Sunday, May 20, 2018

What’s it Like to Get Medically Treated in Nepal?



It’s different - a lot different and not as pretty. A few years ago I fell and broke/badly sprained my ankle. While at the hospital I needed to use the toilet. No problem. I found a fairly clean ladies restroom, but with a squat, Indian style toilet. How does an old western lady squat on one leg? Knowing the entire ordeal would cost less than $40 helped; my ankle healed just fine.

When you go to a hospital in Nepal you will first have to go to the reception to pay. Yes, pay first, 20 Nrs., for the doctor exam and 20 more for the ‘patient book’ that you’ll need to keep track of. This is the only record of your medical condition. Take care of it and bring it back with you for any follow-up visits. Everything is written in that little book. Next, you go to the exam room, give the assistant your book and wait in the hallway for your name to be called. By the way, they never ask for ID, so it’s a great way to get a completely discreet test or treatment


The Nepali like to go early, but if you go around 11 am you can usually see the doctor without waiting so long. Another reason I like to go a bit later is most of the people are already gone. When they call your name you will step into the exam room. The door is left open and everyone who’s still there will come into the room with you. You’ll hear echoes of your age, where you’re from and especially what’s wrong with you. I’m sure you could ask to have the door closed if you feel uncomfortable or have to take your clothes off. Don’t be shy to speak up.

The doctors speak English and just about all the doctors have been educated in India or Europe. Additionally, doctors from the west come to teach new techniques and bring new equipment.

So after the exam you’ll need to go back to the reception to pay for the next step. Pay for the X-ray and go to that room, then find the appropriate doctor and have another exam, get blood work-up and come back on a certain day, whatever. This is one thing in Nepal that you absolutely need to have a ‘Nepali friend’ to be with you. He can go pay for the next test or procedure and take you to the next room. It’s quite chaotic if you don’t know what to expect. Your guesthouse manager can provide you with a ‘friend’ to accompany you for around $5.

Drug treatment center

US doctors don’t even look you in the eye. Nepali doctors will spend as long as you need. You might even find you don’t need a doctor. One expat friend living here tells me she was feeling dizzy and just went to a pharmacy. The pharmacist gave her some medication that she looked up on the web. I know, a bit over the top. I’ve done that many times with a sinus infection, but dizziness in my 60’s would a bit risky. Dizziness is an early symptom just about every disease and brain problem, right?

Although in the past, a person could walk up to any pharmacist and ask for anything and the pharmacist could provide it, times have changed. Nowadays, there are regulations and even sleeping pills need a doctor's prescription. I thought about quieting our barking street dogs with a half a benedryl, but is not available in Nepal and you need to see a doctor to get sleeping pills. Those horrible patches and medications drug dealers use to make the crazy designer drugs are not available here, either. However, it would be possible to get such drugs with a well-respected doctor's recommendation. The rules can be a bit more bendable in Nepal.


Here are two scenarios I have in mind. First, a person from the US has chronic back pain from an old injury. He/She comes here and makes a connection with a well-respected doctor in that field. We help the person to get the tests, procedures and medications they need. When they go back home they can take some medications in the suitcase and some in their carry-on. By that time they will know how the meds are working for them. They will also have a medical prescription so you shouldn't have a problem traveling with them. If you run out or decide not to come back to Nepal we could ship you some meds via UPS where they deliver them to your door, usually without any tariff. My friend with the pills for dizziness paid 60 cents each, but that is way more than I ever heard of medication costing in Nepal. Your cost to ship them would be $40 max for UPS plus $10 for our staff to get them from the pharmacy and take them to the parcel service, plus the price of the drug (really cheap). You could easily pay via Paypal. 

The second scenario would be a person with a lot of dental work needed and who lives in the cold areas of the US. Other countries are also welcome, but probably won't have so many medical issues. Such a person can come here and get testing and treatments as needed. Such people can enjoy being catered to and relax. Perhaps you would like to write a book, do some research or volunteer. 

We can keep you busy with whatever you like, trekking, yoga, etc. and the village is so friendly you'll have many friends.
 
One of our rooms with a lovely view. Curtains have been added.


My suggestion would be to come to Nepal after August 1 if you want to get out of the winter weather. This is the magic date for the maximum time you can be in Nepal on a tourist visa. You can stay here until May 31 of the following year or you can leave March 31 and come back in November for 5 months in a calendar year. A recent couple staying with us at Star View Guest House rent their little house in the countryside in their country for over $500 a week and travel throughout the winter in Asia. Read more...

