Niceties and needles (a trip to the acupuncturist)

May 6, 2009

Hey friend,

It’s a little past my bedtime, but I thought I’d write to you.  Smile.  How are you?  It’s been a week since I hurt my foot, and it’s not swollen anymore, but it sure does hurt.  And I don’t know how I’m going to be able to hike on it in 5 days.  I can barely walk for half an hour without it hurting pretty badly.  Erg.

My day was lovely today.  I woke up neither early nor late and made myself some tea and chiura (beaten rice) for breakfast.  Then I read for a while.  I’m reading Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.  It’s a book that I’ve heard about many times and just hadn’t read.  So I found it yesterday in a bookstore and bought it because it was super cheap, and I think it may be a book that I want to have.  Or to be able to give away to someone.  I caught a bus and then a microvan to work.  I left the house early so that I wouldn’t have to fight with people and traffic.  So getting to work was easy.  I’m doing a bunch of work on the Field Manual and have begun to simply flesh out parts of it that are new and that the staff really need to go over together.  It’s a little tough because I’m an outsider, and I feel that the two main people in the office need to sit down and brain storm how they’re going to implement things like a formal monitoring and evaluation plan or what format they want reports to be in and what information should be included.  Anyway, I guess this way they’ll have my ideas too and they won’t have to start with a blank piece of paper.  So that’s good.
It looks like I may be going out to the field on my own and meeting up with field staff there because the other person who was going to go with me, Ben, is pretty sick and it’s possible he may have typhoid.  He’s had a fever for like 2 weeks almost – it’s ridiculous!!!  I think we’re both feeling pretty stir crazy like we just need to get out of the valley and move around a little bit.  The valley (referring to Kathmandu Valley) wouldn’t be so bad if only I were a little bit more mobile.
Let’s see.  Anyway, after lunch, I went over to dZi’s Nepal Director’s (Chokpa’s) house.  Boy, she’s had a rough year.  She had a baby, which is awesome, but she got pretty sick after the birth and has just not been 100% since and about 6 weeks ago, her dad died. And she was super close to him.  She’s his family here in Kathmandu, so she was basically in charge of his funeral service here.  Most of his family is in Darjeeling, though, so she’s headed there in about a week. And whew!  Anyway, we went to her house where her husband was looking after the baby.  He made us tea and made her lunch (I really do like when men care for women and children in domestic ways because I don’t think that men are really trained to do that in our cultures.  I like it when they do.  It also reminds me of my own home in which my dad is MUCH more domestic than my mom).  Anyway, I drank hot butter tea (perhaps I can make you some sometime, except that you can’t do milk). Never mind.
Anyway, from there, we (Chokpa and myself) caught some vans and headed back over to this side of town.  We walked through Ason, my favorite part of the city and bought some traditional Nepali clothes for her son.  They’re so cute!  I told her that when I have a baby, I’m going to ask her to send me some, too.  I got stamps and posted some letters (there’s one for you in there, too – grin).
Grin.  Oh oh oh!!!  I went to a Chinese acupuncturist today.  It was crazy!!!  First I told the woman about what happened to my foot, then she had her assistant put these electric nodes on my back, which I then lay on.  She turned the current on, and there were these waves that went through my lower back, it kind of felt like someone was massaging my back, I guess. Then the doctor came in and stuck my foot with needles in a bunch of different places.  It pricked!  laugh.  I lay there for a really long time and occasionally the assistant would come in and change the way that the electric current flowed in my lower back, it was crazy.  Then when I finished that, the doctor gave me some medicine to take and told me that I should get a foot bath and pressure-point massage of my feet.  So that was next.  I went downstairs and a woman brought hot water and then added this powder to it.  And the water jellified into these tiny jiggly circles. It was so weird.  At one point, I was like, why does the water feel heavy, and I looked down and there were all these little jelly bubble things on my feet and then all the water was like that.  It was crazy.  Someone brought me Chinese tea to drink while I sat.  I felt so pampered.  It was ridiculous.  And a little embarrassed of how dirty and unkempt my feet are and bad that someone else would have to touch them.  Feet are sort of a thing here, and you don’t touch other people with your feet at all.
Anyway, so after a while, someone came in and added a different powder to the water, and the gel bubbles melted back into water.  It was the weirdest sensation.  Then the assistant who’d done the stuff upstairs came and massaged my feet for me, one at a time. She had a cream that she rubbed onto my feet and legs, and it really made my legs warm and then she did all this stuff: rubbing my feet, pressing pressure points, massaging veins and things (I have pretty poor circulation in my hands and feet), squeezing different spots.  And when she finished, my feet felt SO light.  It was crazy.
Oh!  Your tick story reminds me of a story I read about a traveler here in Nepal who drank water out of a stream by putting her face in the stream and she ended up with a leech in her nose.   Gross.  She also only found out like a week later.
Your excitement is so contageous!  Grin.  I’m reading through your email as I write to you and realizing that I’m super excited partly because of how excited you were in your email.
So, Ben, yeah, he’s getting antibiotics via a drip every day. They’re not sure it’s typhoid, and he was feeling SO much better today.  We’ll see….
Hey, I’ve got a super fun bike ride for us to do when you’re next in Nepal with me. We can rent mountain bikes in Thamel (the tourist part of town), then ride through the city to Boudha (which you’ll love, by the way), then we can ride behind the airport and through Timi, which is super fun, and then through Bhaktapur out into the hills up to Nagarkot.  It’ll take 4-6 hours, I think.  We should go in October, November or December when it’ll be clear enough for us to get a panoramic view of the Himalayas. It’s breath taking.  We can spend the night up there and then ride back down the next day.  There’s another road you can ride down (super gravelly and if you’re me terrifying! I rode it really slowly the one other time I’ve done this), and it’s beautiful too!  Anyway that would be super fun!!!!  Oh, I’ll walk you through Ason, my favorite part of the city.
Thinking of you. much love and peace,
Thandiwe
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About Thandiwe

Hopeful cynic, creative, seriously silly, lover of people and places, hypocrite, third-culture kid, queer, life-long learner, white woman, Christ follower, outdoor enthusiast: I am a seeker of justice and truth who has re-found my spiritual home in progressive Christianity. I serve as the Associate Pastor at a small Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregation near the mountains of Colorado where I live with my beloved.
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