What worries you, masters you.

Now I’m going to say John Locke wasn’t so wrong. And I’m going to do it be getting up close and personal to my 19 year old self from 2  years ago. I’m going to get frisky with the crippling fears and worries I have had just to come out a better person, a changed person, someone who I am proud to be.

That’s what I would say if this were a good-heart-diary-blog. But it’s not.

I have said before that Nepal has changed me. But why is that? Why didn’t Moldova change me? Or did it? Why am I so incredibly critical of everything and so hard to impress?

I have had an extremely privileged life; and I don’t mean because I am an upper-middle class white girl that grew up in Europe. I don’t say it because for the last ten years or so my father has been in upper managerial positions at work, and I don’t say it because I grew up with an intact family that loved each other.

It’s simple, I grew up without worries.

Yes, times have been rough, harsh. I was born in the time of the second gulf war…in Turkey. I lived through the huge floods in Romania, while living in Bucharest, and I was a student without a job during the greatest economic breakdown since the great depression. But none of these really affected me. I was surrounded by my parents and my brother who always made sure I had nothing to worry about.

I grew up in a bubble that nurtured my hope, let me have fears, that helped me deal with my problems in a healthy manner and that taught me determination, hard work, hope and love can overcome anything. And to this day, I think this is true.

So why the huge worries? Why the crippling fear of the future or in the words of Augustus Waters, oblivion?

Almost exactly two years ago my family was torn apart. I was left with seemingly nothing.

I felt it was my fault; that I had brought this on myself and that I should no longer have a place on this earth. I hated what I was doing at University. I wasn’t learning what I felt would help me in the future. I wasn’t happy with the people I was surrounded by and my monetary pillar had also crashed. I was stuck in an apartment by myself wondering at night wondering how long it would take for someone to notice I was gone, who and how they would find me.

The only thing that kept me going was the thought of what my mother had gone through and how the disappearance of me would probably end her completely.

So I started drawing and painting, reading into art-therapy and self reflection. Really began thinking about myself, my situation, my family. Hope. Love. Determination.

I got really into Tumblr and have learnt SO much, met people that are in a similar situation to me. I have learnt it’s not all over.

My dissertation was coming up, so I seized the opportunity to learn about myself. I achieved this by keeping it as objective as possible. Reading on Third Culture Kids, Identity development, bilingualism and the lack of a home made me question myself in ways I hadn’t done before.

Finally, I decided to put a lot of my efforts into planning my trip to Nepal. I made that distant dream become tangible. Instead of asking Why? I began asking Why not? Suddenly, I had something to look forward to. A hope to achieve something. To make something of myself. To change someone’s life.

Who was I kidding?

At this point, I’d like to refer to this wonderfully insightful blog post by Pippa Biddle that describes all the thoughts I had before going on my trip perfectly. Nonetheless, I decided to grant myself my wish and go. And boy am I happy I did. FACE Nepal, Patihani and the kids did more for me than I could ever do for them. Yes, I might have given them some fun in the fun lives they already leave. I might have taught them the word “butt” (which seems to be a univerasl trigger word of laughter). At this point, I would also like to thank Shreeram for helping me through the crisis I had over there. When I asked him what the point of my being there was actually; that I was just being selfish that there was nothing I could do for the country; to uplift the community, he simply responded with a smile and a speech about the importance of the individual. About how it’s not the country you need to save. It’s the individual children. The Pardeep and the Shrishti. Nepal doesn’t need saving. The children need hope, communication, world-views. And that is what I was there for. To brighten the eyes, to create joy and to maybe teach them a little English.

So what does this all have to do with Locke’s saying?

All the worries I had about my mother, my brother, my future, the world, my inability to help, my fragility made me question my importance. My raison d’etre if you want. It drove me mad to the point of being unable to think about anything else. It stopped me from questioning my  worries. It just showed me them. It drove me close to insanity. It MASTERED me.

But not anymore. No, no, no. I would like to say that one day I just woke up and decided to say NO, but then I’d be lying to you. It was a journey a physical as well as metaphorical one.

And now, I am a similar situation as I was two years ago: finishing a degree without a clear future. But the difference now is that I am relatively happy with where I am, what I am doing and who I am with. I surround myself with people conducive to my physical, emotional and academic well-being. I still don’t really have a plan. But I know I want to do good. I know I can’t do everything. I know I can’t change the world by myself. But I can change MY world. And I am now ready to to accept that. To understand that MY world is as important as the rest of the worlds.

I have fears and worries. But I no longer let them master me. So while I still say that Locke isn’t wrong. I think that worry is also necessary. Without worries of something being wrong, how would we improve? Without worrying about someone else, without empathy, why would we reach out to help?

library from afar?

I have written a lot about the library I helped organize. I don’t know if I have focused enough on my worries that it will not be used…well. I’m really worried my work was in vain.

BUT!

good news!

A new volunteer has arrived in Patihani for FACE Nepal. It is part of her job to look after the library. She has developed a sign out system and has told me that the library really is open every day, and that the kids are actually using the library regularly! 🙂

exciting stuff.

final touches.

Today I finished the final touches of the library (ie the final painting)

As I was doing so, at some point I just had to laugh…three years ago, my art teacher was always trying to get me to work on bigger and bigger canvases for my IB Art show…I wonder if this would have been big enough ^^

Well. Tomorrow will be the teachers’ introduction and then my stay in Nepal is over. My stay with FACE Nepal however will not finish now.

