Archive | September, 2012

Maithila Art

28 Sep

I spend most of my money here on handicrafts and other beautiful possessions that make me a very bad aspiring Buddhist.

One of the most interesting Nepalese art forms that I have learned about, and get the pleasure to actually work a little with – is called Maithili art. Maithili art comes from a region called Janakpur, which I will have the chance to visit later in the year.

Traditionally, the art was made on the walls of the city during celebrations and depicted women doing traditional work – farming, cooking, dancing. The skill was passed on from generation to generation. At one point over a decade ago, it was suggested that they paint onto item that can be sold, such as cups, pencil holders, wall art, etc. and it took off from there. Now Maithili art is one of the most common forms of art one finds, at least in Kathmandu.

Despite that, I doubt that the women of Janakpur are floating in their riches or anywhere near that. However, the region and it’s traditions are becoming well known and the women pass on their talent from generation to generation, providing an extra source of income to their daughters.

At Fair Trade Group, one of our partners is the Janakpur Women’s Development Centre. One of my tasks is to create a brochure for them, amongst other things. Many products that FTG sells depict Miathili art and I love every single one of them. Below are just a few images of items with the art. It’s Tara’s duty to come up with new designs and innovative ideas of what to paint them on. I suggested a silk maxi dress….I would be the first in line to buy it!

Maithila frame

card with Maithila art

I regret the poor quality of the above photos – I used my webcam!





28 Sep

This morning we got up early and walked to the new FTG office in Jamsikhel.

The walk to the new office is about 20 minutes – so not as convenient as the current office but still okay.

The Puja is done before we start to move in to make sure that there is good luck in the building and that good things happen to those that enter.

During the hour and half long ceremony, the Hindu priest blessed us with a tikka, then entered the puja room where apples and bananas were offered to statues and gods, prayers were chanted, water and milk was splashed all over the room including on the people observing, a penis god was worshipped and finally we were all blessed individually after offering the priest a bit of money.

During the ceremony, most people got up and walked out then came back to get blessed. I stayed the entire time, though, because I’m a trooper 🙂

Here are some pictures of this morning’s Puja:

puja ceremony

Getting blessed and tikka’d

Tara and I after this morning’s puja




26 Sep

It seems there are new Canadian volunteers or interns coming almost on a weekly basis. I must admit, I feel quite unimportant with so many more Canucks taking over Kathmandu and my ego is definitely being affected.

Although the others are all at either different partner organizations or going between FTG and others, and I am the only dedicated one to FTG, still, at times I feel a bit extraneous. I have taken it upon myself to tell all new volunteers/interns that come visit FTG that they shall, at no point, even think about taking my desk. There is very little room in the office, but we were recently informed that the office is moving 15 minutes away to a smaller space. Uh-oh.

This Friday morning there will be a puja (prayer) at the new office to…well, actually I’m not sure what that does, but something neat I’m sure. There will also be food, so I’m definitely going.

Back to the other Canadians – I am not hating. They all seem really cool. There are 2 3-month interns that are young students from Ottawa U and one of them works at FTG with me and is from Quebec so she has a cute accent and I really like her.

There are 6 8-month interns from the University of Waterloo, also all gals, who seem really nice, too. Then, there are two new, older (late 20s) one-year volunteers, who will be splitting their time between FTG and other partner organizations. One of them is even male. Poor guy has no idea what kind of estrogen-ridden world he is entering, I wish him luck.

Then yesterday we welcomed a new Leave For Change, 3 -week long volunteer.

Plus there’s those of us who have already been here. So, needless to say there are tons of Canucks struttin’ down the streets of Kathmandu wreaking havoc!

Watch out, KTM 🙂



Nagarkot, Teej, etc.

21 Sep

On Friday I tagged along with some friends of a friend to leave the Kathmandu Valley (finally!!) for the night. Our destination was a place called Nagarkot, which is a lovely mountainous region near the valley, where, when the weather is good, there is a splendid view of sunsets and mountains. That, however, was not the case when I went.

As monsoon season is just ending, and this year it seems to be lasting much later than usual, with more rain in the last week than during the entire season, my trip to Nagarkot provided mostly views of the clouds, although I did get to see some villages from a distance.

It was very, very beautiful, and lovely to finally get out of the valley. I will need to go back, though, when the weather is clear as I would love to see some mountains! Apparently one can even see Everest from there.

We arrived Friday evening and had dinner and some wine and then I fell asleep.


Tuesday was Teej festival, a celebration for women to wear red and fast for the long lives of their husbands, or to get a good husband.

It rained all day, but I got a few nice photos…many umber-ellas-ellas.

Women dressed for Teej

I cannot believe it’s the last week of September, my time here will fly by. Lordy!





3 Sep

It has been a weird weekend.

Zak and I broke up. He already bought his ticket for Nepal which he will be forfeiting. I broke my left pinkie toe and sprained my right foot on Friday, drinking and falling down stairs and over bushes. I am now limping slowly around, broken in my heart, soul and foot.

It’s not been a easy few days.

The internet at our apartment is now not working ever, even when there is power. Distracting myself has been a little bit of a challenge without the interweb and without power to charge my laptop and live vicariously through the lives of Grey and her friends on Grey’s Anatomy. I often end up listening to ballads by Adele and crying in my new silk dressing gown in my very tiny bed, grabbing onto Hello Kitty.

GOD, I miss him so much. He has cut me out. I don’t blame him. It was really hard for me to try and start a life here in Asia while also living a life over there, or online, every day. It’s not an easy balance. I just honestly thought that we were stronger than that. Only 2 months apart and it ends.

My inability to walk also makes it impossible to go to the gym to release that stress and get my endorphins on. The timing of it all pretty much just sucks.

Back to Adele now…