A Busy Sunday - Day 4

What an eventful day! We had an early 7:00am start. First down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, then Lama picked us up and we headed to our appointment with the lawyer Mr. Atul at his office outside the court house grounds. Dr. LaFleur had many questions regarding India’s rules and regulations and establishing an American based society here in India. Mr. Atul answered as many questions as he could, and also recommended a meeting with a CA (chartered accountant). He referred us to Mr. Marwaha. Lama called Mr. Marwaha and set up an appointment for tomorrow (Monday) at 8:00am. After the meeting with Mr. Atul, we went to the CED to spend more time with the children. 

Lama planned for some of the children to take Dr. Lafleur and Regina for a hike, once their chores were finished of course. While we waited, Dr. LaFleur wanted to search some rules and regulations using the internet. Lama explained he has a friend who owns an internet hut. Lama walked us to the internet hut to use the wifi connection there. 

The internet hut was interesting. Lama’s friend was very nice, and set us up right away. This hut was the same as the other small store fronts, no bigger then 20x20, with six (6) desks about grade school size. Each had a computer for access. We sat outside, it was a beautiful warm sunny afternoon. Lama told us the charge for wifi was 25 Rupees per hour. One (1) american dollar equaled 62.8 rupees at the money exchange Lama brought us to. We did blog work, and caught up on some emails from our local contacts while the children finished their chores. Cows munched on some garbage across the street from the hut. Lama had Regina stand next to them and pose for a photograph. Once finished we walked back to the CED. Next we prepared for our walk.

Three elder girls, and a bunch of the younger children got ready for the hike. Unsure where we were headed, we all started on our way. Sonam Lhamo informed us we were headed to a Buddhist nunnery and temple. The eldest girl Pema was our leader, and she was in charge of pairing the children one older with one younger, the buddy system. Once paired with a buddy, they were responsible for making sure they were always together, they stayed with the group, and were required to inform the group and wait for their buddy if they fell behind. We made our way up the busy street, passing store fronts, and avoiding honking scooters and vehicles. We were instructed to turn left after we see the boys were playing soccer. We walked down an unfinished road, into a small village community. The children excitedly asked and took turns taking various pictures with Regina’s camera. They anxiously got Regina’s attention after each picture and showed her awaiting her praise or approval. The beautiful mountains moved in on us as we made our way up a rocky trail. The children said loudly “goats! goats!” as we approached random goats feeding on some bushes along the trail. We walked through what seemed to be a dry water bed, with barely fastened water pipes lined down the sides. We suddenly heard running water, and Pema loudly and sternly exclaimed something in Hindi. One of the water pipes seemed to have come loose, or so we thought. We found out shortly after what happened. One of the smaller boys pulled on the pipe and it came loose. He was in big trouble. Regina quickly tried to reattach the pipe, however it seemed too short. Dr. LaFleur attempted to push the other end up and closer to Regina with the help of the children. Hooray we all exclaimed when it worked. Once we let go however, the other end fell off! After attempting a few minutes, we couldn't fix this, and Dr. LaFleur didn't want the children in the possibly dirty/contaminated water, so we continued on our way. Up rocky narrow hills along the side of the water bed, walls were made for walking along. Some of the trails were since washed away, making for vigorous exercise. After waking down a closed road and going the wrong way, we finally made it to the nunnery grounds! 

