We are now on the fourth day of Orientation and I am feeling much more familiar with my surroundings and the things we are doing. Every morning this week we have language classes with a Nepali man named Sharma G. He looks a little bit like Santa Claus except that he is Nepali and wears a daka topi (a traditional Nepali hat). I am attempting to pick up the language before I begin my placement on Monday, which will be in a school about an hour away from Basecamp (Kathmandu). After our classes we sit down to a lunch made by our wonderful cook named Badri. Today we had traditional Nepali food which was spicy yet delicious. We had all finished lunch and set out on a wet but very educational journey to Pashu Pati, a place where local Nepali people have their dead people cremated within a public temple next to a river. This place was very spiritual because after the cremation it is traditional to push the ashes into the river to give the soul of the person back to the earth (in simplistic terms).
One of the coolest parts of the day was when we visited the largest Buddhist Stupa in the world in Bodha. Although that part was amazing the ride home was the real adventure. The local Nepali transit system is not well run or widespread, so as you can imagine there are a lot of people in a few large vans (not buses like we have). My group, including two leaders, has ten people total so we needed to split up into two vans, or as the locals call it 'microbus', in order to get home successfully. The first ride was fairly predictable, four people to a two person seat, a small Nepali man next to me was really surprised when I practically squished him as I sat down. There were probably about 20 people in a 10 person van and that was not even the worst of it. We got out of the first microbus to transfer to the next when we realized that all of the transfer microbuses were full. Our leader, who at this point didn't know exactly how to get home, told us to get into a rickshaw, a small three wheeled bike with a two person seat on the back. There were three of us attempting to fit on a two person seat so I, being the smallest, sat on the other two girls. I was practically launched on to our driver a couple times due to huge pot holes in the road, plus it was raining so every time we went over a hole I was splashed with brown water. Anyways to my enjoyment I tried to stop thinking I was going to die and start enjoying the ride, like a roller coaster. It was truly an adventure but I know that my group was very glad to finally get home. More adventures to come I am sure!