Nollaig Shona Duit!

For those unfamiliar with Gaeilge, the literal translation is Peaceful Christmas To You.  All the way from Bhainsepati – the townland that SIRC finds itself in and where it is not really Christmasy at all.  I am not doing much to celebrate, save opening a card from Barb 🙂 as it is just another working day here at SIRC.

There was talk of me making a Christmas Cake for the 100 or so SIRC staff, patients and their carers but alas the oven is broken and cannot be fixed.  Phew!  I was a little apprehensive about baking a cake for 100, possibly multiply the recipe I have times 10.  Now that is catering in my mind, my sister Grace would do a far better job than I!  Instead I have thrown out the idea of buying puffed rice & chocolate to make rice krispie cakes for everyone.  Another idea is rocky roads (chocolate, marshmallows and biscuits) or cornflakes with honey & butter (an Aussie delicacy it seems).  All stove top items and easy to do for 100 people, now all we need to do is find the ingredients!  I will be busy tomorrow if this comes off!

As you know the working week is Sunday to Friday, one day off a week.  So I headed into KTM in Friday evening to overnight at the home of Mingmar and Doma, with their 3 kids in a neighbourhood of KTM called Kapan.  It was a mammoth journey into the city on the SIRC staff bus.  Fortunately Udaya whom I work with lives in Kapan and so we hopped off the bus early and opted to walk about 30 mins to the meeting place, 2 mins from Udaya’s home and another 20 mins walk to Mingmar’s place.

Kapan is a lovely neighbourhood, lots of families living in one and two-bed apartments in low rises (3 floors).  It was great to catch up with Mingmar and his family, it’s been two years since I have seen them all.  Doma made a scrumptious dinner of dhal bhat with chicken curry and greens and we hit the sack at about 9.30pm.  Up early to catch the sunrise at the Kapan monastery, a wonderful sight …. whilst getting in a little cardio hiking up the long hill …. twice.  Mingmar and Doma did it three times,  I could only manage two times, I need to get in shape! (I have returned to your program Gord).

Mingmar (r), Doma (m) and IMG Guide (l) at the Kapan Monastery early after sunrise

Mingmar (r), Doma (m) and IMG Guide (l) at the Kapan Monastery early after sunrise

Whilst having morning tea, Mingmar and Doma presented me with a Sherpa dress.  I had always admired them during our treks and they were so very generous and kind to have one made for me.  With a little weight loss, it should fit me fine.  I was thrilled!  And happy I too had brought gifts for the family from Vancouver.

We had breakfast at 10am and then caught a microbus ‘downtown’, and visited the Narayanhiti Palace Museum, it was Pemba (their youngest son) first time to visit the Museum.  Interesting that this was the royal family’s home up until 2001 – until the family was massacred by their son.  The building with which the shootings took place has since been raised to the ground and is a rather peaceful garden these days.  As we began walking back to the bus park for me to grab my bus back to Banepa, the traffic was stopped on the road close to the Museum – the current President whizzed by in a SUV surrounded by many guards, it was the first time for each of us to see the President of Nepal up close.  How fortunate!  He is rarely seen in public it seems – a model for leadership don’t you think?

The bus park was chaotic and we were set upon by many of the young ‘conductors’ trying to convince us to take their bus to Banepa.  I finally settled on a bus that looked half decent, the driver was a little older (I equate that with safety somehow) and I got a seat.  One and half hours later I am in Banepa with more chickens for company, none made an escape bid this time thankfully.  I even had a HOT shower at Lok’s – bliss!!  So was all ready for yoga at 6am on a cold Sunday morning before work.

A very Happy Christmas to everyone!  I will write more about SIRC and my work here (which is being finalized) in the next few days.  We have had no electricity or internet connection since last Friday.  So I am taking advantage of this connection now.

PS.  Grace, sorry our Skype date could not come off yesterday 😦 xo

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
This entry was posted in Ireland, Nepal and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Nollaig Shona Duit!

  1. Grace Coffey says:

    Was such a pity! We held out for as long as we could and had to disconnect – the beach was beckoning!! Personally, rice krispies or rocky road would be my choice instead of Christmas cake – hope you find the ingredients.

    Will be thinking of you Christmas Day – hopefully we’ll get to talk.


  2. Eddy Szczerbinski says:

    Joyeux Noel to you also. May peace, love and health be plentiful for you and your loved ones. Thanks for sharing your trip with us, I appreciate it a lot. Bonne année et joyeux noël !

  3. Heather says:

    Merry Christmas Kate from cork! Brian and I just finished wrapping and it is after midnight here so we have to hit the hay before Santa arrives. Thinking if you a world away but close in our thoughts xoxoxo h, b, e, & j

    • Kate Coffey says:

      Enjoy some spiced beef – a Cork specialty not available in Vancouver. Hope Santa found his way to Cork and delivered all the pressies to Erin and Jack – that is if they were good. Of course they were!

  4. beverley lindsey says:

    Kate, luv reading ur blog. We will be thinking of u especially on Christmas Eve as we sit in the Little Red Church & reflect on the time we shared last year. Tonight is forecast to be a clear star-filled night like last year, so as we sing “Silent Night” with candle taper in hand, outside under the grand old tree in the church garden, we will send some love ur way from Bowen.
    Bev & Brian xo

  5. Kate Coffey says:

    Will be thinking of you all Bev!

  6. Tandi says:

    Hi Kate,

    I’m wondering what you wound up making for 100 people? And so great to hear you have seen Mingar and Doma and the family. How lovely – wish I was there with you for that. Happy holidays my friend!

  7. Kate Coffey says:

    The oven is still on the blink and the ingredients for the stove top goodies are hard to find. So it is back to the drawing board. Maybe I will have to think of something for St Patrick’s Day. Hmmmm. And Mingmar asked for you and Martin!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s