Though I travelled with new people whom I had just known for a month but it was such a pleasure and comfort to spend time with them. For me it was an awesome experience with the lovely CEN family.
Rassu writes about Staff retreat 2013 to Ghalegaun, Lamjung
CEN Retreat to Lamjung was an awesome experience. We had planned this trip almost one month earlier but due to the busy schedule of the staffs we managed to go on 1st February 2013. Altogether ten of us (Anjila Manandhar, Amita Thapa Magar, Krity Shrestha, Deependra Dongol, Rajan Thapa, Suman Udas, Prashant Khanal, Dipesh Chapagain, Sunil Acharaya and myself) left for Lamjung from Kalanki (south-west entry point to Kathmandu) at about 8 o clock in the morning. Bimal Chettri could not make it, because of his exam. We had to pick up Manjeet dai from Mugling since he was out of valley for some
training. Prashant dai was so excited for the lunch as he was asking everyone what kind of fish you all would like to have? The fresh fish or the fried fish? We had stopped for lunch at Shyam Dai’s restaurant where we got to eat different styles of fish for lunch. On our way to Muglin we picked up
Manjeet dai and he was looking exactly like a foreigner with his hat, shades, overcoat and a heavy looking bag pack.
Finally after the tiring, long drive we reached Besisahar in the evening. Besisahar is the capital of Lamjung District in Gandaki zone and it’s a start point of famous Annapurna Circuit tourist route. I found the environment peaceful as we had come from Kathmandu, the busiest city in the country. Rajkumar sir from CHESS Nepal had come to receive us there; as it was quiet late we had a cup of coffee in the restaurant and were ready to leave for Ghalegaun that lie to the northwest of Besisahara at an altitude of 2016 meters.
On our way we played Antakshari (a spoken parlor game where each contestant sings the first verse of a song on which the previous contestant’s song selection ended), where the girls were one team and the boys another. Prashant dai, Sunil dai and Dipesh dai made themselves comfortable in the jeep’s roof. While playing Antakshari both of the teams were competing with full energy and were afraid to lose. Manjeet dai was making his own songs and I was so confused and wondered does that song really exist? After two hours jeep drive we reached Ghalegaun and the antakshari ended with letter ‘ma’ as I still remember. No matter who ever won but it was really fun to sing the favorite songs and also to listen the new ones created on the spot. As we reached Ghalegaun there came the host families’ women to welcome us. We four girls were in one room and there were two rooms for the boys. We had sell roti made of kodo and phapar, everyone was eating like it was there favorite food in the whole world as everyone was so hungry as well as the sell roti was delicious. I really found funny when I first heard everyone called Manjeet dai “Hakim” in a joking way. The first day was a tiring, adventures day with non stop laughing as always.
With the sunrise started the next day with more enthusiasm to enjoy the day to the fullest. Everyone was so excited to see the sunrise but I was so lazy to wake up early in the morning. We went to the top of the nearby hill to see the mountains and enjoyed clicking photos in front of the mountains jumping with actions and posing. I really din’t knew even Manjeet dai was such a poser for taking pictures. After the poses everyone was hungry and wanted to have “local kukhura (adult chicken)” with rice. After some rest, trek to Ghanpokhara began which was one hour distance from Ghalegaun. Ghanpokhara was a small village of Gurungs community and they had some kind of puja (celebration) where they were cutting a goat. Anjila di, Amita di and I were afraid to see that scene so we planned our steps back to Ghalegaun where the rest were enjoying seeing it. That day was really gloomy with a drizzle of rain added to the day.
After the visit to Ghanpokhara we planned to play damsharaj. Damsaraj is a game between two teams, where one team gives the name of a movie and the next team has to act it so that their tema understand what the title is. Manjeet dai, Anjila d, Sunil dai, Krity, Dipendra dai, Dipesh dai was in one team while Amita d, Suman dai, Rajan dai, Prashant dai and myself were in the opposite team. Both teams did their best acting to win; some acting was so funny that we just couldn’t stop laughing. Rajan dai and Manjeet dai said one poem as a penalty as their team dint understand what they had acted. Amita di and Suman dai were the best actors but the man of the game was Dipendra dai as he could guess all the movies so easily. Ghalegaun’s didi bought us food in the middle of the game which contained sell and sisnu’s soup (sisnu is English is stinging nettle) which I had never seen before but when I tasted it was not bad. When the game finished it was almost evening and we had decided to play football in the school ground. The gentle men of CEN and Amita d divided themselves in two teams and started to play a match of 10 minutes. Amita di, Rajan dai, Manjeet dai and Dipendra dai was in one team while Prashant dai, Suman dai, Dipesh dai and Sunil dai was playing against them. After three minute of the match everyone was tired and started asking what the time is? Manjeet dai’s team won by 2-1 with the opposite team.
The sun had almost set while match finished. There was a child who was wearing just a shirt without any shoes in that cold evening and I was so amazed to see him that small child had so much adapted to that chill climate and I wearing so much of warm cloth but still feeling so cold. I found myself so privileged and that boy so brave.
This night to we had a bonfire but I was different from the other night as we played truth or dare. As the bottle turned to the person most of them said truth and the question was all about love. Dipendra dai was so sick about the questions and we stopped the game and had fun talking about different things. Some of them made themselves comfortable playing cards. The second day ended exploring to new place, laughing seeing the acting done, playing football. With a cozy sleep in the bed ended the last night in Ghalegaun.
Morning alarm started the last day of our retreat in Ghalegaun. We had planned this day hiking down to Besisahar.
Everyone was still so excited about the sunrise and had gone up the hill to see it. Anjila d was not feeling well this day and everyone was so worried that how can she walk all the way to Besisahar. Even though steadily but she managed walking. During the hike Prashant dai, Dipesh dai and Rajan dai sang a song making their own lyrics, saying something to everyone keeping cha cha in the song. It was really fun but I still don’t know what that cha cha means. While we waited for Anjila di on our way we played card (Fanash) till she comes to that place, I found it really funny. In one home we stopped, made corns and tea by ourselves ate them all, washed the utensils and headed on our destination again.
Every time we asked the local people about the time that will take to reach Besisahar they always used to say 30 minutes but it never came. No matter how much we walk but the final place was still long way to come. Finally when we reached Besisahar. Dipendra dai danced but I had no energy to dance at all. We had reached Besisahar but guess what our destination was still to come in 30 minutes walk. This time it was for real 30 minutes. At last in the evening we reached our goal place. It was really late; it took us eight hours to reach Besisahar where as it was four hours walk for the local people. Once we reached the restaurant there was a discussion whether to return home that day or stay in Besisahar that night. With the majority choice to go home we headed to Kathmandu after lunch in a reserved micro bus. We left Besisahar at around 5pm with the hope that we will reach home by 11 and yes we did reach home at time. The CEN retreat to Ghalegaun ended with enjoyment, fun, excitement.
CEN retreat just din’t end here, the next day everyone was in the office with the aching body and we all just enjoyed looking at the photos, recalling the moments again and laughing at the funny snaps taken. Though I travelled with new people whom I had just known for a month but it was such a pleasure and comfort to spend time with them. CEN retreat to Ghalegaun, Lamjung was an awesome experience with the lovely CEN family.