Welcome to the party

I’d like to mention something about the new group. I was in Kathmandu a week or so ago for the NELTA conference. The conference ended on a Monday and I was planning to stick around for a couple days to arrange my plane tickets to the United States and work out the details with Andrew on the India adventure.

The new volunteers were arriving on Wednesday. Along with Mary, Ravi, Mike, and Alayne, we rode to the airport in a Peace Corps jeep as the welcoming committee.

Even though Alayne and I were still a few months off from our year anniversary of swearing-in as PCVs, our one year anniversary of arriving in Nepal had passed less than a week ago.

Just a year ago I had walked out of the terminal to Sara, a N/191, who gave me my tikka and malla. Just a year?

I remember that I rode in the back of the bus next to Sara. I don’t think I was too talkative—blame it on the marathon flight from the US or just being overwhelmed by Kathmandu.

Later that night, the PCVs in town met us at our hotel and took us in groups to various restaurants.

Tradition, they told us.

I went with Sara to an Italian place just across the street from the Kathmandu Guest House. Alayne was there, too.

I remember Sara saying over and over, I just don’t know where they’re going to put all of you.

She’d just been pulled for her site in the eastern hills and was waiting around in Kathmandu for something. With peace still holding, I can say that the groups that were leaving when my group arrived were all skeptical that Peace Corps would remain in Nepal much longer.

They had seen the country’s situation go from ‘not OK’ to ‘awful.’ I’ve seen it go from ‘awful’ to ‘maybe OK.’ Time will tell what the new folks will see.

That night I took a group of the new volunteers to eat at the same Italian place still across the street from the Kathmandu Guest House. Alayne and I answered the same questions that we had asked of Sara a year ago—some things you can rely on, unlike Nepal’s peace.

Well, that, and some authentic pasta.