Last week, it rained enthusiastically every single day, almost as if monsoon season had returned. There was a rainbow each day for almost a week straight. This was the best one.
Also, the kids have mostly phased out play Sabatii (thank god), and have now transitioned to flying kites, since October is more windy than its predecessors. If you go up to our roof, you can see kites are flying and fluttering all over the city, and you can see groups of boys scattered in all directions, on roofs or in fields, flying their own kites.
One of the most recent miracles I’ve witnessed was on Monday, when I went up to the roof and a crowd of our boys were tying a second line to a kite flying hundreds of yards above us. The second line was held by three boys standing on the roof of the neighbor’s house. I sprinted down to get my camera so I could capture the scene. I was unsurprised, but still exceedingly disappointed, to find out the knot had slipped while I was in transit. I lay down and read my book, but five minutes later noticed some of the boys standing on the south building, looking across the valley. I went and asked them what they were staring at, and what had happened to our kite. They pointed – a quarter of a mile away, 50 rooftops away, was a solitary kid on the roof of a tall house flying – I kid you not – the exact same kite that had slipped away just minutes earlier. I took a picture but even at full zoom I couldn’t get a good photo.
I envision the introduction to some Nepali movie – a group of kids flying their fancy kite when the string breaks and the kite takes off. The kite’s long tether drags along roads, over houses, slapping a cow in the eyeball, as the wind carries it away. Boys and girls alike look up from breaking stones, playing soccer, or eating ramen, and take off after the string, until there is a stampede of hooping and hollering children running through town.
I’m not sure how it ends but I like the image, and it’s how I imagine this kid across the village ended up with our kite.
They lose and break their 10 Rupee kites all the time, so tomorrow I’m teaching the kids how to make their own. I actually have no idea how to do it myself, but I’m quite sure it won’t be anything too difficult.
Oh and I also somehow got a sound clip of the loudest lightning I’ve ever heard. This is almost certainly not interesting to anyone in electronic format, but it was truly deafening. It was 3:45 am and a furious thunderstorm had been raging for over an hour, I was lying in bed next to my wide-open windows, and lightning struck so near that it shook the entire building. I still think it must have hit the building, because we’re the tallest for a quarter mile, there is rebar sticking out all over the roof, and there was no pause between flash and sound. This was the first time in maybe a decade that I’ve been alone and been scared of something harmless to the point of genuinely desiring my mom’s presence.
It happens at around the 50 second mark.
After a 10 minute period it was clear I wouldn’t fall asleep. I got up, put on the $18 “North Face” rain jacket from Kathmandu, and opened my door. In a ridiculous coincidence, a flashlight fell upon my face, and I saw dear old Uncle Ed trudging down the hall. He had been checking all the windows and doors to check for leakages. We ascended the stairs, and he stayed on the third floor balcony while I climbed to the roof and injected myself into the storm. Lightning and thunder raged all around me, the rain slapping against my face, and I felt exhilarated. And cold, eventually. I went down, and joined Ed. He and I watched the lightning for 30 minutes together before the storm passed by and we went our separate ways.
I’ve been pretty lazy with the blog recently, so I feel like I owe one more interesting tidbit. We recently redid many of the mattresses in the house because a) we have two new bunkbeds and b) some of the old ones had caterpillared (my term). Maggie called the mattress men, and they came as a group of 6, with fabric and tools in hand, and tore open our bad mattresses in the second floor common room. After creating a big pile of dreadlocked stuffing, the four youngest surrounded the mound like assassins and began to rain down blow upon blow with their bamboo sticks. This roughly breaks up the stuffing.
To get the material well and truly soft, however, the men produced bizarre looking tools that looked like a cross between a rudder and a bow. Holding the shaft of the tool wood above the pile, the workers took a wooden mallet and beat on the taut string, which sliced down into the stuffing in an explosion of dusty fluff. Soon, everyone was covered in a thick layer of gray.
Finally, each mattress was custom measured, stuffed, and sewn.
Last week, I helped Amrika (my favorite Auntie) pick up at least 100 huge snails from the garden here at the home. They had been eating our brocolli. The Nepali word for brocolli is barkolli, which is much more fun to say. I picked up the slugs, handed them to here, and she tossed them over the wall into the neighbor’s yard. Haha. Oops. The reason I am reminded of this is because a huge snail half the size of my fist is currently creeping across the floor towards my computer charger. I just tried to pick him up and he suctioned onto the floor. The second time I tried to pick him up I accidentally broke his shell. I hope he’ll be fine.
Just yesterday we got new internet. It. Is. Amazing. but for some reason will only work with a few select computers/devices here. I’m one of the lucky ones. My choice word for this type of behavior is “fickle.” Half because these eccentricities are actually fickle, and half because, surrounded by kids, fickle is as close as I can get to the word I actually want to use.
Some more pictures:
I want to give a sneak peek of the new campus design, but I’m going to wait until more of the fog clears. Big, big things are in the works. Stay tuned.