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Lekhani VDC and the Impromptu Speech

After meeting the local community, the local disaster relief committee. (LDRC) we were taken on a tour of the most vulnerable sites for landslide and flash flooding. Parts of the 'road' where clearly in a state of collapse as we drove along them. At the highest point we went to we were forced to turn back as the jeeps ability to handle the terrain was looking in doubt. I'd forgotten the simple pleasure in being the focal point of amusement, as we drove around with the windows down the smile that often twists the face of a stranger as they look at you, (and presumably wonder "what on earth are you doing here") has always helped remind me that regardless of culture, we're all human, as you can't help but smile back. After an extensive tour of hazard points, and viewing a forest NGDF had helped plant to stabilise the slope we were invited to a community meeting, marking the ending of a WASH program phase and the commencement of another. Geraint and myself were given seats at the front and introduced to some of the key speakers. My posterior must have looked sensitive as I was also given a pillow to sit on. Parma-gee, (our guide and president of NGDF) leaned in to me while the speeches were being made and informed me that we would just listen, not ask questions or interrupt. We were there "to watch only". This, as many things in Nepal, proved to be eminently dynamic interpretation of what was going to happen. Watching only quickly became, "You can say something" to "I'm going to make a speech in Nepali in front of total strangers" to practising phrases and intonations frantically in my head to make sure I didn't sabotage the whole visit. It however, went off well to say the least, and you have to remind yourself, without being put in these situations, without something new to challenge you, without there being a chance you might fail, you never know what you can do. Every time I'm in Nepal I'm challenged or stretched in some new way, by something I didn't expect and sometimes without applicable contingency plans...(ie legging it from the meeting). Sometimes you just have to dive in and find out if you can float, and personally, I would encourage you all to do the same...

...but possibly not literally, it is Monsoon-country after all.

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