Anyways, I have been doing well. It has taken a little bit, but I have figured out how I want to go about working towards the 3 goals of the Food Security program in Nepal. The 3 goals are to increase nutrition/hygiene, food production/variety, and income generation. Now it is just implementing what I want to do and putting myself out there a little more. I am going to approach someone about tutoring me more in Nepali as while I do study on my own - more guidance may be beneficial.
Recently I found the cycles a volunteer goes through during service that we were given while in PST. I definitely agree with the feelings that come in the cycle where I am now - 7 months into service (Can anyone believe that?! I certainly can’t!) One of the items is language block. I don’t feel like my language is the greatest, but my Dee Dee says I speak about 25% and understand about 50%. My Dai said I spoke about 30%. I felt that was quite generous as most days I feel like I only know 5%.
I have made bricks to build two more improved cookstoves when I get back to site. I am also going to have another site visit to help clarify things. While I understand a lot of Nepali culture, there are some things that I find clash with my personality. For instance, guys and girls don’t really hang out with each other. Girls are usually occupied with housework while guys hang out outside of the house.
It’s actually been really weird for me - I don’t feel comfortable sitting outside the house alone when guys are hanging out across the street… However, I came from an environment where I was the only girl for some time playing games (before girlfriends/fiancés/now wives began showing up). Life in village is definitely a balancing act as you figure out how to be yourself in a culturally appropriate way, but without losing who you are in the process.
I have had to catch myself when people ask me to explain a few differences between Nepal and America. I stop at saying that in America, typically men and women are treated equally. Anything else I see myself going on a rant about the strong gender roles here. That is another item on the cycles a volunteer goes through at my current point in service - intolerance for cultural behaviors. I wouldn’t say I am intolerant, but some of them are certainly frustrating me!
Ma eklie janna sawkchoo. This is a phrase I made sure I learned at IST. I can go by myself. I understand that it is not done often, but when other people are busy with their work what do you do? Your options are to either sit around at the house waiting for someone to be available to go with you or even though it is not common - do it yourself. That is the heart of why I have been a little lost figuring out my role. I want to go out in the community, but too often the timing is not right for me to go with someone and it is not common to walk alone.
It’s getting better, but now I have been working on breaking out of being in that mould. Others don’t necessarily stop me now, but after being in that mindset and trying to respect that part of culture - it’s been a little difficult for me to transition out of that thinking as well. I’m getting there! Certainly has been a process, though. I have found it pretty quick to adapt to things, but after realizing it is not something I should have adapted well to - it’s hard to change back.