Blessings come in odd packages. This morning I got a bit of kid-reprieve for about two hours because a strange, homeless man came wandering about the orphan home looking for money, and had seen me there. I was in my room at the time, and Sima came up to my door and said, "Miss, you stay in here, okay? There is a not good man outside." HA. She locked the door, and I did a little victory dance of alone-ness. I read my book in moderate-silence for about an hour, before I decided to peep out the window to see if he was still there. He was. About a half hour later, Sima came into the room next door and passed me my breakfast over the low wall that separates my room from the boys' room. Hilarious. I guess the man demanded breakfast from poor Petrapaddi as well... and she gave him some rice to make him leave!
That being said, my presence has not gone unnoticed by anyone in the surrounding district (it feels like). Also this morning, a group of purple salwar-clad medical students came by (8, to be exact), simply to meet me and present me with a flower on their way to school. I wonder if this will be a daily occurance. Last night Sirjana and I went for a walk, while Petrapaddi practiced her bike-riding skills (she's learning). Though it was pitch-black outside, with no moon, everyone still seemed to know I was white, as if I glowed in the dark! Miraculous!
Alas, I am getting used to being around 17 children again, and have learned to separate my brain from listening and not listening. Sometimes it is necessary to turn it off, but sometimes, like at night during dinner, you definitely want to have it on. Eating dinner anywhere is probably my favorite time of day. For those poor souls who do not enjoy cooking and eating, I'm sorry. You're missing out on the one of the most unifying activities mankind has. At Harka, dinner begins at about 5pm, with cooking rice. It pinnacles at about 7:30 pm, when veggies, rice, and dal are ready to eat and steaming piles are heaped on plates, to be wolfed down with the aid of the right hand (ingenious use, though somewhat messy, of not using utensils). The chatter is happy, though I usually don't know what is being said (sometimes I knowit is making fun of me, to which I just smile and laugh like I know what is going on). Last night, we had conversations about last names, and it was determined that Nepalis do not have the palate for pronouncing the English combination "sch". Instead, my new last name is "Sweeter", which is the same way Nepalis say "sweater", and thus has been transformed into "Britta Sweeter Company"... as in, I make sweaters for a living. If only they knew I can't knit!
Hilarity abounds when the older kids are home, and usually I take refuge from the harassment of the little ones in their warm enbraces. The three oldest girls are enhanced versions of what they were three years ago: Sima has gotten goofier (if that is possible), Soniya is caring and loving and loves physical contact, and Sirjana is dramatic, girly, and looks up to me like a big sister. Buddi keeps to himself, but is still super polite and does his chores, and Bisal (as aforementioned) is a ray of sunlight almost all of the time.
Though I am still working out the logistics on getting this scooter with Laxmi (I find it very difficult to communicate with her, as her vocabulary is extremely limited, as is mine)- we should be able to get it within the next week. We HAVE to get it in the next week! As anyone out there who has traveled/worked in a lesser developed country knows though... things always take longer than expected :)
PS as for photos, I probably won't upload any until I get back to Kathmandu in about a week and a half!