Saturday, October 1, 2016

Saturday is Sunday in Nepal

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Yesterday afternoon I fought an overwhelming desire to go to sleep because it was too early and managed to stay awake till a normal bedtime hour.  It didn’t do me any good because I woke up at 3:15 AM and didn’t get tired enough to go back to sleep till it was time to get up.  Next time I’ll sleep whenever I can.  Because I was awake, I heard the thunder and the rain.  By the time we left for Church the sun had come out.  It was a perfect day.

We met President & Sister Hodges in the lobby and took a taxi to where the Church members now meet.  We brought with us the donation bag stuffed full of T-shirt dresses to give to the Relief Society President to hand out.  She emptied our bag right away and put the dresses in the Branch President’s office at the new church building.  There was a group of young adults in the meeting that are working with needy children so I told them about the dresses in case they could also use them and they said that they could.  The President brought their luggage with them also as they were departing after the services for another one of their stops to visit the missionaries that they are in charge of.  We’ve enjoyed getting to know them a little bit.  Sister Hodges was wearing black and she said it was because of where they were going.  She will add a scarf for her head when she gets there.  Pakistan is one of the countries that they have missionaries in.  After church was over they stayed to do some leadership training.  Eventually we decided to take a taxi home as we had been there a long time waiting.  We were supposed to go back with Oliphant’s to their house, but we came back and ate at our hotel instead. 

We saw a few people that we’d met before and enjoyed getting reacquainted.  There were quite a few Americans there, more than usual.  One was a professor at BYU on sabbatical and teaching at a nearby university.  One man brought his son there since he is leaving for a mission in a couple of weeks.  His dad had actually summited Everest in 2012.  Now that’s impressive!  He also had climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.  This guy gets around! 

After Church we began talking with Bishnu—he is the man who used to be with CHOICE that we do lots of work with here in Nepal.  He is still on the board of CHOICE but is now with USAID.  When we told him about the project that we had visited yesterday that was just completed, he became very interested in solving the problem of sustainability.  We talked about making a plan to get this group on the right track. They are the ones that are not collecting money from everyone—this will soon fail when they run out of money just paying for electricity—when the pump breaks they won’t be able to buy a new one.  The water bill is cheap, even for here.  It is also not good that some are paying and others are not.  Bishnu, you might remember, was in the Meet the Mormons film produced a couple of years ago.

It was so interesting today to see where the Branch is now meeting.  After the earthquake they met at a hotel till they could find a permanent place.  Imagine our surprise to see this beautiful, large home.  It had spiral staircases, three stories, nice bathrooms, many, many rooms for various classes to meet in.  One man told us that it had been owned by a Sherpa.  He made some good money and then made more selling rugs.  They decided to get a larger home—really?  This place is beautiful and large!  They have a pool also, but it is now empty, for obvious reasons. 

The Branch now meets in this beautiful, 3 story home formerly owned by a Sherpa (turned carpet seller), who decided he needed a larger home!  It has marble floors and beautiful light fixtures on every decorated ceiling!  The yard is beautiful also, and has room for the few cars that need to park there.   

We had wanted to see the Oliphant’s apartment today, but maybe we’ll get to see it another time.  They said that it is a really nice place.  On Fast Sundays they invite the young adults over for a meal.  Tonight 16 joined them.  Today we also met E/S Weaver.  We brought them lots of goodies that they had delivered to our house the last few weeks.  For them it was like Christmas. 

The new church has spiral staircases and the main room, or where the Chapel is now, has a chandelier.  Notice the little alcoves above on the left—I could picture a play being held here with some of the actors going out to give their lines in these alcoves.  This is some fancy place!  They also have nice bathrooms and have fireplaces in several rooms.  They also have nice air conditioners in all the main rooms.  Today it was not as necessary for them to be turned on so they were not, but they had them, and this is not usually what they have in 3rd world countries.  Normally they just have fans.  This shot is from above on the next floor up, looking down on the living room or what is now the Chapel.

When people build a home in Nepal they are never spread out—they go up—it is common for a nice home here to have 3-4 floors so as not to take up a large footprint.  Speaking of going up, every day we walk up the stairs to our room, which is on the 4th floor—in the U.S. it would be considered the 5th floor--to get a little exercise.

Spiral staircases, beautiful ceilings and light fixtures, marble floors.  

Lovely grounds; empty pool on the right. 

Yesterday we were seated on some chairs and a bunch of the kids were standing behind us so Jim took their picture (selfie).  

The beautiful girl was probably going to perform for us as she is dressed in traditional clothes; since we had to leave early, we didn’t get to see the rest of the show. 

When we got to Church we realized that it was Fast Sunday here; at home everyone will be watching Conference on TV, and in our Stake Fast Sunday will be next week.  Here next Sunday (I mean Saturday!) they will be watching taped Conference messages for their Sunday (Saturday) services.  It is hard to remember that our Sunday is their Saturday!

Tomorrow, more traveling about and staying overnight.

Love, from Kathmandu, Shambala Hotel

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