I have been spending my last couple of days with my hosts – Nima and Suku Sherpa here in Boudha, Kathmandu. Their son Kelshan has also been helping our team with logistics and their daughter is now here through December. She has been living in Dallas and just finished her Masters there. Her boyfriend opened a Tibetan restaurant in Toronto a couple of years ago – she will be joining him there after her stay at home. They will be getting married this year.
It is part of the Nepali culture to treat your guests as family – guests get served first and are totally prioritized in every way during their stay. I cannot say enough about my time here.
Suku’s family has a long history here in Boudha – her grandfather was once the head Llama here in the center of Buddhism in Kathmandu. The land where the famous nearby Stupa was built was owned by her family. Both Suku and Nima have influencial family ties. Most of the Lodges where we have stayed during our trekking time here are owned by relatives. One of Nima’s cousins is an owner in the up and coming Sherpa brand of outdoor clothing which is based in Seattle – the products are produced here in Nepal. Elias and Bridget have developed close ties with the family. Nima, Suku and their daughter visited them in Ashford when they were last in the US.
I have learned a few things about the culture here during my stay with them. Suku’s mother had 8 daughters (including Suku) with Suku’s father but because she had not had a son, he took a second wife and had another family with her including a son. It is a custom in this culture because of the importance of having a son to carry on the family name. Suku’s mother lives nearby and is now 80 – her father lives with his second wife and just turned 81. The two families remain very close and get together for holidays and events.
Sons have priority in the family, especially the eldest. Daughters often, by custom, will return home after schooling to help with household chores, until they are married. Their careers are secondary. This is changing in the upper and middle classes but not so in the general classes of society. Nima’s daughter has been enlightening me – she is very bright and engaging.
I have been spending time walking around the Stupa. Nima walks around it (always in a clockwise direction) each morning, as part of his meditation and intoning a mantra. Many others are there at that early time of day before the shops open and tourists arrive. Suku gets up everyday around 530 and goes on a 90 minute walk as part of her health regiment. She also serves her family a very healthy diet much in the way that organic foods and free range sources of protein have become important in our culture. Nima has diabetes and problems with high blood pressure which does run in his family.
Lonnie, Bridget, and Elias along with climbing Sherpa Furba should now be heading towards Ama Dablam for their very difficult climb of this very technical and difficult mountain. I haven’t heard from them in the last couple of days. Pascale is heading to Island Peak to summit this mountain in the Khumbu with her guide, Dendi. She is heading next to Thailand for an adventure there with climbing and kite-flying ( the type where you are attached and flying yourself).
I have included a few photos from the Stupa. It was damaged in the earthquake and lost its top which is being restored. It will take another couple of years. Also one of the typical electric lines here in Kathmandu and one of a singing bowl shop. The singing bowls are a tool for healing and have different tone for affecting different chakras in the body.