Now that I’ve been in Pokhara for about a week and a half, I feel like I know the area I’m staying in pretty well.
Last weekend was fun and relaxing, two of my friends heading up to the mountains came and stopped in Pokhara first. It was nice to have some people to hang out with, as for the rest of my time I’m alone, which isn’t all that bad. After living in Kathmandu with a family, always having to be in contact about where I was, and having to be at school five days a week from 8-3, it’s been nice having independence and the ability to choose what I do with my time.
While Ichhchha and Ram were here we explored the Lakeside region a bit more (Pokhara’s tourist destination), ate out at various new restaurants I had yet to try, rented a boat one day and went out on the lake for a bit, and met some other tourists in the region. This weekend, three of my other friends are coming to get a break from fieldwork. I think I’ll have to plan some stuff for us to do, as the tourist area here gets pretty boring after a while – mostly filled with small shops and restaurants.
This week I finally started doing some real work in the field. I visited two orphanages, one was an open house, and the other I got to interview two of the employees. One day I took a long walk up to a village outside of Pokhara to try to find an orphanage I had received a flyer about. After finding where it was, however, I was very tired and decided I would go back another time to actually visit the orphanage.
I’ve also been talking to local people about their ideas of volunteer tourism, and orphanages in general. I’ve found that what my research seeks to find out may be a little difficult to translate into Nepali. As I’m continuing on with my research, I’m finding that I may have to make some changes to my project.
Working in the field is fun and exciting – a break from mundane school work, a chance to hear the perceptions of local people and make friendships over chiyaa – but also a lot harder than I’d imagined.