 
Our hilltop with a neighbor grazing her goats.

Our Offer: We can provide you with a lovely room with a view, room heater, electric blanket, room fan, attached bathroom (no tub), 24 hour hot water, WIFI, electricity, all the meals you want to eat while you are at the guesthouse, transportation by car for sightseeing and help getting your health needs taken care of. We have knowledge of many hospitals and modalities available in Nepal. I think the more you look into this topic the more you’ll see it in a positive light.

If you’d like to stay with us to take care of such things and get out of the harsh winter we can provide all the things mentioned above from $800 a month on a 6 month contract, including airfare (we will refund you any excess after the airfare is paid for) or $600 a month without any obligation in case the guesthouse isn’t a good fit for you. We can help you find your own flat if you’d like, as well. Additionally, if this is outside of your budget we can do a work exchange for those who'd like to volunteer, not free but discount.

If this is of interest feel free to reach out to explore it. FrugalTravelsNepal(at) gmail.com or connect with us on social media.

Twitter: @FrugalTravelsNe
               @KayGarnay4Nepal
               @StarViewChangu

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frugal.travels
Like our pages:
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Websites:   http://KayGarnay.org
                  http://FrugalTravelsNepal.Blogspot.com
         http://StarViewNepal.com






Medical Care in Nepal-Doable?



Americans have been lied to. We all know that, but are you aware of the lies involving travel and medical services while you travel? We’re told that only American doctors can be trusted and only the American healthcare system works. I remember when Obama Care was getting started. ‘You don’t want to be like France, do you?’ was the question of the day. I even heard France has medical care only until a person hits age 82. I traveled to France that same year and I asked a French woman I met. She was speechless! The very thought that anyone would even think such a thing about the French people or the French government was an insult to her, and rightly so.

It is also not true what we are convinced of, that the US has the best healthcare, best educational system and the best society. Well, it would be hard to justify any of these claims on the world stage anyway.

I didn’t even know what it was, but I believed it, American exceptionalism. Now, after traveling around the planet awhile and landing in a culture about as far removed from my own as possible, now I understand better.

In my haste to get my health taken care of before traveling, I ended up with a bad root canal. I started to take the travel vaccines, but decided against them. Although everyone needs to come to terms with this issue, I feel as though I made the right decision for myself. I actually met a couple of people who had to get treated for rabies and a couple more who got typhoid fever, so consider the topic well. Typhoid is transmitted by bad water and 'poopy' hands. It’s fairly rare, even in Nepal. Rabies is from animals, which I tend of avoid in my everyday life. I’ll probably die from something else.

When my doctor in the states made his pitch for shots, he told me that hospitals around the world do not use disposable needles. This is true, but extremely misleading. Tourists from the west are treated much better at hospitals than local people are. Even if you were in the most remote place in the Himalayas, I think you’d get a fresh needle.

A janitor wearing gloves as he works at a Nepali hospital

Another issue is about the quality of the medication you find outside the US. They say a person can even get a counterfeit drug at a pharmacy overseas. No, although that could happen, there are ways to know if it’s a high quality product. It isn’t that hard.

Why am I on a rant about this? Because of the problems in the US regarding healthcare; many people are struggling with medications due to the high costs of drugs and deductibles. The elderly and disabled are having to choose food or medicine when it doesn’t have to be that way.

I’ve been trying to get the word out that Americans can get excellent healthcare in places like Nepal. It can be a challenge, but it’s doable. You can find state-of-the-art equipment like the MRI Splice that can see your entire body for under $100. That price and a round trip airfare will still probably save you money and it’s the same machine you’d use in the finest hospital in New York City. You would get the narrative and slides sent to you via email. Read more...

Our Offer: We can provide you with a lovely room with a view, room heater, electric blanket, room fan, attached bathroom (no tub), 24 hour hot water, WIFI, electricity, all the meals you want to eat while you are at the guesthouse, transportation by car for sightseeing and help getting your health needs taken care of. We have knowledge of many hospitals and modalities available in Nepal. I think the more you look into this topic the more you’ll see it in a positive light.

