Okay, it wasn’t bad, but we didn’t get to do a lot of ministry on Sunday. First let me correct a misconception. I said that the Bed and Breakfast was a typical Nepali house. You have to understand that there are two different typical houses in Nepal – those owned by the very rich and the very poor. You saw the picture of the Bed and Breakfast; this is the house just outside the window of the Guest House. That is the story of all of Nepal. The haves and the have-nots.
Anyway, our host had told us that breakfast would be around 6 a.m. at the Guest House. We were there, but everyone else was asleep. Little did we know that we had to make our own breakfast, but we were learning. We had been told that Sunday may bring a “bundai,” a nation-wide strike that prohibited any vehicles over 2 wheels from being on the road. Sure enough, the strike happened, and we were stuck at the Guest House until after 5 p.m. You see, the people of Nepal are seeking more freedoms. Ironically, the new constitution restricts many freedoms. It is already a crime to proselytize; if things go the way they think they will, it may become illegal to share the gospel. However, that is not one of the freedoms the people are striking for. The “bundai” was peaceful in Kathmandu, but the next day saw riots with as many as 18 people dead including some police officers. For a nation already struggling for survival, these types of issues threaten to bring them to their knees.
So the day, for us, was consumed with orientation, rest, and purchasing supplies once we could get a vehicle on the road. Oh, yeah, we had an awesome day of worship, too. A group of Americans from our host organization decided that they needed to begin a church for their families so that they could maintain the traditions of our churches. Since the Nepalis worship on Saturday, this made perfect sense. Young professionals with families coming together to worship in a foreign land.
It was very special, and, no doubt, prepared us for the coming days. After church, we went to a little Nepali restaurant down the road from the Guest House. We had mo-mos, a dumpling-like food with vegetables and pork, french fries coated with carrots, and crispy-fried chicken tenders. I will say this again: the food was delicious.
So after 5 p.m., we loaded into two taxis and headed for Tomal, an area of Kathmandu with all sorts of shops. It was a wild ride. The best way I can describe it is to say that it was a two lane road with cars, trucks, and motorcycles riding 4 and 5 abreast weaving in and out while blowing horns and slamming on brakes. By the end of the week, I saw the pattern. It was like a living organism working together to get to the desired goal. The horns were sounded as much out of respect as warning. The idea was to let the other drivers know of your intention to cut them off, but there was no road rage. No anger on their faces. And no accidents which was amazing.
So a few hours later, we had walking sticks, sleeping bag inserts, and umbrellas. Shopping was an amazing experience in itself. In Nepal, if you don’t try to negotiate the price, the merchants don’t respect you, and the tendency is to charge what they think you can pay rather than the value of the item. Fortunately, our host did a good job, and the costs were minimal, but we had only just begun. Then we went for more food – pizza! Yes, there was lots of Western food available in the city, but not in the villages.