12 May: Last Day in Kathmandu, Nepal

12 May

I got up in the morning, made sure all my stuff was organised.  I prepared a bag for a change of clothes later in the day.  Our plane doesn’t leave until 11.30pm so we have a full day here.  I took some of my bags downstairs and dumped them in the foyer.  I then saw the Manager.  He and I felt a connection.  He invited me to sit with him.  I told him of my work as a World Peace Clown. He had seen me in clown gear.  He had commented to Peter that he liked me.  I told him about our time in Kathmandu and the importance of happiness.  He asked me my impressions of Nepal.  I shared my concern about Globalisation.  When I say concern I do accept life is change and it is the reality around the planet.  It is more my preference is to see countries develop their economies probably more in alignment with comparative advantage (sell what you are good at) and gross national happiness.  What I see is that all countries now are seeking to develop.  I can certainly understand the idea of development, better technology and efficiencies.  However, the problem with progress is that people become transfixed by the almighty dollar and it changes behaviour.  Where people may have done things for free or with a smile, people become more clever and they seek to make money and forget the human being.  The manager mentioned ‘greed’ as the biggest problem.  He has not been the first to mention this and I am certainly in agreement that greed is where we become blind.  We can’t see the other person; we only seek out what advantages us.  For me as a clown I see the person, money is a non-issue as I typically am not working for it. So for me my focus is on creating an atmosphere of happiness which is really wellbeing.  I told him of my travels around the world and the changes I’d seen.  I believe in a world where we are equal (opportunity not sameness).  I see the Nepalese as a strong people not only physically but I noticed ingenuity and resilience.  They are clever at working with what they have.  I’ve seen women on building sites, where all are cooperating and getting a roof concreted.  I noticed the people are quick to smile and not steeped in religion.  People do have faith and I’ve seen many temples and shrines (like India) where people believe in a higher power.  I think this brings them strength to endure hardship and poverty.  They typically have strong families and they are family oriented. This is a key strength. In Western countries and developed nations we are experiencing the breakdown of the family.  The Nepalese have a rich culture and they are incredible artists there. They have farming knowledge although many children are not seeing their future as farmers; they are being influence by media and change.  Many young people are seeking work overseas (Middle East) to provide for their families.  So they are going out into the world and experiencing life alone.  Our wonderful Krishna who was part of our team he had to deal with his wife away in Israel, working.  So it is not an easy life to bring in enough money to have a better life and to provide education for children. Education is important as they have to be able to read and speak English to be able to deal with foreigners and change in the World.  However, as that progresses they lose contact increasingly with the traditional life and that will be seen by the next generation as old fashioned.  I can see that this has always been the way of the world.  We see change in Australia.  My mind always travels to the idea that we are exhausting our resources by expansion of economies and that the natural systems are under real pressure.  I was told the glacial ice is retracting and I know that is climate change, this of course is the wild card, and it will affect the future.  The fixation on economic growth and jobs takes our attention away from the big picture as each tries to make their way in the world.  I believe when we are in alignment with love, not as a ideal statement, but as a reality, we will make better choices.  When we decide to think positively and envisage the future we want where children live out lives that are in alignment with their talents and dreams, we will create gross national happiness.  I feel the clown is one of the ways to inspire this happiness and I do feel it will be the future.  So my discussion with the manager was really positive. I saw in him like-mindedness, he is a kind man and wants to see a world evolve that is positive and caring.  He took my email and website and with that we parted.

As I left him Joanna appeared, almost out of thin air.  I was surprised by the perfect timing.  So she joined me for breakfast.  She is a live wire and full of honesty.  I really enjoyed my time at breakfast with her.  I hope for her great love and happiness. She told me I had inspired her, I was surprised at first.  I did speak directly with her about choosing happiness. It seems my chat with her helped her.   I was happy for that.  I think we will become friends in Australia.  Gordon came and joined us then Pam.  I had to go to the chemist and I received a call from a lady Tara who is into world peace.  She will come to the hotel to meet me.  I dashed off with Joanna, who showed me where the chemist was.  I went across the road and got what I needed then returned.   I went to the toilet and on my return Tara and Peter’s friend was there.  I was happy for Pat and Gordon to join us.  I basically took her through my peace work and my dream of peace.  I then explained my REAL HOPE program (peace, nonviolence and anti-bullying).  I shared with her my Sustainability, Peace and Encouragement Award for Kids to Unite People (SPEAK UP).  She shared with me the Kosmos organisation see http://www.kosmosjournal.org/ they are focused on co-creating a new civilisation.  That of course rings my bells.  I absolutely know we are heading in that direction.  So she patiently listened and shared with me.  We realised we had a lot in common and it seems I will be making a trip to see her.  I just marvel at how things unfold.  I only found out about her through Peter’s friend who made mention of her because I am in to peace.  When he told me I absolutely knew I had to meet her.  She is a feisty 80 year old American woman full of enthusiasm and energy.  I liked her straight away.  You never know how life will happen. I always tell people there is no failure in life, only a failure to try.  Stay positive and think the best thoughts, and great things do come but at the right time.  I gave her a big hug and told them both I loved them, it came from the heart. 

Gordon and I decided to go walking and see what happens.  We walked through the streets and he showed me where Suresh’s office was.  I interviewed Suresh the day before (see his interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWI3GZ0fWEI) .  He is a musician at the hotel running a social business in music and proceeds to provide education for children.  He was inspiring.  We walked on I just went anywhere.  We went to a non-touristy part of Kathmandu and sat on dusty chairs and had a tea.  The tea’s only cost 15 rupees each (15 cents).  In the hotel we are paying 40 rupees or more.  I offered to pay the people more money, they were happy.  We walked on and around a corner.  Gordon is great to walk with; he is entertaining and an interesting person, so you have good chats.  I was stopped by a guy called Krishna who said he was running an orphanage.  I have to say I am skeptical at times when approached because people want something.    However, I do keep my mind open and I am listening.  He showed me a printed A4 paper about his orphanage Missionmahat.  I asked him how many children he had, he said 7 girls.  It turns out he has two rooms and one room has girls in it.  He himself was an orphan.  He said he found his sister but they haven’t found the parents.  He believes his parents are in India.  He has a slight disability in one of his legs.  He said it is shorter than the other and causes him some pain.  He was around 20 years of age.  He said he was looking for volunteers, he wasn’t asking for money.  I did give him 50 rupees and asked more about what he was doing.  I talked about some organisation’s in Australia like possibly Australian Volunteers International.  I remembered Joanna was a patron of an orphanage.  I thought I will write to her.  He told me there are many children on the streets.  That doesn’t surprise me, in the cities we see more social disconnection, competitiveness for money and jobs, people may leave their families to try and make money.  So help may be hard to get.  However, if someone is reading this and feels inspired check out the video I took of him at YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DrciymdC1w&feature=youtu.be. I remember seeing a girl looking dishevelled in Thamel (tourist area), she was dirty and I saw her eyes were unresponsive.  I was concerned that she had been raped.  I gave her money but it doesn’t solve the problem.  That is why I usually don’t, someone will but if we are going to seriously look at man’s inhumanity we have to find ways to teach about love as that is the solution to all inhumanity.  It is definitely the answer.  I will give it more reflection.  Anyway, the young man was not alone another guy was speaking with Gordon and they had a debate of sorts.  Gordon is a gentle honest guy and sharp.  So I tuned in there.  He asked about the wise eyes of the Buddha that we see on necklaces.  The guy suggested taking us to a teacher who would tell us.  So we followed them and they took us upstairs to a museum. 

We found ourselves meeting with Rajaram Mishra from the Traditional Thanka Art School.  Apparently all the art was done by disabled people.  You can see the interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlelwqKAHIs  The work was incredible.  It was religious Buddhist art.  I filmed the teacher speaking about the art and how it was of a lower quality as they were students producing it.  He explained how his art was more expensive and he rolled out some Mandala’s for us to look at.  We knew they were seeking to sell us art but neither of us had money, however we went with the flow as this was an opportunity to share.  After I had filmed a while one of the students told me I was disrespecting them by filming.  I stopped and said I wasn’t.  That what I was doing was out of kindness to help promote their work.  My thought was perhaps someone would see the video and buy some paintings.  They certainly would not be expensive but they were truly masterpieces.  I found myself getting passionate with him and I told him my story.  That I work for peace and mostly I am not paid.  In truth he was disrespecting me as he typecast me as a tourist and westerner, he didn’t know that I had given up a lot of materialism to work for peace.  I told him that you can draw pictures depicting Nirvana but the central point can only be reached when you love others.  I pointed to my heart and him and indicated this is Nirvana.  Every-time you love, you will feel it, no picture in truth can depict it.  It only points to a truth that can only be felt by love.  You can’t fake it, dress it up, create shrines, write books you can only feel love for others when you look in their eyes and feel it.  I think the teacher got the message as well and we ended up shaking both hands and with a great feeling of love.  Not everyone in the West is just about money, there is depth there as well, and in truth we are all humans on the same journey. Every human should be respected the same and treated with respect.  I so feel that.  With that we left and I felt to follow up with the guy wanting to get volunteers with his orphanage, he made an impression on me and I feel committed to assist.

Gordon and I walked back to the hotel.  We immediately saw Pat and Kailash.  I felt very happy to see Kailash.  I know this is the last day and wished I’d been able to spend more time.  I am going with life and whatever time is given is fine.  We all went outside for a drink.  I had to rush up stairs and record an interview with Kumar the guy who was in Susan’s Collection (Nepalese artifacts).  He and I spoke before and he is a really compassionate man.  I really loved that he wanted to be a social worker and help people.  He loved giving.  He was a former teacher and had worked at the Kathmandu Guest House for 10 years.  Yet his heart was in service to people.  So I recorded an interview about his dreams and then quickly dashed downstairs.  I knew time was short before we were due to leave.  I wanted to spend time with Kailash and Krishna.

I came down and had a nice Lasse.  I asked Kailash if I could interview him.  He agreed and we went and sat on some pillows under a pagoda type structure.  The whole courtyard area made me think about the British Raj, the hotel was an oasis of luxury in a busy dusty city some call dust-man-do (Kathmandu). It feels privileged to be there, and whilst I do like the surroundings, I note that others are not able to share it unless they are guests, hence the money system.  Anyway, we sat there and I had the opportunity to gain Kailash’s views of his experience with LEARN and discuss the fun we’d had.  He made an impact on me and he will not be forgotten.  His smile was like sunshine all the time, yet he lost his father only 2 months before.  I admire him deeply and see how kind he is.  I felt privileged to travel with him and laugh with him.  He is a great friend.  We concluded the interview and then I had to go and get changed.  I have a vest that I wear when I travel.  There are words on the back of it by William Gladstone ‘We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.‘  I wear this vest when I travel as it is my mission to work for peace and to develop it in myself.  So off I went to change.

We got into a minivan and Kailash got in the front.  I bought him a flute and he kindly played a tune on it.  Wind instruments are like the wind beneath wings, it is uplifting.  Krishna had a go and played a beautiful tune.  I bought some music of Nepal and so look forward to listening to it and remembering my friends in Nepal.  I enjoyed the drive and took in the last moments of this city which was quite confronting in the beginning.  I looked with love at all the people some washing clothes, some walking, riding bikes, on rickshaws, the crazy noise of the traffic, the dirt and buildings.  It is haphazard totally different from developed city of Melbourne. But inherent within this ramshackle city is an order and energy that gives it a flavour and spice. 

We arrived at the airport and heard Peter say they couldn’t go in.  So we had to say our goodbye’s.  Kailash said to me before he was sad and I felt to say that it is not goodbye, it is until next time.  That is the spirit in which I left waving to two wonderful, strong men.  It has been a privilege to know and share love and teaching with them. 

I settled into the plane and thoughts of Melbourne came to me ‘home’.  I carried the sunshine of Nepal with me on my flight home.  It was 24 hours and long but it was a joy to feel the warmth of love around me.

So I am home to reflect on this powerful experience.  A great adventure and opportunity to learn about our world and contribute to its betterment.  We are one family, one breath, one love and never will I see it as wrong, I can see the perfection beyond the noise and confusion. Our challenge is to create the world we want.  The focus on that changes everything.

Peace to you, all ways.

 

 

 

Mohandas Gandhi

“Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.”

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