Upcoming Shows

We've been named as a official selection in the Southern Circuit of Filmmakers Tour, March 17-24.

Shows are in Hapeville, GA 3/17, Madison, GA 3/20, Orangeburg, SC 3/22, Gainsville, GA 3/23, and Manteo, NC 3/24.
Learn more by going to the SouthArts blog.

View the theatrical trailer for A Gift for the Village

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Nepali Friends in Blacksburg!

Sunil and Sarita arrived in Blacksburg Tuesday, July 31, after attending their son’s graduation ceremony at the University of Kentucky.
Their son Manoj and his strikingly beautiful female friends Sheetal and Hasina (also Nepali) arrived with them on Tuesday afternoon, and after dinner I convinced them to stay here instead of going to a motel for the night before their drive back to Kentucky. In one evening, I am in love with these youngsters. They came into this house and made themselves instantly at home, working around my kitchen washing and drying dishes, making us Masala tea, talking and laughing and answering all of our questions, and translating for us with Sarita.
Manoj is a 25 year-old handsome boy who coaxes and plays with my too-shy-to speak-or-look-at-anyone daughter Ella until she comes TOO far out of her shell and becomes obnoxious in his presence. After dinner our friend Tim came by with his kids, (Kayla,10 and Austin, 8) and Manoj, Sheetal and Hasina showed us how to write all our names in Nepali ...so beautiful it looks like art.
They leave us the next day, promising to keep in touch and to come back and visit, and for that I am glad. Manoj has since called his dad and mom several times a day to check on them.
That afternoon, Sunil and Sarita go with me to take Mary and Ella to their swim lesson at the pool (I wonder what they thought of that), then to the Oasis International market. Imagine my surprise when within minutes of entering the store, they are chatting with a Nepali woman and 2 Nepali men! We leave with a few things that Sarita has chosen to make us a meal the next evening.
Dinner that night was a cookout at Carol and Joe's, which sprang out of a morning that Carol, Andrea and I spent at Virginia Tech with a group of international teachers from Switzerland, South Africa, Brazil and Vietnam. We enjoyed meeting them so much we decided to host an All-American Barbecue, during which Sunil invited everyone to come to Nepal.
On Thursday I drove them up to Wythe County where my parents live, and my dad goes with us over to Foster Falls State Park where we eat a picnic lunch and watch people canoeing, kayaking, and tubing down the river. Sarita rolls up the pant legs of her salwar khameez (I hope I spelled that right) and wades in with Mary to pick up mussel shells. We tried fishing but we forgot to get bait and the leftover cheese from our sandwiches refused to stick on the hook.

Back home for dinner, Sarita has brought her own spices (which she has ground herself, one of which is a red chili) from Nepal and cooks us a meal of tomato pickle, cabbage, cauliflower with potatoes, chicken and rice. She goes about cooking with no fuss or fanfare, and any concern I had about communicating with her while cooking quickly vanishes when I realize she doesn’t need me for anything except to get her down a bowl (she says “bol”) or to chop the onion more, which she communicates by motioning to the chopping board in a way that I know means “chop those pieces smaller!” She has Sunil food-processing 2 heads, not cloves, of garlic and a whole ginger root. We had purchased a bag of basmati rice and in my desire to contribute in some way I read directions and measured the ingredients in a pot to place on the stove. Sarita quickly spoke to Sunil, who told me that I had done it wrong, and Sarita would show me the right way to cook it. It was the coolest thing...she simply put some unmeasured amount of rice in a large bowl, filled it with water, stuck her open hand fingers-down in the top and showed me that the water level should be up to the second joint on the middle finger. She motioned for me to put it in the microwave and told Sunil to tell me “twenty”. We had to add a few more minutes, but it came out perfect. The food tasted amazing.

