Saturday, August 23, 2008

A few days in a farmhouse


We arrived at our destination very hot and tired after six hours of hiking that day.  When offered a choice between a farmhouse or a tent, Nancy, Paul and I voted for the farmhouse.  It turned out to be an excellent choice when the skies broke open the next day.  As it was so wet and slick on the trail we opted to stay an extra day at the house which resulted in a choice to turn around and go back the way we came in, not forge ahead to the next village.  It would have meant combining two days of walking into one.  Nancy and I weren't sure our knees could take the steep downhill trek out that way.  After massive amounts of deliberation that our guide, Chhimi, withstood without complaint, he began rearranging our agenda for the return trip. Fortunately his cell phone got service out in the rice field.

The upside of spending three nights in Nabji was an experience none of us will ever forget.  We got to spend time with the people in the village.  A small group of girls came as ambassadors to dance and sing for us every night.  They were eager to practice their English:  "What is your name?  Are you married?" There voices were astonishingly clear and beautiful.  I truly wish we had had a small digital camcorder but we just couldn't add another expense to an already expensive trip.

Once the word got out that there was a doctor in town, Paul didn't need to hang out his shingle, they came to visit with prescription bottles and a variety of complaints.  He even made house calls to a few people who couldn't leave their homes.  We were frustrated that we had not brought more medical supplies but didn't anticipate the need.  Paul could have used a few simple instruments to examine people.  The most important piece of information the people seemed to be lacking was knowledge of simple hand washing techniques.

During a lull in storms, Gary and I had two young boys give us a tour of Nabji, up the dirt trails and over fences and back around.  There was no real center to the village.  The farmhouse we stayed in was probably the biggest house in town.  I first assumed that there was no furniture in it because it was empty most of the time, but was surprised to learn that the Bhutanese villagers don't have furniture.  It's too expensive.  They squat to eat and sleep on the floor. Their water is in a tap outside and so are the "facilities."

We also had a delightful tour of the local school.  As always, there was a steep trip down the trail to the school and a hefty hike up the trail, every day for those kids, six days a week!  The school was having a soccer game that we watched and then the kids were served lunch.  Lunch consisted of a big plate of rice with a few vegetables on top.  We donated some money to the school and the principal said that it would be used to buy vegetables for the kids.

The day we left we were a little bit sad to leave our new friends and a little bit glad to be getting out of the mud and cow poop.  It was luxurious to get to a hotel with running hot water and inside "facilities."

1 comment:

happytrails said...

Having time to spepnd with the villagers and learn a little about them may have been one of the most valuable parts of your trip. I would have enjoyed that. Interesting that they have no furniture or indoor plumbing. Makes our way of life look ridiculously plush.