Nepal CSA is leaving Kathmandu today and heading onto a series of new adventures. We said goodbye to our lovely Patan homestay families and are now in Nagarkot for three days of midcourse retreat (March 12 – 14) to reflect and process all that has happened so far, and set goals and intentions for the second half of the course. Nagarkot is a small, quiet hill town situated at the rim of the Kathmandu valley, which has some sublime views of the mountains.
Rural Homestays in Chaukati (March 15 – March 22): Next we will set off for Chaukati for about a week of rural homestays in that village. Michael and Prava-ji will join us and finish up Regional Seminar and Nepali language, respectively. We will also finish up Intercultural Development and Global Citizenship and dive into Independent Student Project methods, ethics, and project design to prep for the students’ upcoming independent study travel project. Chaukati is situated halfway up a mountain on the edge of a couple different National Parks and Reserves, has about a hundred households, and is within views of some of the high Tibetan Himalayan peaks.
We will be discussing some of the earthquake rebuilding efforts, local farming techniques, artisanal crafts, and slow rural ways of living. Until a couple years ago there was no road to Chaukati, and many people have never left the village or had seen cars prior to the finishing of that construction. But heretofore traditional ways of life are changing fast as products, knowledge and people from the outside world penetrate into the community. The village traditionally speaks Thami, a totally different language from Nepali, though most people in the village will speak the national tongue, and some younger folks will speak a bit of English.
Trekking Portion (March 23 – April 1): We will use Chaukati as the springboard to our trek in the Himalayan Mountains. We will be heading east to the Guarishankar Conservation Area to trek the Rowaling Valley for ten days. We will be doing a tea house trek with Prabighya, Suriya and Dawa Sherpa. We expect some cold weather, but also some sublime views and interesting conversations about trekking, tourism, and ways of life in the high mountains.
Rest and Recover in Boudha (April 2 – 3): After a hard trek we will spend two days in Boudha showering, doing laundry, and resting before we head to our Buddhist retreat.
Introduction to Buddhism at Namo Buddha (April 4 – April 10): Namo Buddha is a Kagyu Monastery (Black Hat Sect) situated above some small villages east of Kathmandu, built on the site where the Buddha was said to have fed himself to a tiger in a past life. We have asked Lama Tshering Tashi to come teach us about Buddhist history, philosophy, practices, community, ethics, and meditation. We will also be sharing all meals with the monks and participating with them during the puja ceremony at the monastery.
Then, we will prepare for and head into the student ISP individual travel and projects portion of the trip. More details on that to come later!