The next morning we went down to Blacksburg’s Steppin’ Out Festival before I took them to Roanoke to stay with Diane and Ken. I will miss Sarita combing and braiding Mary and Ella’s hair and hugging them, Sunil playing chess with Mary and Chinese checkers with Ella on the front porch, Sarita taking a walk around my house and up my street every morning before she has her tea, Sunil reading Carl’s notes he attempted to write in Nepali, Sunil taking pictures of everything that I take for granted (or used to), long conversations with Sunil comparing our way of life with Nepal; our roads, homes, cars, shopping, food, marriage, crime, sickness, religion. Having them here is like having a little piece of Nepal with me, only now that piece is part of me, like family. That Carl and my girls know Sarita and Sunil makes me so happy. I hope it helps them understand in some way how Nepal affected me and perhaps will create a desire in them to go experience it for themselves.....with me, of course. And we will need Jane and Jenna. Anyone else want to go? We also went through a drive-through laser car wash. Hearing Sarita laugh was worth every penny.


Garland said...

Reba, what a surprise when quickly after Jason, Sherrie, Jane and Jenna were welcomed home complete with a "Welcome-Home" banner/map depicting the four of them in a plane flying from India to Roanoke, my attention was drawn to a dark-skinned man whom everyone who'd gone to Nepal seemed to know. About that time, someone grabbed my arm and I was ushered over to meet him, being told he was from Nepal, and his name was Sunil. I didn't shake his hand. I hugged him! And jabbering something about my surprise, knowing him from the Blog and the picture, and now seeing him here in America!!! Whereupon he motioned for this lady to step closer and I turned to learn that I was face-to-face with Sarita, his wife. Still jabbering my surprise at seeing their picture in the Blog and knowing of their trip to see their son graduate in Kentucky, I realized she might not be understanding me, so I began to gesture like taking a picture and pointing down to the ground here, trying to say I'd seen their Picture and now I'm seeing them here. Sunil quickly told her what I was trying to say, and she looked up at me with her warmest smile. Well, she got a hug too!!!

It was absolutely amazing to me to recall how friends from here were there in Nepal to greet and be with The Team during the Presentation and Ceremonies, only to have friends from Nepal here to greet them upon their return to Roanoke!!!

While there wasn't much conversation between me and them, the looks and smiles we exchanged spoke volumes, and I could understand why there was so much Love-bonding here. And when we parted, there was another exchange of hugs. I could only imagine how marvelous it was for those who could share the hospitality of themselves and their homes with this fine couple. It definitely was time well spent.

Over lunch, Sherrie with a few pictures she had on a small camera told us some of the details of the trip from Jomsom to Pokhara. I began to think of my blog where I mentioned how when you walk, you can become "intimate" with your trip. I assure you, when I used the word, intimate, I hadn't a clue how broad a spectrum of events that would cover. I began to laugh and wonder what Jane, Jenna and Jason would think if and when they might read that blog. I began to realize my scope of that word was so shallow, that if it were sea water splashing on the shore, there wouldn't be enough to wet the sand, much less wet my feet. But when Sherrie finished, her remarks had given me a Hubble Telescope look at the universe-scope of the word, intimate. That walk/ride went to the edge of the Universe with impact upon them.

The story of that segment of this journey made me appreciate their safe return with enormous emotion and gratitude.

This whole event, which is not over yet by a long shot (the video/pictures have to be edited and published and the book/books have to be written), has the characteristics and sponsorship of Our Creator all over it. This is a way to make LOVE, not WAR!

This trip was like the birthing of a baby. The "baby" has been born. Now it must be nourished and grow. All of us who are participating in this project, no matter how small or large our part, should resolve to be the best "family" this "baby" could ever have.

Already, Sherrie and I have begun to use our resources to spread her pictures out so she can work with them. From what little I have seen, if we were quilters, we've got some fine fabric, and once we find the right "pattern," it is going to be one fabulous "quilt."

And if everyone is able to do what I was told a Mother told her daughter to do when she cooked, "Stir a little Love into the recipe," all the "dishes" being prepared in the scattered "kitchens" are going to make one humongous Feast!!!

Let the focus of this continue to be this simple, "With Love Always."

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