The walking woman, culture shock -Nepal

She was just another person at the side of the road, child on her back and a bag balanced on her head, walking … or was she? And our jeep sped on into the night.

I am getting emotional as I write this but I will hold myself together for you. It’s Friday night and we’ve just arrived back in Kathmandu. On the way back the reality of the third world smashed me in the face. We’ve been in Palung town four hours away from Kathmandu on the road to Hetauda for the past five days. It’s a typical Nepali town sitting in a beautiful valley full of old houses, dogs, goats and chickens. Vehicles spewing black smoke rumble through and turn the heads of the many men who hang around passing the time of day as they wait for their wives to return from doing their labours to cook for them.

On Wednesday we took a trip out to visit the tiny village  Simbhanjyang. It’s around nine miles away on the highest point of the road to Hetauda. On this journey we came with ruck sacks laden with gifts. An obviously poor lady sat by the side of the road eating rice and lentil dhal from a tin bowl, her bare footed daughter beside her.Eva was straight there giving the girl a knitted jumper. The blessing she received  in return was a bemused smile.

We moved on, ate lunch and then visited the little church behind the cafe we had just eaten in. It was time to start the long down hill hike home. We had scrambled down some short cuts and landed on the road when we were surprised to see the lady with the barefooted daughter walking down the road with a giant sack balanced perfectly on her head. She had already walked miles like this since we had first met her. I dug deep in my ruck sack to see what food I could find and was happy to find some mixed nuts and a few sweets I could give to them – they were so happy!

We had all assumed she was walking to our town from Simbhanjyang to sell the contents of her sack. That would have been a remarkable nine mile walk but we were so wrong!
As we bumped along the road to Kathmandu in our Jeep we saw a familiar sight. A woman with a sack perfectly balanced on her head with an exhausted child strapped to her back. It was three days since we had first encountered the walking woman and she was still walking…….

If only we could have helped this woman but we were trapped. Our young driver spoke no English and neither did the walking woman . . . We sped on into the night and she? … We will never know but I will never forget the walking woman

God as the rain pours down outside our window and lightening flickers in the hills around Kathmandu. Please look after the walking woman and her little daughter. What else can I do but pray? God you have to help her. Please please please.

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