Happy Holi!

It’s a fun and mischievous time here in Nepal these days …. today is Holi and all hell breaks loose.  I went to yoga this morning and you would think I would be safe but I guess not ….

Even at 6am in the morning, the fun begins!  This was taken afterwards.

Even at 6am in the morning, the fun begins! This was taken just before breakfast

Holi is a Hindu festival but celebrated by all in Nepal, it’s a national holiday here. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and generally laugh and have a ton of fun.  Also known as the festival of colours,  it is a free for all where you are a sure target on the streets where young and old carry bags of coloured powders as well as water guns and coloured water-filled balloons for water fights.  You get bombarded from the rooftops, no one or no place is sacred!

At yoga this morning, about 40+ people showed up (there is usually only about 15-20 max).  We only did about half an hour of yoga after which it was mayhem, literally everyone grabbing plates of the coloured powders and smearing the colours on everyone’s face.  They held back initially just putting a tika on my forehead, me being the only westerner and all.  But then one guy who is at yoga every morning, had a bit of a glint in his eye and smeared my cheek with green and there were some howls of laughter (including me) so that opened the door for everyone else to smear my face too.   All good fun.

For the past few days, the kids have been gearing up for Holi, so it was not unusual to have plastic bags of water being lobbed off rooftops onto passersby on the street below.  Fortunately their aim was not that good and most times I managed to dodge the water bags.  And one point on Friday a mother intervened when about 8 kids all lined up to throw water at me, while I was on my way to catch a bus to KTM for a meeting, so I was grateful for that.

As I write this, the bands have already started up and the kids are having a field day, and it’s only 9am.  It’s gonna be a blast of a day.

Happy Holi

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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7 Responses to Happy Holi!

  1. Tim says:

    Will you still be there when I get there?

  2. Renu says:

    Happy Holi Kates! You are part indian now… Hehe!

  3. Pingback: Prince Harry visits Nepal | Bowen to Bangladesh

  4. Pingback: Happy Holi! | Bowen to Bangladesh

  5. Pingback: Happy Holi! | Bowen to Bangladesh

  6. Pingback: Happy Holi! | Bowen to Bangladesh

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