village in Panchase Mountain. My amazing hosts, the Gurug family, live in a fully self sustaining village that grows rice, corn, vegetables, and produces dairy and beef from their buffalos. Damdame like man villages of its kind is a fully "hand made" with stacking rice irrigation fields separated by pristine stone walkways. Throughout the village everything is either covered in green or hand-laid stone. The harmony between people, animals, plants, and elements is unmatched by anything I’ve seen in Ethiopia, D.R. Congo, and the Philippines. Although the warming climate is making for warmer than usual summers, but thankfully it's still not harming the rice fields.
Ama and Baba have been hosting many travelers for a couple of years in their house, which they built themselves when they got married. They are in great health for their age and still run a bountiful harvest. Two of their friends, David and Laura, arrived as I was leaving. They will be staying in Damdama for two weeks and in return taking Ama and Baba to their village: Paris!
Stories of the Gurug family in France and the Netherlands are bound to be fascinating. I wonder if they will dismiss the sprawling city as clutter, and what their verdict is on bordeaux wine compared to their home brewed raksi. Once they return I'll have to go and learn making buffalo jerky and butter.