Being here is like living in a fairy tale. And these are some of the creatures we share life with. Calves of buffalo and cow who eat the grass we cut twice a day. In Norway they had to cut grass to last the whole winter but it was only yesterday that I began to glimpse the magnitude of the task. You have to cut A LOT of grass.
Most of the stories I tell the people are living something a bit like this. Except before school was usual for everyone, perhaps round 20 years ago there were more goats and sheep which the children herded so you didn’t need to cut so much grass. But without those little shepherd children, if you let buffalo and cow out on these steep Himalayan mountains they easily fall and crash to their death. So they need skilled herding or, easier, cut grass in the barn.
Here is our little kitchen. There is a light bulb but it doesn’t work and anyway the electrics were off. No, you cant make tea just by putting on the kettle.
You have to get the fire going and in the monsoon the wood is usually damp. So far I haven’t met anyone who reads a newspaper, so how to light the fire? I tend to produce smoke which billows out over the neighbourhood and they fall about laughing as I emerge from the kitchen with streaming eyes. Luckily Heid is pretty good at it.
Hospitality is such that cooking ourselves is actually unnecessary as any home we pass invites us in and there are offers of chai and roti once we enter.
Chai is made from rich buffalo milk tea and loads of sugar. Food is called roti and consists of loads of roti, which ipancake made from homegrown wheat and maize, and homegrown dahl (beans), maybe rice and a bit of sabsi (veg) which is so heavily spiced its hard for us to taste. Plus lassi and ghee (melted butter which tastes quite like cheese).