If you’d like to stay with us to take care of such things and get out of the harsh winter we can provide all the things mentioned above from $800 a month on a 6 month contract, including airfare (we will refund you any excess after the airfare is paid for) or $600 a month without any obligation in case the guesthouse isn’t a good fit for you. We can help you find your own flat if you’d like. Additionally, if this is outside of your budget we can do a work exchange for those who'd like to volunteer.

If this is of interest feel free to reach out to explore it. FrugalTravelsNepal(at) gmail.com or connect with us on social media.

Twitter: @FrugalTravelsNe
               @KayGarnay4Nepal
               @StarViewChangu

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frugal.travels
Like our pages:
https://www.facebook.com/starviewretreat/
https://www.facebook.com/KayGarnay4Nepal/
https://www.facebook.com/Changu.Bhaktapur/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kaygarnay/
HelpX.Net: http://www.helpx.net/host.asp?hostid=17074
Websites:   http://KayGarnay.org
                  http://FrugalTravelsNepal.Blogspot.com
         http://StarViewNepal.com








Tuesday, May 8, 2018

How to Catch a Bus to Varanasi, India


It's good to have new alternatives when traveling to, from or in Nepal. If I had to say what the worst part of living in Nepal is I'd have to say it's the road/transportation issue. Well, you can't get to India without going by airplane, private taxi or bus. Of the buses, please take my advice and only take a 'tourist' bus. The local buses are not well maintained and do not always stop often enough for the female passengers. This is particularly so for the night busses.



Purchasing a ticket is fairly simple. Just go to any trekking company in Thamel, Patan, Bhaktapur, Pokhara and ask for a quote. It's important to understand that if they are not a direct representative of the bus line they will put a commission on top of what the normal charge is. That's the bad news, that you will need to shop to get the proper price. However, the good news is the one-way ticket to anywhere in Nepal or to northern India will cost less than $20. You can ask your guesthouse manager for a ticketing office.

The bus to Varanasi leaves from Swayambhunath or 'Monkey Temple.' twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening and conversely, arriving from India. The buses are usually quite comfortable and they stop at places with tourist-appropriate standards. Some buses are air-conditioned and some even have WIFI.

For information on how to get from Varanasi to Kathmandu please check out this post: About the new bus line to India I strongly suggest reading the warnings in that article.

FrugalTravels' best advice: I would not attempt a bus ride all the way through. I would suggest leaving Kathmandu a bit earlier and spending a night or two in Chitwan or Lumbini. Particularly if the bus is not air-conditioned, you will not have a pleasent time trying to get there in one 24 hour nightmare. Even if the bus has 'air-conditioning' that doesn't mean it will work. This is the best way to see Chitwan during some parts of the year, anyway. Keep in mind that the weather plays a big part in how much time to spend in the lower elevation areas of Nepal. Here's a bit of information about Chitwan

Tip: If you want to have a better chance of less traffic, travel on Tuesday. The Nepali believe it's bad luck to travel on Tuesday or buy things on Tuesday.

Lastly, here's another post I wrote about Chitwan.



 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Pokhara, an Amazing City in Nepal



This post is written by Rupak Giri who works for us at 
Kay Garnay for Nepal.

Pokhara is one of the best cities to see in Nepal, a welled planned city with proper roads and clean environment, with some of the best scenic views all around. Traveling about 200 km from Kathmandu you can reach to this beautiful destination. 

There is only one highway that  takes you to Pokhara, but you'll be happy to see many road improvements on the way. There is even a place to catch the tourist bus from Bhaktapur. We do not suggest taking a local bus, under any circumstances. Conversely, you can even choose air flight to reach there if you don’t like the long vehicle ride. Pokhara has a lot to offer for every kind of person from adventure loving to nature loving, from young couples to old, Pokhara is the place for everyone. 

Pokhara lies in a valley, same as Kathmandu, with hills surrounding it and  carrying views of a wide range of  snow capped mountains. This area offers lovely views of Mt. Makalu, Aanapurna, Maccha Puchrey(fish tail), breathtaking views of thes popular mountains. Unfortunately, views of Mt. Everest are not possible in this region.

Pokhara lies on the lap of these beautiful mountains with rivers flowing from these; just beautiful. It seems nature has expressed its love to this city; it looks to be decorated as a newly married bride. Pokhara has become a favorite place for tourists in Nepal, being naturally rich. Pokhara has recently become the first choice, according to the Tourism Board of Nepal.

