Intrepid / Blonde / Traveller / Dreamer

Madi Valley – Home stay, Nepal

17/12/2019

2 hours from Chitwan National Park,in the Madi Valley Grounds is a small, humble and unique, 105 people populated village called Ayoghyapuri. With the help of Intrepid Travels the village have developed, expanded their income and grown stronger for a better life for the whole community!

It was chosen by Intrepid Travel and partnered to the WWF (world wildlife foundation)to be funded by the foundations these large organisations have started for the people of this to community to improve and develop their lives and livelihoods through simple changes, and  donation. Giving them the resources they need to make a …. in the businesses and farming they do. The surrounding rice fields, the farm animals, even the fishing ponds which only 5 year ago was only 2 now have 16 ponds full with Fish.

The 18 hours we spent here was so magical and also surreal. We had been driving through the very bumpy roads to get to the homestay in an open Safari van for 2 hours. The drive was the Chitwan  National Park with jungle either side, and partly villages with Rice fields surrounding the now flat landscape. It was a privilege to see how the village lived, worked, and to see how close these people were as a community.

Our reception welcome was cold lime water, with blessings from the young girls who live in the village, placing red Holi painted Bindis on our foreheads and giving us flowers. A lot of the men, and women had  also come out to see us arrive. One of the young boys Soum has been chosen to show us round, which is apparently seen as being an honorary ambassador for the village when people come to stay.

Our rooms were simple, beautiful with hot water at times, but the special thing was the fact this was one of the villagers homes and they have let us stay in them for the night. The views of the valley were insane, from stepping out my room there was greenery, flowers, the border mountains and just a sense of calmness throughout the whole village and neighborhood. No wifi, no car horns, no noice, just the sound of animals and people talking.

We were given a grand tour of the village, including the 16 fish ponds which have been dug out since they were given the funding to farm fish for eating and selling if needed. There were goats, and water buffalo which they use for milk to cook and drink. There was so many children running round, happy, cheeky and waving to us, all with their pet ducks, chickens or dogs who were following us the whole way as a kindof body guard. What was great to see was how the children were so happy, they were running, smelling flowers, playing in the fresh air with the freedom to do what they wanted, even if it meant searching for fish in a very muddy pond. They were just being kids.

Their houses are simple, made from cement or a mud house found in Nepal, the main functions are shelter, sun proof, storm proof and winter proof! Each one is built with so much love, honour and personality with no house being the same. From the layout, personal design or colour it gets painted, the family have free reign. Some houses have a small shop or a business attached to it. The cow sheds being a prime example, with jobs being done on the ground floor like milking cows and up above the family live, sleep, and cook.

Gitta one of the ladies who also hosted us and cooked up a storm for our trip. We saw her preparing the traditional dishes and found out all the food was organically home grown around the village. It tasted amazing. As we had thirds on the Nepoli Thali dish, one of the guys brought over another organic Nepalise delicacy. One of the other products made by the villages from scratch is the Rice wine, now don’t be fooled by its name. This drink is anything but a relaxing beverage to sip all night too. Its more like a spirit, a strong spirit at that, the men were eagerly giving it to us to try. I am guessing this was to prepare for the looseness they needed for the dancing later in the night. Swallowing the nerves before the performance.

The whole village came out to dance for us, from school girls who were dresses in the traditional clothing with beautifully coloured. The men with teh large drums and traditional clothes wrapped aroudn them. They all looked so smart, you feel so privileged when they put so much effort into such a small stay for us. The women and men sang whil dancing was going on, it was soothing, yet strong, almost like a battle song with so much encouragement.

As the drums and music played more of the villagers came to support their neighbours, family, friends and community. It didn’t even matter in the end we were there because it would of been a party whatever! We joined in with the Thali dance which is Thali plates on each hand and the girls make shapes and dance with them. The second was the final dance where we were trying to copy the women in the circle with us twirling round, hand gestures, beautifully rhythmic A lot of cheering, blessing and a final drum to end the celebrations.

My last special moment of the trip was walking back in complete darkness to the huts we were staying in, looking up and just gasping from how many stars I could see. There are no street lamps, no cars or traffic, no light pollution apart from the lights in a few houses. Which meant I could see the milky way and all the surrounding stars. I could of star gazed for a lot longer if it wasn’t for the mosquitos eating me alive!!

As the drums and music played more of the villagers came to support their neighbours, family, friends and community. It didn’t even matter in the end we were there because it would of been a party whatever! We joined in with the Thali dance which is Thali plates on each hand and the girls make shapes and dance with them. The second was the final dance where we were trying to copy the women in the circle with us twirling round, hand gestures, beautifully rhythmic A lot of cheering, blessing and a final drum to end the celebrations.

Morning wakeup, was as movie like as you could get with a rooster calling at around 7.30am. I woke to find I hadn’t moved an inch all night, and felt so refreshed. You could already here the villagers going about their daily routines, sweeping, collecting eggs, cooking their breakfasts. The views from out of my door way was the mountains and rice feels over a fence.

Sunrise
Goodbye blessings

Overall, our stay was so humble, relaxing, and really gave a feel of what life in Nepal is like within these rural villages. The people couldn’t do enough for us and that is what Nepalise people are like, so hospitable, with kindness and selflessness as second nature to them. It also showed me just how simple happiness can be, living such simple lives but not one of the people we met were unhappy.

This isn’t out of pity, guilt or Its mainly about jealousy of just how life could be if we hadn’t have been introduced to all the material things we have. It made me think and remember them!

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