Kiran finds time every day to come over and visit with us. He is the manager of the Fish Tail Lodge, a hotel named after the predominant mountain of the area here (Machupucuara, 5980 meters) that looks like a fish’s tail. More than once, he takes us to his two room home to have dinner. Kiran’s family lives in a cement apartment building that houses a number of large families. One room is where his three children sleep but in the other is the Kitchen, study and parents bedroom. There is one bathroom for the entire building that doubles as cloths wash room, bathroom and shower.
Tamara and I sit on the parent’s bed and talk to Kiran who is seated on a small stool. His wife turns on the propane to a small burner unit and in no time makes us the rice, vegetables and chicken that make up Dal Bhat. Kiran is 34 and has been baptized for 3 years now. The power flickers and he says that when he was 15 he remembers when Pokhara first got electricity. It was only one hour a week but in a few years it was two hours a day. Now they have electricity every day but Wednesday. He asks if we have electricity every day where we live.
After dinner he takes us next door to visit another Jehovah Witness family. The young couple has just gotten married. They both are pioneers, which means that they dedicate 90 hours a month to proselytizing, but lately the brother’s health has degraded. We visit for a while about being married and the changes it brings. When we head back to eat dinner, Kiran says “We don’t think that He will be alive for much longer. The doctors say that he has a large lump on his kidney but the operation to remove it will cost 650,000 rupees. That is quite a sum especially for a pioneer. ” Back at Kiran’s home we chat well into the night about life in Oregon, Nepal and our hopeful life in the future Paradise.The meetings are fun but they are starting to become boring as we only know about 20 words in Nepali. We are able to answer in English but only a few of the Brothers and Sisters know what we say. The small kingdom hall is very clean; it seats about 45 people on hard metal fold up chairs. The bible they use is a large King James Version, as they don’t have a New World Translation in their language yet. Everyone is incredibly nice to us, as nice as they can be and not speak the same language. We practice our few words of Nepali as they fumble with English. They are all drawn to my pictures of home but soon they and we lose their novelty.
Strangely, the men and women rarely sit by one another, even when they are married. In fact the men almost never stand and talk with women, even in groups. I ask Kiran why, although he sits with his wife, and he thinks for a long time. In the end all he can come up with is “Our way is just our way.” These social differences are entertaining at times. As an example, the Nepali men, Jehovah Witness or not, will hold hands and express friendship with other men much more readily then the women do with other women. Being an American male, it takes me a while to become comfortable walking arm in arm with other men.
On our last day in Pokhara we get up super early and climb up a 600 meter hill to watch the sunrise. We spend a few hours drawing the scenes around us with pencil in our sketchbooks. Our drawings seam to get better all the time. Soon the morning is gone and we hurry back to town as we are catching the bus to the southern part of Nepal. The Jungle town of Chitwan, famous for their wild Tigers and Rhinos, is our next destination.