Sad! Our last night at the farm. We all really love it here, and as every signatory in the guest book can attest to from the years the Adikari’s have had their open home/farm, this place feels like a home you never want to leave. And for that reason we have repeatedly extended our stay form 3 nights to over a week. Tonight I was the bad guy, because folks were talking about staying another night (again, 5th night in a row) and I said “No, let’s just get on with it!” I’m probably the biggest wuss of the group when it comes to long-distance biking, but I’ve been mentally preparing for the long haul and I just want to start already. (Do I sound defensive?)
Really, though, this place rules. If anyone wants to volunteer on a farm and get to know Nepali people, I’d definitely recommend it here. My cohorts only went to one farm before I arrived, and on that farm they didn’t even have to work (that farm was a big machine with day laborers, albeit an organic one). This place is the real deal, and I think everyone wanted to stay because, for the first time on the whole trip, it’s the all-around most pleasant, beautiful, stress-free, friendly, warm, communal, open and loving environment we’ve found. Plus, there are tigers! Today’s breaking news over morning tea was that last night a small tiger killed two goats down the road, and the store by the school house got robbed for 6000 rupees by some punk kids! And I thought all Nepali’s were so sweet! The Adikari’s are appalled at kids these days. (FYI, 6k rupees is about $80, but that’s a lot of dough around here.)
The Adikari House is also a focal point of the region’s farming community, as it’s the “Pulping Center” and growers and harvesters from all over the mountain bring their coffee beans here for weighing and processing. (Surya sells all the beans on behalf of the whole mountain to Everest Coffee, who brings them to market in Japan.) Throughout the day farmers drop off their daily harvest, or sometimes it’s their children passing through on their way to school (which is just up the road). It’s been really nice to become part of the community instead of passers-through, as many neighbors and people in the neighborhood see us every day, and we all interface with them regularly. The kids jump on and hang all over us like family, too. Yesterday , Cara got a makeover by the girls next door. Today, we washed our clothes and hair with Bimela, the neighbor’s 11-year old daughter. Today, after tuning up my bike, I took a ride down the street (with a 4-year old on sitting on my back rack). Not to mention the 11 guests who are currently staying here at the house with a common interest and widespread origins — our great web of purpose is expanded and fortified.
Tomorrow at 9am, with our 4 bikes and 20 bags, we will board the decorated bus that comes down our road once a day, so we don’t kill ourselves getting off this mountain. (Yesterday my crazy friends took a bike ride a short ways down the mountain, without luggage — I passed without hesitation — and all 3 fell off and suffered minor injuries due to the untamed terrain.) I have a feeling we will be riding on top of the bus, which is exciting! I’ve heard nothing but Fun! (On a safety note, and I know this sounds terrible, but in the event of an accident, like falling off a cliff, which is always a concern when riding these mountain-traversing third-world buses, at least we can jump off instead of tumbling down trapped like sardines.) Our morning descent will only be a short trip, 30 minutes to the bottom, and it’ll be slow-going. Also, if you’re reading this, I made it OK!, (as I’m typing all this stuff from the least 8 days offline, posted from the safety somewhere in wild beautiful Nepal.) Next stop, after maybe 3 days of biking, is Royal Chitwan National Park! (where all the postcards of huge Bengali tigers and doing it originate.) As we say maybe a hundred times a day and night, Namaste!
Or for a good old fashioned good night: Subayatri!