March 16, 2012

My Adopted Family in Pokhara

I have a terrible time remembering names, even at home. But keeping track of Nepali names is almost impossible for me.

Last week with Nimesh's family in Kathmandu wasn't too tough -- a younger sister, an older brother and wife, parents and grandparents. But this week in Pokhara with Ramesh's much larger family is a greater challenge. I hope they will forgive me for misspellings and missing identifications on the photos below.

The Pariyar Family
Ramesh's family is from the mountain village of Warchok, a two-hour bus ride from Pokhara, followed by a two-hour climb up the mountain… two hours for them. It took me twice that long when I made it (barely!) in 2001.

Ramesh has an older brother and sister, two younger sisters, and a younger brother. Ramesh and his younger siblings, like so many young villagers throughout Nepal, left home after finishing school and headed for the nearest big city -- in their case, Pokhara.

Residents of Ramesh's Pokhara house -- while I've been there -- have included his wife Laxmi, son Rahel, younger brother Suman, the son of Ramesh's older brother, and the daughter of his older sister. The older brother remains in Warchok and the older sister and her second husband live in eastern Nepal. 

Pariyar Family Photos
The rooftop of the Pokhara house is where the family gathers to celebrate Dashain, Tihar, and other occasions (like when someone comes down from the rooftop to announce that there's a great view of the mountains). So that's where we gathered this week when I wanted photos of my Pokhara family.

Ramesh's mother and father (below) are remarkable. Although most of the children and grandchildren live in Pokhara -- and the parents would be welcome to live in Ramesh's Pokhara house -- they prefer to remain in their village and climb up and down the mountain for visits in Pokhara or healthcare needs. At least they've relented and agreed to hire someone to work the family farm.

Second from the left is Ramesh's sister Shora. His nephew and niece are on either side of her. Continuing down the line: Shora's husband Padam, Ramesh's younger brother Suman, sister Durga, and her husband Naran. Seated: Ramesh's father and mother (unfortunately partially hidden behind my big head) and finally Rahel and me.

I’m with Laxmi's sister Saraswati, who works in Kathmandu and was a most welcome companion and "tour guide" for me in both Kathmandu and Pokhara.

Here I’m with Ramesh's wife Laxmi who -- with son Rahel -- will be on my March 19 flight from Kathmandu to Washington.

Laxmi is flanked by her mother and sister. Laxmi's mother unfortunately is typical of many Nepalis these days in losing children to jobs in other countries. Son Suraj is working and studying in London and recently married a British woman. Her other son is studying and working in Japan. Now Laxmi and Rahel -- the adored, only  grandchild -- will leave in a few days for America. Saraswati remains in Nepal, but she has moved to Kathmandu to find a good job.  

And, of course, Rahel. Soon, he'll be starting school in the USA.

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