5.15.2017

Nepal: A Trekking To Hakula, Solukhumbu 4: Across the Dudh Kosi and up to the village

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The bridge on the Dudh  Kosi
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Lalit, donkeys and me about to cross the river
The early morning has everywhere soft pink fingers to paint the sky and a golden light to enchant the traveler. After a good breakfast we start our trekking descending to the bridge on the Dudh Kosi river, Lalit, Niraj and me. There is some traffic! a long parade of donkeys carryng cement sacks... We speed up to cross the river first but I must take a picture here: Dudh Kosi is the highest river in terms of elevation as it "originates from the high-altitude areas of Mt Everest (8848 metres)". We are here about 1000 m so it has already made a lot of its way, still a part of its water is melted snow from the highest mountain in the world! 
Fortunately my bottle is filled with this fresh good water, because from here the path gets steep and the sun is already hot. "We climb for two hours maybe, we cross the jungla there" Lalit says pointing to the green patch on the top of the mountain "then it's flat until my village". 
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The first farms
We start climbing on a narrow path passing through small villages and farms. Here in 2015 the earthquake hit hard and people are building new houses or fixing the old ones. We cross the terraced fields of corn and millet on steep stone stairs. 
A larger 'road' is under costruction - dusty wound in the slopes of the mountain - but we follow the old path that's like a steep shortcut.
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Buiding a new house after the earthquake
"It takes me 45 minutes when I'm on my own" Lalit says while I drink my last sip of water siting in the shadow. I look down in the valley: the path is almost vertical so I can see the river, the bridge, the guesthouse too, the road for Waku and the farms we passed, with their straw roof.
Up we go and we get into the jungle, in the welcome shadow of the trees. Rhododendrons are blooming - red, pink and rosy - soft large flowers on the dark lucid green of the leaves. In Italy this is a small bush, in Nepal it's a tree and there are forests of Rhododendrons! 
This is not a touristic area, there are no lodges or guesthouses here, but the mountain is not wild and deserted, as people live in villages and isolated houses scattered in the steep slopes, all cultivated by tidy terracings. Subsistence farming is the most common occupation, but some houses also work as family lodges and emporium. By one of these houses we stop to eat something and to fill my bottle. 
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Up we go
The flat section is not that flat, but not that steep too. We are now by the other side of the mountain and soon we arrive to the village: several houses built in stone and wood among terracing fields. Lalit's home is the last one, two buildings facing an empty yard where many people are waiting for us.
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Blooming Rhododendrons (Pic by Lalit Rai)
I'm not prepared for this! Not only his family, but also a large delegation of the village Women Unity is there to welcome us. One by one they come to me, first, and to Lalit, then, saying 'Namaste' [Hello!] with their hand palms joined, and put a silk scarf or a flowers garland around our necks! 
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Arriving to the village
It's really a great welcome. I can't stop smiling watching their beautiful faces, kind and so friendly. Lalit's family, his father, his mother, his sisters and his bothers immediately adopt me. Later we are going to dance and more people will come, but now it's time to eat dal bhat and to take a restoring hot shower.

The family sleep in one of the two building, while the other one, newer, is a kind of a public house, with a guestroom - where I drop my backpack, and a large dinning room with a table and a bench where Lalit's father attend to neverlasting meeting with his fellow villagers, mostly men but also some women, because he's a bit a social leader and a candidate in the next local polls.
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Say cheese!
There is also a very good 'toilet': two buildings, one for the lavatory and one for the shower. In the last one there is as usual a plastic tub full of cold water, but Lalit comes from the kitchen with a big kettle of hot water. what a luxury! then the temperature of the air is not too cold in spite we are at about 2.000 m. I wonder how is it in winter, when here there is the snow... 
Lalit's father and mother don't speak English, but they try to comunicate anyway and are absolutely lovely. I give them my gifts from Italy: a typical Florentin tray and a book with many beautiful pictures of Florence.
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Let's play that madal!
His sisters and bothers had the chance to study: the girls have a degree, the boys are in the college and can hold a conversation. One of the sisters is a nurse in the Waku hospital, another one is employed in a Bank in Salleri. The family has made incredible sacrifices to allow them all to study and to get a good job, that's especially imporant for women, whose life is going to be very hard otherwise. 
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Let's dance!
A small crowd gathered in the yard, women, children but also a few men. Lalit holds a short speech, explaining that I comes from Italy as a guest and a friend, and that together we'll try to support the projects of development of the village. 
We bought a madal as a gift for the Women Unity and he solemnly hands it over to the WU leader.
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With Lalit's parents 
And it's finally time to play, to sing and to dance! Those women are very good at it, but I do my best. I'm very happy and a little tired. It's dark. I stop dancing and sit beside Lalit who's playing the madal. 
The women are dancing in a circle of people holding their smartphones to light up the scene! That's Nepal, a country of contrasts.
We take a lot of pictures of course, happy and playful like children. Then we go to sleep because tomorrow is a work day...

...........MORE TO COME....

SEE ALSO PART 1, PART 2 and PART 3.

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