Adventure loving people can do paragliding, trekking, bungee, zip flying, kayaking, hiking and boating. Pokhara is the starting place for so many popular trekking routes,
as well as being a place for the peace loving person. There are beautiful lakes, waterfalls and parks where people can spend quality time. You can even do boating on the beautiful Fewa and Begnas lakes. Pokhara is a joyful place; it goes to sleeps late and wakes up early with bars, nightclubs and pub restaurants are all over the place with many nearby guesthouses, hotels and hostels. 
Lakeside is a popular place throughout the Pokhara area and an attraction point for many activities. The environment gets musical at sunset as the bars and clubs offer live music. Happy faces throughout the city, that’s what you'll see when you get to Pokhara. People from all over the country with many religious traditions, castes, ethnic groups, with a variety of norms, values and cultures all at the same place enjoying their time.
There's a lot more to do and a lot more places to visit than you'll have time to see. You can enjoy the differing cultures and traditions of local people as they live peacefully together.  
Tip: It does tend to rain more in this region, so be sure to plan a few days for capturing the bestt sunsets. Additionally, always give at least 2 days prior to your flight home in addititon to your travel day when in Pokhara.
 
Nepali Thakali khana is a popular menu suggestion around there, but you can find many restaurants serving food  from around the world. Although we never recommend the street food in Nepal, local shops serve a variety of local foods. It's obvious that they prepare and serve the food from their hearts with a smile on their faces.
You can rent a vehicle with driver to take you around Pokhara; there are several caves to visit and a waterfall, too.
Sarankot is the highest hill of pokhara from where you can see the best mountain range views and amazing sunrises. 



For sunset you can go to the World Peace Stupa where you can see mesmerizing sunsets, Pokhara City and the beautiful Fewa lake. Although a few years ago the lake was polluted and the road getting there was horrific, times are changing rather quickly in Nepal and this is one example of how tourism can power environmental improvements. 

About our guest blogger: Rupak is our administrator at Kay Garnay for Nepal and Star View Guest House. He loves mountain biking and showing tourists around on either mountain bikes or on the back of his motorcycle. I'm sure he'd love to take the day off to go on a bike ride. Contact him directly at: girirupak4 {at} gmail.com 


Monday, March 26, 2018

Tummy-safe foods in Nepal?




I'm not a big fan of food, so I'm not so keen on Nepali foods. So, because I know I'm not alone in this I'm going to tell what to order to avoid problematic local food. The food is almost all heavily spiced. It can cause every kind of intestinal issue from various degrees of heart-burn, or your body might just not know what to do with it, which can last throughout most of the night.

If you have a sensitive digestive track, don't let it keep you from enjoying Nepal. Here are a few safe suggestions on local foods that are more forgiving on the western digestion:

Veg burger and fries comes on a bun with lettuce, onion and tomato. The burger is chopped, boiled vegetables held together with potato and maybe a bit of flour and fried. The fries can be cooked in old grease and will almost never have salt added. Ask the waiter if they have the buns or if he will have to go out to buy them. So often I'd sit there for an hour and a half waiting for a simple veg burger only to find they had to go looking for the buns.

Veg sizzler in a unique sauce

The veg cutlet is the same as the veg burger, but usually a bit larger and served without the bun.
Veg sizzler is a veg cutlet served on a bed of spaghetti or rice smothered in mushroom gravy with a side of sauteed, slightly crunchy vegetables and fries. You'll hear it when it comes out by the sizzling sound.


Chatamari (Newari pizza) is a crispy, flat bread with vegetables chopped fine and probably heated in an oven. It's pretty tasty and not so spicy. The meat version has keema, tiny sized chopped buff.

Samosa served with chickpea/garbanzo bean soup
Samosa is a fried potato/vegetable dumpling/pie that is usually offered at the open, local restaurants. It's usually a bit spicy, but really tasty and beyond cheap-20-30 rupee each. Be sure to ask if it's 'tato' (rhymes with hot-o) or 'hot.' Make sure you get them right out of the fryer. One time I brought a 'doggy bag' home for dinner and got so sick. It taught me a good lesson to make sure everything is hot and freshly prepared. I had a couple samosa for lunch and took two home. Either the bacteria had time to grow or the cook had dirty hands when he took it out of the grease, but I got so sick all night.

