Happy Losar!

Losar is Tibetan New Year, celebrated by the Sherpa, Tamang and a few other ethnic groups here in Nepal.  It’s an important celebration for my friend Mingmar Sherpa and his family as they headed down to the Boudhnath Stupa at dawn this morning to burn incense, join in on the prayers, light a butter lamp or two, and listen to the deep sounds of the long copper horns.  It’s a pity I could not join them as I am back in Bhainsepati at the SIRC offices today. However, we had an early celebration on Friday night, when TA and Marion from St John’s Newfoundland, visited Mingmar and family.  I met TA in 2008 on the Pumori Base Camp trek.  It was my first time in Nepal, and also my first time ever camping – yes. it’s true, first time ever camping at 18,000 ft in -20C!  It was an experience for sure and TA taught me camping at high altitude 101.  I had to be a fast learner!  I had not met TA since then so it was lovely to connect again at Mingmar’s home.  Mingmar was TA’s guide in her 2010 summit attempt on Everest … it is a small world. But I digress from the Losar celebrations ….. we had a wonderful dhal bhat meal with rice, Doma’s very yummy dhal, curried chicken and greens.  All washed down with Doma’s homemade chang.  Chang is lethal!  Just so you know. Chang is made from mashed corn and millet with yeast, fermented for a few months.  When you are ready to serve, the mash is added to a tea towel and ‘washed’ through water to make the liquid chang.  It is then poured into cups and topped up 3 times for good luck.  I am unsure if the lethal-ness is to do with how much is consumed with the mandatory 3 servings, or if even one cup would make you light-headed 🙂  Fortunately for me, I was staying over with Mingmar and family that night, but TA and Marion had to hop in a taxi back to Thamel.  they arrived safely. Upon leaving for the International Wheelchair Day celebrations on Saturday morning, Doma presented me with a gift of khapse pastries.  These are made from flour, sugar and milk, made into various shapes and then deep fried.  There goes my healthy eating plan again.

Doma's khapse in the copper plates that we use to eat our dhal bhat dinner every night at Lok's house.

Doma’s khapse in the copper plates that we use to eat our dhal bhat dinner every night at Lok’s house.

Happy Losar!

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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4 Responses to Happy Losar!

  1. Tandi says:

    I sure would love some dhal bhat!

  2. Wagner says:

    Happy Losar Kate!

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