December 30, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer James Lengel in Nepal

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Nepal: Peace Corps Nepal : The Peace Corps in Nepal: December 30, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer James Lengel in Nepal

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Peace Corps Volunteer James Lengel in Nepal

Peace Corps Volunteer James Lengel in Nepal

So much in so little time (13 December 2003)

I just got back to my village from Pokhara. I had been in Kathmandu for about 10 days. About two weeks ago, I developed a high fever. I stayed home for three days, but the fever did not go down. On the third day, I called the Peace Corps doctor and he told me to come to Kathmandu. I packed some things and called the airline to set the date on my ticket. The airline said I could fly at 3:30 p.m. I got to the airport and I immediately sensed there was a problem. The airline person told me that the flight I had a ticket for was not flying that day. I was rightfully upset and I let him know. I told him that I could be lying in bed right now instead of waiting for a flight that was never coming. I told him he needed to find me a ticket on another airline. So he did. I paid the cash and was on my way to Kathmandu in less than 10 minutes.

I arrived in Kathmandu and met my doctor. He gave me the regular antibiotics, checked all my vitals, and took some blood. I assumed that I would feel better the next day. However, my fever would go down for a bit, then back up and so on. I spent the night at The Mountain, which is the hotel where very sick PCVs stay. The next day I was still feeling bad. More tests, more blood, more fever, and a trip to the hospital for an ultrasound to check my bladder or something. The day after that, I felt a little better and had an MRI of my chest to make sure I didn't have some kind of lung infection. It was clear. That afternoon, I went to my hotel and my fever rose to 104 again. I called the nurse and she said to come back to medical right away. I did, and they put my on an IV with Rocephin, a very strong antibiotic. After that, my fever slowly went down. I had to go back for more IV's for several days, but my fever never came back. Since then, I have been recovering. That is the most sick I have ever been in my life and being that sick in a developing country is just not fun. I am very happy to be much better now. When my fever was very high, my mind was in another state entirely. In a way, I feel like I have changed as a result. It sounds strange, but I had some incredible waking dreams. It was wild.

When I returned to Pokhara, I met my friend Aakash. He had only a few days left in Pokhara before heading to Australia. He got an Australia resident visa and will leave from Kathmandu this week. We spent a couple of days together, just hanging out and talking. My PCV friends had a going-away dinner for him on Wednesday night, and on his last night in town he gave a small dinner party. I was very sad to see him leave on Friday morning. I will miss him a lot. He's been a good friend.

It is hard to believe that I have less than four months left in Nepal. In some ways, I feel like I have been here for ages. I will go back to America and so many things will be different. Some people in my family died and one new person was born. I've heard that everyone got fatter. I hope so. I want to be thin by comparison, if nothing else.

I gave Shiva, Ishwori, and the boys the gifts and letters that Mom and Dad sent. Shiva read the letter to Ishwori and translated it into Nepali. It was very touching. We were all a little misty-eyed. We all realize that my departure from Nepal is getting close and it is hard to face. I am sure it is much easier for me. I am leaving Nepal, but I am going to see my American family soon and I have so many plans for my future. But for my Nepali family, I will leave Nepal and their lives will just keep going on, less one Peace Corps Volunteer. I am so lucky to have found them. I really don't know what my experience would have been like without them.

Tomorrow I have to get the ball rolling again. I have been gone for almost two weeks and exams start in one week. I have precious little time left here and I've got lots to do. My first priority is the world map that I started painting. I really need to finish that soon. After that, I want to finish the Grade One Curriculum book I have been working on. At this point, I just need to do finishing touches. And of course, I want to do as many trainings and as much co-teaching as possible.

One last thing, I want to mention that I got the most awesome Christmas package from my family a couple of days ago. I got three boxes. There were lots of candy, videos, clothes, and a new Palm Zire. I already set up a sync with my laptop and it worked great. Such a fun Christmas already! Amy and Greg, in Pokhara, are having some kind of Christmas event at their house, which I am sure I will attend. That will be fun.

