Things I love about farm life in Nepal (in no particular order):

/ > Hands. All I can say is hands. Magic hands do it all – harvesting juicy red coffee beans one by one, pulling coffee tree branches down low to get high-up beans, removing thousands of fermenting rinds off of harder-to-peel beans, scooping wet slimy beans into buckets, carrying buckets down to the water source, scooping water out of the well, washing each half bucket of beans ten times and stirring them clean (of course, with your hands), spreading a sea of coffee beans out to dry, and piling mounds of them up for safe keeping again at night, climbing trees, weeding gardens, washing dishes, pots, cups, sweeping the dirt ground, washing buckets out for their next use (and they have many), scrubbing and rinsing clothes, getting peas and lentils out of their pods, squeezing hundreds of lemons, peeling oranges, feeding the orange rinds to the momma goat, milking the buffalo, picking radishes. Washing your hands. If you’re Nepali, eating your food (without utensils.) Today Chris came back from a day trip to Pokhara with a rake for Surya. Can this possibly change everything? (I doubt it.)

/ > Carrying stuff on your back (or head). There’s no fancy machines or conveyor belts or trucks or tractors or elevators or pulleys moving things up and down the hills. There are women and Americans loading up buckets and jugs and carrying them in baskets on our backs, held up by a rope with a headband on the front to secure with your forehead.

/ > Tea time (twice a day).

/ > Nap time (if I need it or have time to kill.)

/ > There’s only ONE farm tool in this whole place that uses electricity: the de-pulper. I’m not sure if that’s the name or just what I imagined it was called. It takes the rind off the coffee beans. That’s the one thing I’m glad we have, or de-pulping would take a looong time. There’s aren’t even hand-crank devices. Weeding is done with a curved blade. A man comes down the street plucking his single string on the cotton weaving device he carries that looks like a musical instrument, advertising his service — spinning cotton. The day before we got here they got a rice cooker. Besides light bulbs not much else requires electricity. That’s especially good because there isn’t electricity for 1/2 the day anyhow. When we need to charge our cameras and computers Surya just unplugs his flat screen and wi-fi router… just kidding.

AdikariCoffeeFarm_21foreground: a pile of whole coffee // midground: the coffee de-pulping machine

/ > Star-gazing, at least for a little while every night. And sunsets — a great time to take a walk.

/ > Spiders and their webs. In Pokhara, while we were waiting for our Thanksgiving tempura to be served, we were standing up in our shoe-less booth to watch the spiders weaving their webs in the paper lamp above the table. Each of the four tassels hanging from the corners formed a curved-in spine for a big web, each with a nail-sized spider sitting in the middle. Our waiter asked if we enjoyed watching the spiders “making their home”. Yes, we did very much. And I especially enjoy that the spiders are at home, in just about every room in Nepal that I’ve been in, going about their lives, living together with their mountain people. They come in all sizes, and I wouldn’t dream of killing them or disturbing their homes (unless they’re blocking a nice cluster of juicy red coffee beans during harvest.)

My bed mate
My bedfellow

/ > The bee box in our bedroom above the buffalo. Midday, while we’re out doing our chores, hundreds of bees are flying in and out of their bee home in our window. There’s another one right in front of ‘the library’, or shared bookshelf in the hallway in front of everyone else’s rooms. I’m not worried at all about them, and I doubt they think much of me.

/ > Cows in the street. Just munching away, or drinking from a puddle by one of the watering holes. Some have hilarious voices, like the baby calf who sounds half frog, and crack me up.

/ > School children everywhere, especially around 3PM. The other day I was carrying baskets with my head and I passed by a couple dozen of them. Some boys say “Hello!” like little parrots and others laugh at my uncharacteristic role of a white boy with french braids and two flowers in his hair doing the women’s work, and when you make eye contact with the girls they press their hands together saying “Namaste”, then turn away giggling like, well, school girls.


The baby goats. I already wrote about them, but they’re just like Kids! (bu dum bom ba!) So playful, excitedly scrambling and hopping around with all four legs at once, loving to jump on each other and you! If you bend down, they’ll jump on your back. Or your lap. And eat your hair. At three weeks old they still only drink from Maa, but they seize those nipples with ferocity (to get the milk flowing again) and the boy is already trying to mount the girl one. Supposedly he’s been doing it since 10 days old! They’re a riot. Today while we were peeling beans they were jumping on everyones backs so Ama put a basket over them with a rock on top. They just went to sleep. And Bonnie had one in her arms, and with his legs all folded like origami he fell right asleep, out cold! Ama thought he was dead, and was sticking her finger in its mouth to see if he’d suckle. Nope! So funny! Kids!

/ > Dal Bhat (translated Lentils & Rice). Usually accompanied by a vegetable curry (right now it’s the seasonal potatoes and cauliflower,) and another season vegetable (like stewed greens or a little chutney and pickle). It’s our two meals a day, and the two meals of pretty much every Nepali person. Ama changes it up just a little every day. Yesterday Ama made Roti, flat bread. The night before, pigeon peas in the curry! Today, Chris brought us each a samosa from Pokhara! Today’s stewed greens tasted more delicious than ever, as she let me watch her cook them, and I could taste the garden tomatoes I never knew were in there, and the onion, and mustard oil.

Dal Bhat!Dal bhat

/ > Listening to my iPod before bed while writing in my journal, listening to an Out Hud song named “Dear Mr. Bush, There are Over 100 Words for Shit and Only 1 for Music. Fuck you, Out Hud”. It’s two beautiful worlds coming together, East and West. Is my real home back East, or back West? I feel at home here too. I love missing all the things I love about life in NY. Like ice cream and soy milk, tacos, avocados, and un-chicken patties. And my whole entire family. And my darling friends and special lady. And my precious spoiled and handsome turtle! And the Holidays. We were talking about making ginger bread houses today and I got a warm tingle in my heart. I’ve never been without the Holidays before! Twinkle lights, christmas specials, egg nog, decorations, the family tree chop, bloody marys and horseradish dip! It’s so wonderful to miss it all, because the emotion is all positive, I can appreciate it unadulterated, and it will be even sweeter next time!

Wow, midnight already! And I’m getting up to watch the sun rise over the southern ridge of the Annapuras this morning! Baaaaaaaaah!


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