As Nepal seeks to create better-living conditions for its populace, it is important that visitors respect the country’s environment and cultural mores. Now more than ever, we need to be responsible for our actions and be mindful of their impact on the local communities and places we encounter in our travels, especially in the rural spaces.
Farmer in the Den
Spend a leisurely time back in the tranquil vistas of a Nepalese farm where you match your pace to rural timelines. Life in rural Nepal is a far cry from the more racy allurements of the big cities like Kathmandu with their international flavour. Living here are hardcore, hardworking rural communities whose concerns revolve around the weather, the soil, the water, their crops and their livestock. Here in the country, it’s all about synchronising all these elements to lead a halfway decent life, with simple pursuits like harvest festivals and religious occasions to break the monotony of a workday. Let your visit be an occasion of celebration of the challenges and joys of farm life as shown to visitors, be it ever so humble. Dress up in local attire and join the farmers in the fields; learn how to milk a cow; discover the importance of the animal for the family, as cows are one of the key sources for income generation and self-sustainability for the family with the products like milk, cheese, ghee, curd etc. Return at the end of the day to a hot bath and cooking and sharing a local meal of organic produce and joyful camaraderie.
In the course of your chit-chat in the fields and back in the house you will discover many things you never knew about farming in Nepal. You will learn about the self-sustainability of the family with their farming methods. This generation to generation tradition also happens to be highly labour intensive, but the profits don’t always trickle down to the farmers. Rather it is the wholesaler, who is the middleman between the farmer and the consumer, who gets to pocket most of the earnings. So when you are offered what your host thinks is a special meal, but in your eyes, just simple fare, do keep in mind what that extra meal means to the family budget. Respecting local traditions, valuing hospitality, and even buying local village crafts are all part of your adventures as a responsible traveller.
To stay more deeply connected to your experiences in Nepal, let your memories be guilt-free. Rather, let them be joyful and uplifting about how you could give back in some small measure.