Nepali Bansha Mo Toi Cha

I think that’s what we were taught to say tonight over dinner. Nepali food is very good. This week has been full of adventures in our little community. I’d love to sit you down and tell you about all of them, but there just isn’t time for it all tonight since tomorrow I’m getting up to watch the sunrise.

I think the best one to start with began on Wednesday evening when Molly and I were both running late for our dinner together. We’ve been trying to combine our schedules to make this dinner happen and finally, Wednesday seemed to work. Of course, I was late coming home from research where the wireless is plentiful and the coffee flows quite expensively (aka: Solid Grounds). She rode her bike to work, got a flat and experienced something of a disaster when having her hair coloured. It’s not disastrous. It just seems that hte man didn’t understand the concept of going back to her natural, and thought “sun-kissed” while not in the plan, would be more to her liking.

So we arrived and had just started decompressing when the girls invaded the apartment shouting that five cars were broken! I thought they meant broken into, given the side of town we live in. I was disappointed by the thought, I’ve been banking on this being a “safe” -ish side of this part of town. And then, suddenly, I found myself being pulled outside towards the back end of the parking lot. Genesa was climbing all over me, so I finally picked her up (it’s the only means of controlling her) and came around the corner of the corridor leading outside to discover a five car accident in the parking lot.

Apparently a Somali man was teaching his wife to drive. Apparently he was teaching her to drive in a parking lot full of parked cars. Apparently he wasn’t clear on the gas versus the brakes.

They say she was startled and pushed the wrong pedal. They say she slammed into a car belonging to our friend. They say it was squeezed in snugly between two other cars.

That, of course, was before it was shoved into the tree. That was before the van driven by the Somali’s wife found itself halfway into that parking spot. That, of course, was before the car on the left smacked into another car when its bumper was wrench and twisted and shoved. That was before the crash and the screeching and the screaming and the shattering.

And then she was frightened, and she ran inside. And then the Somali tried to take credit for what had gone wrong. And then someone called him on it. And then we appeared in the middle of the crowd that soon grew to hold every single person in the apartment complex.

In America, we usually don’t allow people into the scene of the accident. We push the kids away, we call the police and we let insurance settle the matter. Not so in this apartment complex. I walked on bits of broken bumpers and shards of glass from tail lights and bulbs. I carried a four year old in my arms while a nine year old oo-ed and aahh-ed over the wreckage with me. Molls came out and translated (or helped) when the cops arrive.

This is sure to be a hot mess. The Somali hit a Bhutanese/Nepali and a Congolese. It’s a twisted mess of cultures and languages, not to mention insurance agencies. I talked with one man who doesn’t know how he’ll pay for anything to be fixed. Baba shook his head and cradled his chin in his hands while he sat in that nasty mustard yellow chair perched in the corner of our living room.

We came back inside, eventually, and perhaps that is where the real story begins.

But I’m getting up for the sunrise tomorrow. So you’ll have to tune in again later to hear about the three meals on Wednesday night and the debate about whether it was feathers or feet that I was fed….the jury is still out. (and honestly, they may never return)

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