The Blog Week: An Introduction and The Importance of Learning to Read

We have been out of blogging touch for a while, and this time don’t have all that great of an excuse.  After all, how much more shenanigans can we get upto than a failed vasectomy.

Though we have been slow to post them, the stories and events have continued to occur and you may find them worth a read.  So, to make up for not posting (or maybe to spam your inbox) we will be blogging one of these stories each day this week.

We hope you enjoy and will try to do a better job updating on our life and times here in Nepal.

Dave & Hannah

The Importance of Learning to Read

Written script in Nepali is very different then the English Roman script.  It was a challenge to learn the letters and sounds that are sometimes quite different from any we have english.  So reading anything is Nepali has been a challenge…. except this is not our problem.  The following embarassing excerpts of the importance of learning to read were straigh-up errors of english.

Dave – The first thing that was stressed when we arrived in Nepal was that unwashed vegetables would give you diarrhea.  In order to prevent this you would need to wash your vegetables in iodine. So I dutifully went to the store the first chance I had to get some of the stuff. There were small bottles available, but it’s not a secret, I like to go economy.  I bought the biggest bottle on the shelf.

We were told to make the water a weak tea color with the iodine, and then plop the veggies in. We were also told that the water could be used again and again, so I was surprised when the water turned milky white with the introduction of the first carrot. I chalked it up to having bought special vegetables.

The next obstacle was actually eating the vegetables. Even after a thorough rinsing in clean water, when they were 6 inches from my nose I was overwhelmed by the aseptic smell of my would be snack. I couldn’t stomach it. Hannah and the kids seemed to be able to get things down OK, however, so we decided I had an aversion due to the use of iodine in the hospital. Doing minor surgical procedures on patients and lunch just didn’t seem to mix.

I choked down the sterile veggies at the urging of my wife, opting to boil them whenever possible, but it never was enjoyable. Every now and then Hannah would make a casserole and the taste of a treated pepper would ruin the entire dish for me. I still seemed to be the only one with this issue, however. My son, daughter, and Hannah happily ate the grub down. This is how things carried on for our 5 months in Kathmandu.

Upon arriving in Tansen, under the care of our Didi (house helper) the state of our vegetables seemed to improve. I was now able to get the carrots and tomatoes down. I thought that maybe the veggies were spunkier in the country, or our Didi was a better rinser.

A month later, I was surprised when our Didi announced we were out of iodine. Hadn’t I bough the gallon size? I fished the bottle of iodine out from under the cabinet and showed it to her, feeling sorry she hadn’t been able to figure this out on her own. She then pointed out the label on the back of the bottle, which featured pictures of happy people pouring the liquid into buckets and mopping. “This is for the floor” she announced.

It took a moment for me to realize what the implications of this were. It seemed our Didi had an extra bottle of iodine stashed away that she had been using for us, knowing that the iodine we had provided was something in fact akin to a hospital grade disinfectant.

There are many things that a parent can feel guilty about; Losing their temper with the kids when they shouldn’t have, Not playing with their child enough. I get to feel guilty about simply not reading the label and feeding my children floor cleaner for 5 months.

Hannah – Nepal is an import country.  Very few things are made here and so the products that are imported are labeled in a variety of different languages from Hindi to French to Swedish and Norwegian and of course products labeled in English from Australia and New Zealand.

The people that left our house before us has left some household products that either weren’t opened or barely used so that we wouldn’t have to shell out for those things immediatelely upon moving in.  I thought this was a great idea and happily used up the laundry soap and dish soap that had been left behind.

So, I thought nothing of grabbing the bottle of shower gel that had been left behind, when I ran out of soap one day.  I notice that the lather wasn’t that thick and that I seemed to be more squeaky, as in makes a sound when I touch my skin, clean than usual.  The rest of the day I observed a slippery shine and a slight ‘outdoor’ woods scent to my skin.

The next morning in the shower as I grabbed the shower gel, I happened a glance at the label.  Assuming it was in a foreign language I hadn’t bothered to read it previously.  Much to my surprise it was in English after all but … was not shower gel.  I had happily scrubbed up the previous day with furniture polish and walked around the full day smelling pine-sol fresh and as water-proof as a duck.

We’ve been encouraging our son as the world of reading is open to him to use his new skill as much as he can and wherever he can.  We would do well to take our own advice.

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