Bhaktapur Day 2: Faces

The adventure continues….right out of a Le Carre novel or perhaps Kellerman. Our cab driver got lost looking for the rendezvous point with our bus after dinner and stopped the cab in the middle of the road, opened the door and left. Here we were, 2 sleeping children, Lynn and myself in the middle of a crazy road (for the record, all roads are crazy in Nepal. No rules, no traffic signs or lights and one stops ONLY for cows. Everyone else is fair game) Back to the story, 15 minutes passed and many curious looks inside our cab and we started to think that we might be better off finding another ride. A decent proposal if it wasn’t for the 100 pounds of dead weight in the form of children. Luckily, our driver did return but still had no idea where the meeting point was .We asked him to take us to the hotel. “Hotel, misses??” “Yes.” I said. “Hotel, miss” he asked again, and started driving. At this point, Lynn and I were sure we were going to end up in a back alley somewhere and on the front page of the paper. Needless to say, we arrived at the hotel safe and sound and the children never had a clue we had been marooned.

CIMG2519-1024x768What an amazing day we had. The first day that we had two separate groups of children of different ages. We pulled out the instruments and the cacophony was only bested by the smiles on their faces! Even a simple drum most had never played. The pleasure that they seem to get from making “noise” was obvious. We started with the older children and a wonderful song written by Neil Comess-Daniels called “Happy”. Neil wasn’t able to join us because of a family emergency but the children has learned this song as a surprise to sing to him. It was wonderful to see the faces change as they sang this song to/with us and helped the younger ones learn it. When we asked if they listened to music to make them feel happy, there was a resounding “Yes!”. “What about when they are sad?” I asked. They had confused looks on their faces. “Are you sometimes sad?” I asked. Giggles and shakes of the heads. Margaret played some chords in a major key and in a minor key. The same reaction for both. Happy!! I almost have to believe them.

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Thanks to a wonderful idea from Neil, we brought along mirrors and our wonderful crew member, Stephanie Waisler Rubin, helped them to draw their faces in the mirror. We were told that this was the first time these children had ever painted or drawn and certainly not their own likeness. How many of us take for granted looking in the mirror for so many things several times a day? What a novelty for these young children and the result was some spectacular drawings of themselves. Tomorrow we will have them draw to the music and I can’t wait to see what that brings.

We ended the day with a ridiculous 2 hour ride back to the hotel (a 12 mile journey…)seemingly because the prince was in town and out and about. I will never complain about LA traffic again. It almost overshadowed the spectacular sunset over the Himalayas – but not quite. The majesty of these legendary mountains juxtaposed by the poverty and confusion of daily life here makes one ever thankful for our seemingly smooth and functional society in America set amidst some pretty amazing displays of nature of our own.

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