(E-mail received from Les and Debbie 3-24-12)
Well – it’s been a month since we left Middletown to return to Tansen, Nepal. In spite of the fact that our 2 barrels have not yet made it here, we are feeling pretty settled into our “new” home. We are living in an old Nepali home which has been worked on to make it more comfortable for westerners to live in. It is a big house and we are actually sharing it with another missionary. She (the tutorial group teacher) lives on the ground floor. We have the second floor and the attic. Most of our time is spent on the second floor where we have a kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom. We do have water piped into the kitchen sink and into the bathroom. Water continues to be a big problem in Tansen – many people want it, and there never seems to be extra. We get water sent into our tank every other day, but we share with our landlady who lives right next door, and with the other missionary downstairs. Les is actually outside now as the water is coming trying to make sure the bottom tank fills, so we will be able to pump water up to the tank on the roof. Thanks for prayers for enough water and rain – the hospital has been having to have tanker trucks of water already to help fill their tanks, and it is several months until monsoon season arrives.
Okay – Feb. 24, Rachel drove us to Columbus where we had to have a meal at Schmidt’s Sausage Haus before going to the airport! 🙂 We wanted to fly Southwest because we could get our suitcases to the west coast for free! However, Southwest had some problems that day and instead of getting to Phoenix that night as planned, we only made it to St. Louis. They put us up in a hotel and paid for our dinner and got us to Phoenix the next day where Debbie’s parents kindly met us and we drove together to Victorville, CA. We enjoyed several days there with Debbie’s sister and family and then we went down to Claremont and had a couple of days with Les’ mom and sister.
On March 1, Debbie’s sister and family drove us to LAX where we checked in on Thai airlines. We left Los Angeles around 9:30 pm and flew through darkness for almost 18 hours until we landed in Bangkok the morning of March 3! For such a long flight, we did okay – we had our own little TV screens in the backs of the seats and we could choose from lots of movies. We tried to get up and walk every couple of hours – and there were several meals served, as well. I think we even slept a bit! From Bangkok, we flew into KTM where we were greeted by an old friend from our former days in UMN and taken to another friend’s house where we were staying. Kathmandu has changed – it is even more busy and crowded than before. It seems you can usually walk faster than drive as there are so many vehicles on the road there isn’t room to go fast!
We went to UMN headquarters on Monday morning – to be greeted with a cake and tea to celebrate UMN’s 58th birthday! (And here we thought they were celebrating our arrival!! HA!) It was good to meet the new (and many familiar) faces around headquarters. We spent the next few days enjoying visits with friends and doing shopping for things we knew we would need in Tansen. We rode on the Buck (Bus/truck) out to Tansen on Thursday – it was a quick trip as we left KTM at 7 am and arrived in Tansen before 3!
We were so happy to see Ganesh (our former gardener – now Guest House manager and asst. ASO) and Sarda (our former and now current house helper) who were there to greet us. We spent one night in the guest house and then moved to our new place in upper Gairi Gau. We had to purchase a refrigerator and a gas cooker but many other needed items were left in the house by the family who had been here previously and we are very thankful for that! We are especially thankful for the wireless internet here – not as fast as in the U.S., but we have been able to skype at certain times and to download (slowly) small items on youtube, etc.
I was a bit disappointed to learn that some of the TV shows I used to watch on CBS.com are not available “in the geographical area in which you are residing”. Well – I guess God was letting me know I have watched enough NCIS for awhile! 🙂 I am enjoying doing the Beth Moore study on James – I downloaded her audio teachings onto the IPOD before we left the U.S. It is a bit strange to be doing it just on my own – I miss all you ladies I used to do Beth Moore with!!
Les is happy to be back at the hospital – and everyone seems really happy and pleased to have him back. He has stepped into the role of doctor and teacher – and is trying to avoid administrative jobs as long as possible! The people in place now in the admin roles are doing excellent jobs and we are thankful for that. He works in either the male medical ward, the female/maternity ward or the pediatric. Every morning still begins with prayer and doctor’s meeting/report, and then ward rounds. Late morning, he goes to the outpatient clinics and sees patients the rest of the day. We live off compound, but it is less than a 10 minute walk, so he comes home for lunch. We have really been enjoying delicious Dal Bhat every day – the Nepali meal consisting of rice, lentil soup and curried vegetables. Also – the various pickles and condiments add great flavor and variety.
Yesterday we walked down to where we used to live. Some of the area is almost unrecognizable as the same road! Our home is now housing several Nepali families, and the garden area is very different. We were sad to see many of the lovely fruit trees were gone – the peach trees, especially. We were able to visit many old neighbors and friends as we walked – more people remember our names than we remember theirs! Fortunately we can always use “didi” (older sister) or dhai (older brother) when names don’t come to mind!
We have been taking Nepali lessons every day for the last couple of weeks. Les really didn’t need much review – in fact, he was using a couple of his new words at lunch with our house helper and she didn’t understand them! He is now learning words only really highly educated Nepalis know! Debbie, on the other hand, who was never as good at Nepali as Les anyway, is struggling to remember words and to be able to be at least close to grammatical correctness. Lots of hand motions and smiling! 🙂
Debbie is once again taking on the role of Area Services Officer – a job which now involves a lot more than it did when previously was here. She has been meeting with the current ASO and learning the job a bit at a time, and will probably take over from mid-April.
We have enjoyed getting back to our church here – many of the same faces that we remember, but the kids have all grown up! How did that happen?! 🙂 Les has already been asked to preach – on Easter!
Next week we travel to KTM to meet with our “boss” from the General Bd of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. He will be coming from NYC for a few days and will be unable to make it out to Tansen, so we will go to meet with him in KTM.
Thanks for your prayers – and we would love to hear from you. You can email us – or you can send us a card or letter. We get snail mail once a week – and it is very exciting! 🙂 Our address is:
Les & Debbie Dornon
c/o United Mission to Nepal (Tansen)
God Bless You!
Love, Debbie & Les Dornon