Here we are standing among a beautiful small village, hidden within its own walls. The nuns were out attending to their gardens and doing chores. They welcomed us as we all entered. We made our way to one of the many temples. After taking off our shoes, Dr. LaFleur taught Regina how to do a traditional prayer. After some pictures and Dr. LaFleur taking a recording of  prayer drumming, we continued on to the second temple. We stopped on the stairs below the second temple and took some wonderful group photos under a beautiful flower archway. One of the nuns were cleaning the stairs outside a second temple as we approached. She informed Pema to have everyone make three (3) walking circles around the temple before entering, as this would allow the stairs to dry. Using a bucket of water, Tide soap, and a rag, she completed washing the stairs by hand. The children posed for pictures and looked at the amazing displays while we waited for the stairs to dry. After again removing our shoes, we were allowed inside. This time Sonam Lhamo taught Regina how to do their traditional prayer. This must be done three (3) times upon entering the temple. Regina and Sonam posed for a picture by Pema, and continued to look at the beautiful temple. Inside were some amazing ivory carvings incased behind glass. We only stayed shortly as we had to start heading back to the CED. Pema rushed us along as the younger children had already sprinted ahead, and she was concerned they were going to get into more trouble. We met up with one of the local village men who helps Lama with driving and maintenance at the CED. He showed Pema the correct and faster way to get back to the CED. We arrived back and the elder girls made swiftly to their tutor class. Lama had asked Dr. LaFleur and Regina earlier in the week if they were interested in preparing a meal for the children. Dr. LaFleur had brought some chocolate bars for the children, and decided that they could be used to make chocolate pudding. Lama explained the children hadn’t had american style cooking. We decided that we could make a Italian pasta dish Regina loves to make. Lama informed us he would bring us to the store on the way back to the hotel tonight after our meeting with Taruna and her parents, to purchase what we needed to prepare dinner for the children. 

Its 5pm, and we were right on schedule for our meeting with Taruna. Lama brought us to the village where she lives with her family. As we approached, Lama decided he would drop us off, as we were on a very narrow road, blocked by another vehicle and he couldn't get through. After Lama gave us instructions to call when we were done, Dr. LaFleur, Regina, and Sonam Bhuti, who came as our translator, proceeded to Taruna’s. We walked down the narrow one lane street, barely paved, with the vivid smell of sewage stinging our noses, as it flowed down the open coverts lining the roadway.  Dr. LaFleur mentioned we were getting close, but was unsure if we were in the right spot due to what appeared to be construction of the house. Taruna’s mother came out as we neared, and welcomed us into their home. The three of us made our way through the sheeted door, and through a small, dimly lit room, into Taruna’s bedroom. It was here Taruna’s mother decided to inform us that due to the renovations to their bathroom and house, they felt it was safer for Taruna to send her to her uncles house until they were finished. With the renovations they felt it was very hard for her to maneuver around. We attempted to ask her mother how Taruna was progressing but with her being away her mother was unsure what had changed since she left. Her mother informed Dr. LaFleur that Taruna had lost more weight, and the prosthesis has become too big to fit Taruna’s leg properly. With this improper fit, her mother also stated there is some significant rubbing on her leg which created some sores and blisters, which in turn has discouraged Taruna from doing her excursus or progressing as much as she could.  Dr. LaFleur asked when Taruna would be back, and explained she would only be visiting until Thursday, and would like to see Taruna before she leaves. Taruna’s mother states Taruna could be back by Tuesday evening, but it is an 8 hour train ride, and it would be late. Dr. LaFleur states this is ok and requested updated contact information for them, as Sonam Bhuti called Lama to pick us up. Regina received Taruna’s older brother’s cell phone number. Dr. LaFleur explained we would call Tuesday to ensure Taruna has in fact come home before we set up the time to visit. Taruna’s mother and brother agreed to this arrangement, as we got ready to meet Lama back at the top of the narrow village road. Taruna’s mother walked with us, and talked to Dr. LaFleur saying goodbyes as we left. Lama states he has to bring Sonam Bhuti to an appointment at the local clinic, and he will need to drop us off at the hotel before he brings her. Lama states we will do our dinner shopping tomorrow. We said goodnight and thanked them for helping. 

We arrived safely at the hotel and made our way up to our room. After an exhausting day, we both sat down, and fell asleep. A short cat nap refreshed us, so we made our way down stairs to the hotel restaurant for dinner. We sat and worked on the computer, researched new laws and regulations, and went over the packets and information we received from the lawyer. We prepared for the Chartered Accountant appointment while we could access wifi (the restaurant staff eventually kicked us out) so we headed up for rest for another eventful day ahead.