1st October 2010
After the first few days of settling in and travelling to the village, I have decided to start recording my days in a diary from now to stop any nervous emotions showing in the first few days. So here we go; waking up in the village is a surreal experience, every morning waking up from my little rectangle room with a bed in it and not a lot else.

A tight squeeze, the bed wasn't long enough!

After the formalities of going to the toilet and brushing teeth, breakfast was ready. The village I live in is called Ghalegaun and is part of the middle hills of Nepal inhabited by the Gurung caste, I’m fortunate enough to be living as part of a family with a mother, father and their son who is studying in Kathmandu. The Gurungs are quite a proud caste where lots of the people aspire to join the British army as a Gorkha soldier or join the Nepali police force.

The diet in Nepal is a bit boring for someone used to variety to get their heads around however it is very filling and provides all the nutrients needed. Mainly the people eat twice a day every day, two substantial meals called dhal bhaat which translates to rice and lentils, the more you eat in Nepali culture the stronger you become, so there is always food available if you want seconds or thirds however the amount of rice is very filling. To complement the rice and lentil soup, a vegetable curry is added which is full of flavour and then a pickle is often added to the side of the dish to add a bit of spice if you like it. Meat is also eaten sometimes, however is seen as quite precious and definitely not eaten every day. The first of these two meals is eaten at about 9 45 which is regarded as lunch and then the second is eaten at 8PM. Although the massive gap between the meals, the feeling of hunger is never present due to the snacking on fruit throughout the day.

What I woke up to...

After lunch, the sun was shining as it often does in Nepal and as I was still new to the village, the people wanted to show me around the area so decided that we would go for a walk. We went in a group of five and set off out of the village, with umbrellas so we had protection from the sun and headed up on a steep path through the jungle area where the whole area was alive with activity, the sounds of insects communicating with each other and my first glimpse of a snake just going about its business and a few metres further on, one of the locals pointed out another snake so that was interesting to see two so close together! At the top of the steep path we decided to have a break and as the monsoon finished late this year, leeches were thriving in this surrounding and I spotted one crawling on the outside of my shoe and luckily not in it and quickly scraped it up on a rock.

After walking for about 45 minutes we came across the secondary school in the area, Byapani School where I met with the teachers and had a talk with the head teacher. It was quite surreal walking up to the school with all the kids staring at you in amazement and watching your every move. The school was pretty basic and very different from those in England with lessons seemingly based on facts and repeating knowledge told by the teacher. After the steep uphill we were now continuing down the other side of the large hill and came to a health centre and a town we stopped for a coke and it was interesting to see the health centre knowing that the Okhle village trust had helped to build it.

This snake was found and killed in a garden in Ghalegaun

After this we headed back to the village where the rest of the day was spent chilling out and the time was nearing to around 6 PM. I was going for dinner with Jagan and his family tonight, Jagan is 28 years old and married and has a young daughter, and he was a brilliant friend during my time in the village and spoke decent English and was training to be a trekking guide. I arrived at his house where his mother in law poured me a glass of raksi. What a drink! This is a home brewed wine made from the millet which surrounds all the houses in the fields. Every house makes their own so they all taste slightly different, I like to think of myself as a raksi connoisseur and this was one of the strongest I had tried. I later found out that the raksi was so strong because no one in the household drinks it so Jagan’s mother in law makes it purely to sell and for me. After a few drinks I had dinner of dhal bhaat with chicken which was good, however it is still a problem getting used to the amount of bones and random bits of liver and other things in with the chicken. After dinner I went to bed ready for what the next day would have in store.