Every three months we will hand out a questionnaire to the teachers, the headmaster and the students to be able to analyse the usage of the library. Exciting things are happening.

This is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping for when I came to Nepal. I wanted something to take back ‘home’ with me to continue working for the NGO, or at least the country. And this is just PERFECT! 🙂

Thank you FACE Nepal for allowing me to do this project!

FACE Nepal

Friendship Association and Community Education, Nepal.

Shreeram House, Main Office.

Patihani ist ein Ort im Terai, in der naehe des Royal Chitwan National Parks. Umgeben von Reisfeldern (die, wie im Film, mit Ochsen betrieben werden), zweistoeckigen Bauernhaeusern (die allesamt mindestens eine Kuh, einen Bullen und ein Kalb im Stall stehen haben), und ganz viel Gegend wohne, arbeite und lernen ich.

Jeden Tag kommt mein Lehrer um mir Nepali naeher zu bringen. Wer an das Sprichwort: “Deutsche Sprache, schwere Sprache” glaubt, hat noch nie versucht Nepali zu lernen. 😛

Nein, es laeuft eigentlich ganz gut, fuer das, dass ich erst so kurz hier bin habe ich mich schon ganz gut eingelebt.

Tagesablauf:

  • Sonnenaufgang: Aufstehen
  • Waschen, Klo gehen
  • Chiya trinken
  • Nepaliunterricht
  • Hausaufgaben mit Aisha machen
  • Daalbhat
  • Arbeiten, rum sitzehn, Hausaufgaben machen, etc.
  • Chiya trinken
  • irgendetwas machen
  • Daalbhat
  • Auf die Dachterasse gehen
  • Schlafen gehen

Das Leben in Nepal faengt frueh an. Schlafen geht man dann auch frueh.

Obwohl eigentlich jeder hier ein Bauer ist, und vieles von dem was er/sie isst selbst angepflanzt wird, ist es SEHR entspannt. Der Nepalese kennt keinen Stress.

Ich hab soeben das FACE Nepal Profil fertiggestellt und warte jetzt auf meinen naechsten Auftrag. Das Unterrichten faengt erst naechste Woche an. Dann bin ich entweder hier, oder im FACE Nepal Learning Centre um 2h am Tag zu unterrichten. Die restliche Zeit bin ich im Office um Sachen fuer Schreeram zu erledigen.

Kathmandu-Patihani

Am naechsten Tag holte Arjit mich um ca. 9 Uhr ab. Diesmal aber mit dem Taxi (So ein Luxus!). Wieder fuhren wir durch Gassen die fuer mich alle gleich aussahen, und ich wunderte mich wie die Leute es hier schaffen sich zurecht zu finden. Irgendwann kamen wir an eine grosse Strasse (wirklich gross, 4 Spurig!…oder so ungefaehr 4 Spurig). Dort warteten viele Minibusse darauf mit Menschen befuellt zu werden. Wir gingen an diesen aber vorbei um zu einem Restaurant zu gelangen. Fruehstueckszeit. Daalbhat-Zeit. Da wir die naechsten 6-8h jedoch im Bus sitzen werden entschloss ich mich dazu nichts zu essen, und nur eine Tasse Chiya (Nepalesischer Tee. Schwarzer Tee mit Gewuerzen und Milch–gibts auch jeden Tag 2 mal) zu trinken.

Dann fing die Fahrt an. Also, eigentlich nicht. Dann fing die warterei an. Der Minibuss faehrt naehmlich erst los, wenn er voll ist. Das dauert seine Zeit.

Ich hab schon am zweiten Tag aufgegeben auf die Uhr zu schauen. Also hab ich keine Ahnung wie lange wir gewartet haben!

Irgendwann ging es dann aber los. Die fahrt war lang und holprig, aber auch WUNDERSCHOEN! Waehrend die Nepalesen schliefen schaute ich mich um. Sobald wir aus Kathmandu heraus waren hat man nur mehr Berge gesehen (Nicht den Himalaya..sondern nur das zentrale Bergland). Die “Strasse” schmiegt sich an die Berge, was die Fahrt sehr aufregend, und wahrscheinlich gefaehrlich, macht. Trotzdem war sie WUNDERSCHOEN.

Der Fensterplatz: Als einzige nicht Nepalesin hatte ich die Ehre am Fenster zu sitzen. Dies ist gleichzeitig ein gut und schlecht. Einerseits hatte ich einen konstanten Windstrom der mich abkuehlte im Gesicht, andererseits hatte ich einen konstanten Windsturm im Gesicht. Das Fenster durfte ich nicht zu machen, denn dann wuerden die restlichen Fahrgaeste an der Hitze ersticken.

Nach einiger Zeit blieben wir stehen, um eine Mittagspause zu machen. Daalbhat, Klo (ja! Es gab eins!-Nepalstyle), Gesichtswaesche und weiter. In Nayarangath (oder so) stieg ich aus, bekam meinen Rucksack (der aufs Dach geschnuert wurde) wieder und stand vor Shreeram (MD of FACE Nepal).

Die naechste Motorradfahrt stand mir bevor.

Wir schlaengelten uns durch die Loecher und kamen dann irgendwann bei Shreeram zu Hause an. Mein Zimmer wurde mir gezeigt und dann kamen auch schon die zwei Kinder zu mir um mich u begruessen.

Alles hat geklappt!