Aloo paratha with a side of slightly sweetened yogurt, pictured at the top. This is a flat bread stuffed with potato. It's usually cut into 6-8 servings that you will pick up and dip into the yogurt before eating.

Fried rice or briani is an easy choice with just a couple of cautions. Sometimes the rice is leftover for the fried rice. Bacteria love rice and the cook may not get it hot enough to kill the bacteria. Briani is like fried rice, but with extra things like cashew, raisins and larger veg chunks.
 
Chopsi is like chowmien but with dried/fried noodles

Veg chowmein served with catsup

Chowmein is usually served quickly, as is fried rice, but chowmein may be fried in old oil.
Avoid all meat while in Nepal. The refrigeration is not always used, the butcher-block is filthy, cooks don't always make sure it's fully cooked, and they can cross contaminate it with their dirty hands or dirty counter workspace.

'Peero china' if you don't want any spices added, but then the dish comes as plain as cardboard, so maybe it's better to say, 'peero oli oli ' as you hold up a thumb and finger to show a little bit.

For foods to avoid and for more information on staying safe in Nepal take a look at this post. http://frugaltravelsnepal.blogspot.com/2017/05/foods-to-avoid-in-nepal.html

Friday, March 23, 2018

Coming to Nepal During Monsoon-A Good Idea?

Changunarayan Travel Blog


Buffalo grazing in our nearby forest
in Kathmandu Valley from hilltop below the temple

Is coming to Nepal during monsoon season a good idea? People suggest coming to a country during the off-season. Nepal's off-season is from June to September and December to the middle of February. Can a person enjoy this country during those time periods? We know it’s going to be cold in the winter, but what about monsoon? What should a traveler know about Nepal during this time?

First of all, you need to consider why you are traveling at that time. Is it to save money? Surprisingly, many Nepali merchants do not easily discount during slow times as we do in the US. Instead, it is typical to see the merchant expect you to pay more because he is not getting any sales. Western tourists are often happy to comply, which brings the prices up for everyone. Don’t let your Western guilt or ego lead you into over-spending.

Along one of our local trekking trails.
Always book for one day if you book online. After the first morning you can talk with the manager and get a discount if you stay longer. I don’t recommend booking online for more than a day because booking sites usually don’t allow prices under $10, which means walk in traffic might pay less. If you are afraid you’ll have to sleep on a park bench because the guest houses are all full, don’t worry. Unless you are out on the trekking trail in a very remote place you are 99% sure to find a place. Yes, the 5 star hotels book up in advance, but the normal, independent, little guesthouses are seldom full. I know this because I have a guesthouse; there are way too many guesthouses in the Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara.

A traditional Newari home with garlic drying outside
How much does it rain during monsoon? Of course it depends on where you are in Nepal; Nepal has several different climates. Here in the Kathmandu Valley it might rain for the night or morning, but it usually clears enough to do what needs to get done during the day. It seldom rains all day or all night. It’s more likely 3-4 rain showers throughout the day.

If you come during monsoon, you will need to watch for slippery rocks as you walk. Many roads are paved with lovely, but slippery rocks. So, check your shoes to make sure they have enough traction. Plastic soles, as on cheap shoes tend to be quite slippery.

If you intend on doing trekking in the high country I don’t suggest coming during monsoon. You could slip on a piece of ice, but the main reason is you won’t have many beautiful views.
Monsoon view from Star View Guest House
It’s often a great disappointment. However, if you would like to do volunteering, an internship or work on your thesis monsoon may not be a problem, at all. The Kathmandu Valley is mild and downpours are usually of short duration. Kathmandu being so polluted, the frequent rains keep the air quality at permissible levels. Do not plan to see Chitwan, Bardia National Park or other areas along the Indian border; it is just too hot. During the winter off season you will enjoy Lumbini and these other places, but remember it gets chilly and damp at night. You will not need malaria tablets for these places unless you go there during monsoon.

Here in Changunarayan Village, at the eastern edge of the valley, we have gentle breezes and it often doesn’t rain badly enough for guests to come down from our rooftop terrace at the Star View Guest House.
Two goats playing in the forest
along one of our trekking trails
Unlike many places with a dependency on tourism, Nepali love to meet and get to know tourists. I am always amazed to hear a Nepali greet a tourist in their own language or invite them home for tea or a meal. If you come during either off season you will feel like a super star. Yes, there is some sense of being able to dip into a deeper pocket, but once you get out of Thamel or Kathmandu City you will find many Nepali who just genuinely want to get to know you.

