You can dance! You can dance! You can dance if you want to!
Last entry was where we learned of the community of the splitting apples and in this section we continue down the same path learning more about life and community in Archale.
What brings happiness to the village, to the community, what makes it go?
I think music and dance are the main things, traditional Nepali music and traditional Nepali dance. It’s wonderful because it involves everyone in the community, the children, the women, the men, the village elders. Everyone in the community comes together and local instruments are played and everyone participates in singing and dancing and playing music.
Normally a lot of Nepali culture is very separated in terms of men and women. This is the time when everyone comes together and enjoys each other, the music and the dancing. When you have so little you really look forward to just a night off.
I remember my first night in the village, a lot of people came and we just enjoyed and someone brought there madel, which is a Nepali Drum. I think we had a flashlight and we stayed up all the night just singing and dancing. I remember dancing with a grandmother in the village who is now my neighbor. She just danced the night away and we danced together but we were also surrounded by young boys 9 and 10 and they were dancing with us. It just really unites every one and we really look forward to it.
How often does this happen?
Whenever someone form the village is visiting or the friend of someone from the village is visiting. We get together and dance, also a lot around festival time in October and November. There are two big Hindu festivals and they are amazing.
People also get together just because they work so hard all their lives. Their lives are really hard so when they do have the opportunity, even an hour to spend with their community that is such a huge thing that brings them happiness. Their life is hard, they wake up early in the morning and they take care of their animals. They take care of the plants that they are growing. They work their fields all day and come home. They cook dinner, wash the dishes and put the kids to bed. Then they go to bed and there’s no time in between or little time in between. There is always work to be done and that is how they sustain their lives. You know they don’t go to the market and buy things they don’t have the luxury of relaxing.
Is there any currency with the villagers?
There is a currency. There is not income generating opportunities per say in the village except for just this past year a family set up a restaurant. It consists of two walls they make out of Bamboo, a fire on the floor where they cook and where they make tea. They make donuts and Chow Mein and samosas. (I ate here when I was in Archale and it was fanflippintastic)
They started a restaurant and that is the first thing in the village, oh there is also in the village a little shop if you need to buy salt or anything like that but other than that those are the things that exist in the village. If you need anything outside that you need to travel by bus a couple of hours to the next biggest town so it would be wonderful to be able to create opportunities.
Is there a city center not a city center a village center?
Actually a lot of times we use the school for that where the village elders will come or the men will come and hold a meeting. That is something else we want as we plan on building and expanding our current school building. We really want to have a meeting center that can be used for the school but can also be used for the community to be used for their needs. Their meetings, our teacher trainings, our extracurricular classes. During the Monsoons when it is too muddy to be outside we would really like to provide this place as a community center. Currently other than the school grounds right now they will find an open field or they will climb a mountain so there is not a formal place right now.