This week we left what had become home in the capital to begin a new life in one of the numerous mountain villages scattering this country.
When we arrived at our new home in the village, our coordinator, Roni* and his wife, Lin* prepared dinner for us and we got settled into our rooms. After eating and a time of singing and prayer, we fell asleep cocooned in our sleeping bags, on wooden beds padded with thick blankets.
Our first couple of days here were full of rest and learning how to do things the village way. The houses are made of wood and metal, but they aren’t houses you necessarily live in. We spend most of our time outside, but have bigger rooms for sleeping and cooking, and smaller rooms for toilets and bucket baths. If it’s raining, we spend more time in the kitchen and bedrooms. But all the dish and laundry washing is done outside, rain or shine, in the cement front yard, using water from a well that is fed by the mountains around us. It’s nice to have plenty of water here, which is actually not something we had in the city, and it’s definitely necessary because we spend about four hours a day here just washing something.
One thing I really love about being here is getting to spend time with our coordinator and his family. They speak English well, but it is fun to try to speak in their language. Meal times are especially funny as we all work around each other, Roni and Lin going back and forth between their kitchen that has a propane stove (which we use), and their other cooking room which has a fire under a clay stove. As we cook, Roni and Lin teach us words and phrases in their language, but Roni has a particular English phrase that I love: “too much tasty.” He says it about the chili peppers that make me cry (but I love them), fresh pork cooked with all the bones and fat in a spicy broth, the root of a vegetable, a bitter-sour-sweet fruit that he picked off a tree for us on one of our hikes, and the kiwis that are in season now. This is my first time having kiwis straight off the vine and I can’t help but agree – they are too much tasty.
“The slower, quieter life here makes for more time to get together with others and be encouraged by the word.”
Besides all that, we have been getting into a routine here. Around 7 in the morning, one of us goes up the road to get fresh milk from a family with a cow. Then we can make milk tea which we drink while cooking breakfast – always some combination of rice, beans, vegetables, and ghee. (The ghee is also too much tasty; Roni and I rendered it ourselves and it smells like salted caramel.) After breakfast and the ensuing dishes, some of us stay in the village to teach English to a group of kids, while a couple of us go with Roni, either by motorbike or hiking, to speak at cottage meetings. That is what they call it when a group of brothers and sisters gets together here, and while it is definitely challenging to constantly be preparing to speak for these, I find it amazing that they meet every day. The slower, quieter life here makes for more time to get together with others and be encouraged by the word. When we are all together again at the end of the day, it’s time for another meal of rice and lentils, dishes, and usually some time warming up around the fire (as it gets pretty chilly here once the sun goes down). We sing, hang out, have hot drinks, look at the stars, and go to bed.
So far, I am really enjoying these days. We are living in the most beautiful place I’ve ever imagined living, getting to build relationships with each other and those around us, learning the language better every day, hiking ridiculously gorgeous trails, and encouraging others with the word. I’m not saying it’s easy, because that’s not true and life in general is far from easy here. But something about this whole village thing is really cool… and oftentimes, too much tasty. I can’t praise him enough.
*names changed for security