Come to Nepal during our lovely spring or fall tourist seasons, during the monsoon or even in the winter, but please put Nepal on your bucket list and come see this amazing country. It has something for young and old alike and more festivals than days of the year.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Connecting Your Electronics in Nepal-What's Needed?


Many tourists purchase a universal adapter before leaving their home country, but is it really necessary? Also, I want to caution you about an important electrical issue. The answer to the first question is usually, not really. Although I have blown a random kitchen appliance, you do not need to spend a lot of money or even bring an adapter from home unless you have a unique product. In that case, you should contact the manufacturer to make sure. 



You can find these outlets for sale in most electrical shops, as well as multi-plugs/extension cords that will work just fine. How much will they cost? 300 NRs./$3 for the single, as above or up to 1,200/$12 for a good, quality extension cord. 

Even the outlets at the guest houses will be able to work for your mobile phone, small water heater for coffee/tea or your computer, no problem. 

One thing I will caution you about is regarding Chinese made electrical products. I had two electric cords attached to my rechargeable lamps to catch on fire. It may take an extra effort, but it's usually wiser to find something from India, or at the very least, get something 'branded' from China. 

As a side note, I had a funny experience with a rechargeable lamp. When I saw it on the street corner of a vendor I was so excited that I didn't care about the price. This was shortly after I had arrived in Nepal and was probably missing my own culture a bit. It was a familiar, American brand, Eveready. 



I took it home to use during the long winter nights of blackouts of 2011 and about a week later I was just looking at it and something didn't seem quite right about it. I started laughing at myself so hard as I read the brand again-Everday.  

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Turn an off Day in Nepal into a Great Time


It happens. It happens a lot in Nepal. You have something scheduled; a sightseeing flight, a meeting, a group trek and it gets canceled or delayed. Or you buy the perfect scarf and when you get back to your guesthouse you tell someone how much you paid for it. "Oh, I thought you said 2,500 rupee," she laughs as she gives it a feel. You reply, "I did." 



What to do for the day when you just have to get out of the city? 

My new friend and guest at our guesthouse, Janet, and I spent a day to remember at one of the nicest parks in Nepal, the National Botanical Gardens of Nepal. Assessable by a bus from Lagankhel or micro-bus from Satdobato (districts in Kathmandu City), the National Botanical Garden is an unexpected treat for the day. Clean and so nicely manicured you'd almost think you're in Paris. It's just at the edge of Kathmandu, but it seems like you're way outside the city. I cannot imagine a taxi fee being more than $10.


The first thing I liked was the price, only 226 NRs. Everyone pays the same, Nepali and tourist alike. Most of the people there were Nepali and there were quite a few people this Saturday, young people on dates and families. As we walked around we even passed a movie set getting ready to shoot a scene. 

One thing that becomes clear is how lovely Asia is with its many varieties of flowers. Nepal, with its extreme elevation climb, is rife with flowers just about everywhere, so having an opportunity to see so many of these native flowers in their more natural habitat is quite interesting. I will never look at a lantana, poinsetia or Rhodendron in the same way again. 

                                      



We found this tropical building enjoyable. It was surprisingly cool for a green house, but the day was overcast and rained a bit while we were here. 





One thing that Janet and I both enjoyed seeing were these huge spiders in their webs that were strung between two trees. Janet caught this one with her IphoneIV. I wasn't so lucky.


As we passed this lake it started to rain, a quite nice, gentle rain. This Botanical Gardens is so big we got lost for a bit. They have bees and many interesting areas that have signs to explain about the different aspects of ecology.





As we were leaving we stopped for a cup of coffee and snack. Really impressive! The restaurant was inexpensive and had excellent food. Janet had a lasse with her organic coffee and I had paneer crapes. All together, it was only $4, clean and well prepared. They even had a not-so-scary toilet. 



One of the things that interested me was the trash recepticles and signs. I want to put similar signage in Changunarayan and trash cans. We put about 10 wicker baskets with iron supports, but when I saw these cans I decided to make something more like these.



We really had a nice day and when we got almost up the hill to Changunarayan we drove into a hail storm. I felt bad for our driver because he has a brand new car, but it didn't seem to do any harm. 



