Tired, hot and dusty we let ourselves fell down on the 2 beds in the spacious room. My face was burned once again. I couldn’t seem to control the Nepalese sun, despite the abundant use of sunscreen. Although it was winter, the sun could still do some serious damage when beaming straight in your face for a couple hours. But now we were out of the sun, our sweat quickly dried up, for there is no heating in Nepalese houses and temperatures drop fast in the evening this time of the year.
Alas, no hot shower awaits us. While Koen was brave enough to wash himself with the ice-cold water coming out of the small tap in the bathroom (I only put my feet under), I crawled under the many blankets laying on the bed. It is here, in Nepal, that one really realises how spoiled we are back home. Warm water shower, a sitting toilet, central heating; or even the luxury of a sink to brush your teeth or something as simple as toilet paper, the people of Nepal can live perfectly without it. It kind of annoyed me that the missing of this luxury caused me irritation.
A few moments later we heard a knocking on our door. “Would you like to learn some Nepalese cooking?” The lady of the house asked through the door. I didn’t have to think twice. I crawled out of the mountain of blankets and put on 2 extra sweaters before we went downstairs to the kitchen. There we found our host, a lovely Nepalese woman, standing between an impressive amount of cooking pots full of freshly made dishes. Like a true queen of the kitchen, she handles everything with only two hands. I would need another five.
Enthusiastically, she took me to her cooking stove and started using hands and feet to explain me some tricks and tips about Nepalese and more specifically, about Newari cuisine. I never heard so many different names of herbs in 30 minutes. She proceeded by telling me which different dishes she will make for the upcoming festival, letting me sniff on the different ingredient stocked in her kitchen cabinet. Such a colourful cuisine they have in this country!
Later we sat down at a traditional Dal Bhat meal. Rice with at least six freshly made side dishes. A real fibre-rich power house full of vegetables. We started talking about the different ways people live and quickly I found out that our host wakes up at 4 o’clock in the morning. Every single day. To do yoga, breathing exercises and meditation, until 6 o’clock. Jokingly she asked me how old I think she is. Apparently 20 years older than my guess.
I’m sure we can learn something about the healthy way of living and eating in Nepal. But most of all, I will remember her smile.
The community homestay (https://www.communityhomestay.com/) is a project in collaboration with Royal Mountain Travel (https://royalmt.com.np/). It was founded with the purpose of promoting sustainable tourism and to support the communities, especially the women. If you want to know about the heart of Nepal, the people, I strongly recommend this. Come meet them and learn about their culture and how they live!