After much deliberation and discussion, the location of the Staff Picnic was finally decided – Dakshinkali Temple.  It’s located about 20km southwest of Kathmandu but because we are located in Banepa, and picked up many of the staff along the way, the journey took us about 4 hours from SIRC.  It’s a Hindu pilgrimage location and is dedicated to the goddess Kali.  Animal sacrifices, particularly roosters and goats are the main way that the goddess is worshipped,  Because our staff are not Hindu for the most part, I thought the goat accompanying us on the picnic was just along for the fun.  Not! The following set of pictures tells the story, squeamish eyes can look away.

Getting the fire started

Getting the fire started

Pasting mud onto the pot to prevent blackening

Pasting mud onto the pot to prevent blackening

Breakfast with milk tea made on the fire

Breakfast of champions – donuts with milk tea made on the fire

Rubix cubes are BIG at SIRC!  Even amongst the staff.

Rubix cubes are BIG with the SIRC staff!

Chess is also BIG at SIRC
Esha (exec director) & her daughter Ahana

Esha (exec director) & her daughter Ahana

Warning for the squeamish.  You’ll notice the men do all the cooking at the picnic, the women still prepare the veggies however!

Excited crowd before the slaughter

Excited crowd before the slaughter

The Bus Driver and sometimes Slayer.  He did not get a speck of blood on his clothes.

The Bus Driver and sometimes Slayer. He did not get a speck of blood on his clothes.   That knife was damn sharp!

Last few mins of the goat's life

Last few mins of the goat’s life

The deed is done in a second.  the fellow to the left is lunging to catch the head before it fell to the ground.  Note the spurt of blood from the neck.

The deed is done in a second. The fellow to the left is lunging to catch the head before it fell to the ground. Note the spurt of blood from the neck.  Double click the photo to enlarge if you really need to see the finer details.

I was so stressed taking all these shots, I forgot completely I had video capabilities on my camera, then you would have heard the roaring and cheering going on in the background.

This shot shows them typing the stomach tube so that the meat would not be contaminated

This shot shows them tying the stomach tube so that the meat would not be contaminated

Hot water loosens the hair, then the guys tore the hair off.  It came away easier than I expected.

Hot water loosens the hair, then the guys tore at the hair. It came away easier than I expected.

Almost done! The guys worked really fast.

Almost done! The guys worked really fast.

The head was de-haired on a spit over the fire

The head was de-haired on a spit over the fire

Goat meat ready for cooking.

Goat meat ready for cooking.

A few of us went to the temple so I missed the whole butchering of the goat.  Thankfully really.  I guess taking out the insides too.  I have no idea where they went.  All I know is the goat meat (bones, head and eyes also included) were ready for adding to the curry sauce made by the guys when we returned.

A group effort chopping the veggies

A group effort chopping the veggies

Enjoying rice, two veggie dishes and goat curry for lunch.  Best picnic good ever!

Enjoying rice, two veggie dishes and goat curry for lunch. Best picnic food ever!

I must admit I could not bring myself to eat the goat curry. Having seen the live animal, I just could not get his slaughter out of my mind.  I’m a city slicker at heart.  I thought I did rather well to document the slaughter itself …. many of you know how squeamish I am! Sinead –  you would have been in your element girl!

Dakshinkali Temple - and the lineup to get into the sacrifice area.

Dakshinkali Temple – and the lineup to get into the sacrifice area.

Sorry no photos allowed in the temple but I did witness two further goat slaughters as well as a rooster slaughter.  I think I am now immune to the whole concept.  To be pure, we were in our bare feet so I also had to get over the flow of blood swimming around my feet until we could step outside and use a hose to wash our feet with water.  I tell ya, I am unsure if I want to repeat this experience!

Rooster and goat for sacrifice while we were in the lineup

Rooster and goat for sacrifice while we were in the lineup

Burning incense and butter lamps after the blessing

Burning incense and butter lamps after the blessing

Kids proud of their tikas

Kids proud of their tikas

And now to give you a taste of how the SIRC staff like to party – and not a drop of alcohol anywhere!  It was a fun day :-).  A few photos below, as well as a short movie (hit link) of the dancing that was so enjoyed.  The song is a hit record in Nepal currently, called Slowly Slowly.  It’s from a popular movie.

Dancing to the latest Nepalese tunes

Dancing to the latest Nepalese hit – Slowly Slowly.

Sonika - Peer Counsellor - rocking it out on two wheels.   Black boom box in the foreground.

Sonika – Peer Counsellor – rocking it out on two wheels. Black boom box in the foreground.

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.
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10 Responses to SIRC’s Staff Picnic

  1. Gracie says:

    Ok, must admit that I kind of liked the song, just makes me happy to listen to. Although one time is probably sufficient:/)

  2. Grace Coffey says:

    An experience for the brave but looked like good fun for all! gx

  3. Heather says:

    Omg Kate! You are brave watching and getting photos. What an experience! Heather

  4. Renu says:

    Highly admirable that they have such a direct and respectful relationship with the meat they ate.

  5. bkmiec says:

    Hey again, Kate… oh gosh, yes, you were brave indeed to capture this all on camera. Oh my. And yes, agreed, Renu, about the direct and respectful relationship with the animals they eat.

    The videos are great! That little guy in the green sweatshirt’s got a great sense of rhythm! Picnic video made me smile big. 4 hours to drive 20 km?! Looks like you were in great company : ).

    Hugs
    xoxo
    Barb

    • Kate Coffey says:

      he’s a Nepali Michael Jackson alright, takes after his Dad Ram who plays the sarangi (a type of fiddle) and also sings. I am trying to get Ram to play for a video … stay tuned!

  6. Pingback: Happy Dashain! | Bowen to Bangladesh

  7. Pingback: Mankamana … finally | Bowen to Bangladesh

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