Each leaf in this cactus garden had a message on it. It was a nice way to express oneself. 










Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sometimes You Can Help More if You Don't Dip Into Your Own Pocket

Yes, we have a donation link fairly prominently displayed on our websites and most of our social media. I’m not saying getting a pledge or notice from Paypal that we have money isn’t wonderful. It is and we appreciate that kind of thing so much. In fact, a kind supporter in New Zealand wrote an article for an online journal and got it published. She sent us the entire amount as a donation, so wonderful. But what's more remarkable about Kerensa is that she has put us in contact with other kind hearted people who came to help us and sent us money. We are so grateful.

But so many people do not have $50-100 to donate to a random NGO in a developing nation where the money will never be returned to them in any form of good, other than supporting a random NGO. You may be surprised to learn there is little to no oversight into the spending practices of NGO’s in Nepal, as I’m sure is true elsewhere. I’ve seen many examples of people donating money or clothing and it all goes only to the social worker’s family. The ‘orphan’ children never see a nice clean jacket; who wants to send money to kids who are clean, well-fed and educated? No, dirty, underweight kids will do the trick. 




Whether it be famine, war, earthquake or hurricane, the poor are always disproportionately affected. Nepal is no exception and after the earthquakes hit in 2015 and then subsequently, the embargo from India, the Nepali have been through a lot. What to do to help? 

It is our wish that you support the Nepal Handcraft and artists that work in the old, traditional styles. By this, I mean to ask you to change your shopping habits a bit and buy directly from Nepali or other indigenous merchants. 

Tibetan refugee making carpet
 
Many years ago, I remember seeing a beautiful, hand-carved wooden statue so detailed it’s still vivid in my mind. As the merchant explained, the artist traveled all the way from Ivory Coast to South Africa by walking and sleeping on the road for several months.  Even after all that workmanship and effort the piece was hardly $200 in the small retail store in SE Florida.

Our agency, Kay Garnay for Nepal, has begun a computer class to teach the Changunarayan villagers how to make affiliate marketing websites through our account at Wealthy Affiliate. This is a platform that teaches this skill in just a month or so and the students will be able to earn extra money, depending on the support of their website visitors. Incidentally, Kay Garnay means ‘What to do?’ and that is exactly our mission to find things to do to help Nepal, particularly our village. 

So far, we have been marketing thanka art and hand-carved wooden masks for over 4 years. I’m proud to say we have not had an unresolved complaint--people have been more than kind, but we also work to satisfy our customers within their timeline. 

I’d love for you to purchase a thanka from our website if that kind of d├ęcor is of your liking. If not, there is the Tibetan Carpet Initiative, singing bowl manufacturers and more. It’s also a great way to reach out elsewhere to the displaced Syrian refugees. Just buy Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, birthday, anniversary and Christmas gifts from such places. One word of caution for Americans, if you support Islamic initiatives be prepared to find yourself on no-fly lists and such, so be sure to do the research unless you are ready to pay the consequences. 

To help you to understand what I mean I’d like you to consider this: As I mentioned, we have been selling Nepali art for over 4 years. After selling a Tibetan, Buddhist style thanka or hand-carved mask to a random person in NYC, US and delivering it to an actual residence, we got a notice from Paypal to please send them verification of this person’s date of birth. Note that the thanka had already been paid for and delivered without incident months before with a credit card on our merchant account platform, not Paypal. Can you imagine getting an email 6 months after you purchased a product in a developing nation asking for your personal information? We surrendered our Paypal account rather that asking.  

Soon we will have several affiliate marketing sites of companies we believe you can trust and excellent content and products for your shopping pleasure. If you are currently supporting an NGO in a developing nation that has access to computers and WIFI you can send them this link or tag them on social media and encourage them to give such an endeavor a try. http://bit.ly/2mGl8OA We will put their link on our website and help in any way we can to promote these grassroots agencies, regardless as to where they are.

Most importantly, when you buy products from the merchants or initiatives like we have everyone wins. You get great products and services and we pay salaries, support women’s equality and keep the lion’s share of the money in Nepal. In fact, other than international banking or internet fees, all the money goes to help people at the grassroots level.  

Happy shopping: http://TraditionalArtofNepal.com
 
 
Examples of Nepali handicrafts: