See, I told you good things come to those who wait. I left Harka yesterday, and though only Tulie was crying when I left, everyone was a bit sad, myself included. I didn't get teary until the bus back to Kathmandu, when I began opening the little letters that each child had written to me the night before (they stayed up until almost 11 working on them!).
On Sunday, Laxmi and I went out to buy the scooter, finally! Actually, I was getting a touch worried, as we had planned to go shopping that day but I hadn't heard from her all morning. Finally she called the home at around 2pm, and told me to meet her on the tempo (mini-bus/ metal-death-trap-type transportation) in Bharatpur. Actually, her instructions were something like this, "Oh, baini! You red tempo go, next time, red tempo? Red tempo go Bharatpur, post office side, me. Bank go, e-scooter buy. Okay? Bye!" Which, to most, would be completely incomprehensible. But after being in Nepal for 5 weeks, your level of understanding increases 1,000 fold.
So off I went, loping down the road in the baking heat of a Chitwan day, to ride in the metal oven to Bharatpur, where hopefully Laxmi would see my whiteness glowing through the grates and hop on herself! Miraculously, that did happen, and we were off to Naranghat to pick up some money from the bank. At the bank, I got the distinct feeling that everyone knew who I was before I even got there. They all seemed extremely excited to see me, and approached me like a celebrity (Ahhh! She does exist! This girl from America you speak of!). Either way, we picked up 150,000 rupees in 1,000 notes, and feeling much like a bank robber probably does, Laxmi stashed it in her purse with a huge grin and we were off to another tempo to take us to the Honda shop.
At the Honda dealership, which was little more than a white-walled storage room with some motorcycles out front, I was informed that I was to choose the color. Luckily, as I knew they wouldn't let me pass on this opportunity, Laxmi had mentioned on the way over that black was nice because you didn't need to wash it as much. There was one black Honda Dio left, and I admit, it was much more attractive than the purple or red colors. Black it was! Minimal paperwork and about 30 minutes later, we were off!
Originally, Laxmi and I were going to do a victory lap around the entire district, making points to stop at her friends houses, at Chitwan National Park for some drinks, and even Devaghat (Hindu sacred river site). However, Sunday was the first time in two months that Nepal experienced a bandh (oil strike with India), so we were left with the 1/2 liter of gas that the dealership gave us. Optimistically, Laxmi said that she had heard the government gas station was open, so we decided to risk it and cruise down there. About 5 km away from the orphan home through the sal forest, when we arrived at the gas station we were told by the AK-47 armed guard that we were 5 minutes late. Typical. Laxmi looked at me over her shoulder and said, "Bad luck. Maybe no petrol soon, we must carry scooter!" And with a cackle (from both of us) we were off with our fingers crossed that we wouldn't have to push her new scooter 6km back to the orphan home.
We did get back, and the kids were at first in awe, and then super excited. Laxmi could not express her thanks to me enough, and told me to give everyone, all of my friends and family a huge THANK YOU (danyabhat in Nepali :). When I told her that everyone I know is interested in the orphan home, and her and the children's stories, she couldn't believe it. So a huge thank you from me as well, for everyone's help with this project, and support of my continuous relationship with Harka! I have more to write, but for now I will keep it brief, and conclude with some photos: