7 May: Walking around Pokhara

7 May

I ended up walking into Pokhara with a mission to buy some gifts for friends. I saw Gordon walking and he joined me.  We walked along and went to a café that overlooks the lake. He told me about his walk around the lake and the Para-sailing that was happening on the far side.  We sat talking in the café and had a good rest.  Then we moved on and suddenly saw Rose the Irish lady, and she joined us.  We walked along and saw some men playing a game with stones.  We chatted with people along the way. To my surprise this man says hello to me and it turns out it was Mike, he had been on our bus coming to Pokhara from Kathmandu.  He had a Nepali hat on.  I was very happy to see him.  Then a Nepali man who plays the violin (vertically, traditional instrument) came up to me and he tried to sell some CD’s.  I didn’t buy anything as I gave him free advertising.  I am not rich anyway so only buy what I truly want.  You can’t support everyone but you can laugh with them.  I gave him a hug.  We walked on enjoying the walk. 

Gordon received a call from Peter, we had forgotten about the Rotary meeting and so we decided to walk back and meet he and Pat.  As we walked we chatted happily to Rose.  She is a very lovely woman.  We took some photos and saw a aeroplane on a building, a nice tourist photo shot.  This part of Pokhara is the tourist area and everyone wants the money.  It is very Western looking; I am becoming more at peace with where I am.  Normally I’d never stay in a tourist area, but it is an experience to be seen as a tourist.  I’ve seen kids trying to get money from me.  I haven’t seen beggars in this part of town yet I was approached by a man who said he was sick.  I know the poverty is there but Pokhara is a rich place (comparatively to other parts of Nepal) and really business people in this city can engage the poor and perhaps find solutions to the feeling of disempowerment (poverty).  I do believe we have to change thinking in order to see change in the world.  What we think we do create.  If I believe I am stupid then I never experience what it is like to feel intelligent.  Thankfully in my own life I did go through my early years believing this, as it was reinforced.  I was told I’d be good with my hands but not intellectually.  Yet thankfully I challenged my own thought and went to university.  I didn’t read until I was 17 (a book).  So my language skills were not good and I used to get my words back to front (dyslexia) at times.  I believe it came from lack of confidence.  I came from a background of fighting and it did affect me.  However, I did overcome this by overcoming my own belief of who I am.  I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try new things; economics was a new thing for me.  What amazed me when I went to university is that with hard work I came to understand that I was indeed intelligent.  That for me was the watershed in my life and from there I just go for it.  I am not scared to try.  I’ve been in poverty where finding money for food at times hasn’t been there, however, I got to see the magic of when things did come to me.  So I am convinced now we create our reality and we can solve our problems by envisaging something new. I don’t see poor people as poor, I see them believing something, that they need help.  Now some will say if they are hungry give them food.  I believe in teaching them how to fish rather than handouts.  It is far more loving to make them self-reliant or come together as community.  We are more powerful than we know.  This belief system I have comes from a certainty of equality.  No-one is less than me or greater.  We are indeed having equal potential, the only difference is one believes they can fish, the other believes they need someone to give them a fish.

We walked along and it started to pour with rain.  We decided to have a tea and wait for the rain to stop.  We knew we’d miss the Rotary meeting.  When the rain stopped we headed back and decided to drop in on Selman our Kashmiri friend.  He noted I hadn’t shown him my new dress that he had got made for me.  I felt grateful to him for his help and valued the time we spent with him.  He always brought tea for us.  He was full of compliments for me and I felt honoured by his kindness to me.  He had a difficult situation with a wife in Kashmir and young children.  Both Gordon and I tried to give him a stronger faith in life and to really follow his heart.  To be happy is so important.  I feel the money is secondary.  Although I heard that he loved Pokhara, so it is not easy for him.  Yet in my heart I feel he will find his way, love does open doors.  For me my religion is love, really the theory and mystery around spirituality is not such a big deal to me.  My only question is do I love or not.  If I am not loving I look at my negativity.  I have come to understand that life is diversity and if we can be at peace with difference and not try and change anyone, but accept them and love them as they are, then peace is the reward.  Pat and Peter rang Gordon and came to the shop.  Pat was so lovely (so kind), she looked at Selman’s shawls.  He is such a good salesman.  He pulled them out and talked about their quality.  He was funny and smooth.  Pat is clear and she checked a few.  She knew what her friend would like so she went with that. She is practical and thoughtful.  She bought another one, I am sure Selman was very happy. 

I gave him a big hug before I left.  He wanted us to visit after dinner, but I was still not well.  I knew that moment was goodbye.  I felt grateful.  Pat, Peter, Gordon and I went for dinner at the Organic café.  We had a nice dinner then headed back to the hotel for our last night and hopefully a good night sleep.  A big day tomorrow I am flying back to Kathmandu.  I am excited to see the country from the sky.

Mohandas Gandhi

“Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong”

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