Happy Holidays to everyone. I hope you have someone to share the season with.

All my love,

Training in Bhairahawa (26 March 2003)

Yesterday I got back from my trip to Kathmandu, Bhairahawa, Birgunj, and Kathmandu again. I had a good time. Some other PCVs and I gave two trainings to the new Peace Corps volunteers, group 196. There are about 22 of them. They seem like an energetic and fun-loving group. They asked lots of questions and seemed eager to get to site. I remember how long training seemed.

After the training in Bhairahawa, I took a long bus ride to Birgunj to visit Jane-Erie. Actually, it was three bus rides. I could not locate a tourist bus, which sometimes tends to be faster, so I took local buses. They make a lot of stops, which, of course, makes the trip longer. I purposely drank as little water as possible, as I do on all bus trips. You never know what kind of bathroom facilities will be available, so I think it is best to just drink enough water to keep yourself from passing out. I got to the Birgunj bus park in the evening and called Jane-Erie. She came and met me. By that time, someone who claimed to be a doctor had already befriended me and bought me a coke. I knew already that Birgunj was vastly different from Pokhara or Kathmandu. Here, I definitely feel like a foreigner, even in my village, but in Birgunj people just stopped and stared. It was a little unnerving. Also, throughout the course of shopping, taking rickshaws, and going to restaurants, I realized that not many people in Birgunj speak Nepali. I was told they mostly speak Rojbori (sorry for the misspelling) in Birgunj. I felt like I was in India.

Jane-Erie has a big apartment, a nice school, a friendly staff, and a wonderful didi (sister) who made us daal bhaat (lentils and rice) in only 10 minutes. While there, several PCVs got together and made a Mexican dinner. It was pretty good.

On my way through Kathmandu I bought a lot of dog food. I can not find it in Pokhara, but there is at least one store in K'du that sells puppy food. The airline allowed it as an extra piece of luggage.

It was very nice to see my host family when I got home. Iswori became untouchable yesterday (menstruation) so Rajan and I cooked dinner. Rajan is 15 and is the best teenager in the world. I think he never complains and in his spare time he studies! Raghav was staying at his mama's house (his mother's brother's house) so we only cooked for four. I gave the family some small gifts. Raghav wants to learn Spanish, and Jane-Erie had given me an English/Spanish vocab book that was sent to her, so she indirectly gave it to Raghav. I bought a map of Nepal for Rajan. I got Shiva Sir an atlas with maps of countries. I knew that since war had broken out he would want to at least see maps of the Middle East. Jane-Erie sent Iswori a small purse which Iswori really loved. Lydia had sent me a package with Doritos and chocolate eggs. I gave most of the eggs to the neighborhood kids, whom I almost had to beat off with a stick after the chocolate was gone. Luckily, they are afraid of Sport, so he protected me.

Today Raghav helped me clean my apartment. I had been neglecting it badly. He is a good helper and really encourages me to get rid of things I don't need. I paid him 25 rupees for helping me and he said he was going to buy a new ball for cricket. His language skills are amazing for someone only 11 years old and with minimal exposure to English. He picks up on so many things that I say. I have to be careful around him. I was cleaning and some cobwebs fell in my face. I cursed and he said that I used the Lord's name in vain. Where does he learn this stuff?

While in Bhairahawa, I saw on BBC that war had started. My immediate concern is anti-American sentiments. I tell just about all strangers who ask what country I am from that I am from Canada. It is easier and generally a conversation stopper. Sorry, Canadians. Outside the US, this is a very unpopular war. I hope it is over soon.

The best news of all is that I finished the Women in Development Committee web site and posted it! I worked with one of the committee members to redesign it completely. It is a real improvement. Order a t-shirt or a calendar from the web page. It is a very good cause.

I am in the midst of making some plans for my school break. I still have about 2 1/2 weeks until my next obligation, a one-week training in Kathmandu. I mostly just want to relax, reorganize, and pray for peace.

All my love,

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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Nepal; PCVs in the Field - Nepal; Blog - Nepal



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