It was a Wednesday and I was hurrying to the small school where I was scheduled to teach music and movement to the missionary children. “Debbie Didi, Debbie Didi!” I heard someone calling me (Didi is older sister). Pushba, one of the ladies from church, asked me if I had heard about the picnic planned for the ladies’ group at church. I hadn’t, so she told me an outing had been planned and that they wanted me to be the speaker!
At a picnic?!
I hesitated, not really feeling adequate to prepare a talk. She said, “It’s a picnic, so it doesn’t have to be so long – maybe only 30 or 45 minutes.” Oh, my. So – “When is this picnic?” I asked. “Next Wednesday.”
Since we had guests staying with us that whole week, I didn’t get much time to spend on my preparation. (We were so happy to have Tim and Val from Australia with us and loved all the time we had to visit! Thanks to them, as well, for the inspiration and encouragement for the talk I prepared.) But, I prayed and wrote and made Les help me do the translation into Nepali!
Some of you might be thinking, “A picnic in December?” Yes, here in Tansen, it is actually a lovely time of year to do it. Being outside in the sun is where you can be warm; inside the houses it is quite chilly. And when the sun goes down, more layers are needed! So, we piled about 40 women into a bus that seats 25 along with firewood, big pots, bags of rice, etc. on Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m. We drove down to a large field near a friend’s farm and unloaded to set up our picnic!
First, we built fires and made “chiya” (Nepali tea: you boil tea, sugar, milk and sometimes cardamom and cinnamon together) and had snacks of hard boiled eggs and bread. The women then started on various activities: some went to a nearby field and picked “moulah” (big white radishes), some started chopping vegetables that had been purchased from nearby shops, and some chopped meat. There were also several groups of cows that wandered by us and had to be chased away.
We had some games and then some singing, dancing and worship. My turn to speak came at around 2 p.m. I had planned a couple of games and activities which we started with, and then I gave my message. After I was done, one of the Nepali leaders stood and did a recap – basically repeating and elaborating on what I had said. This was actually good. First, because I knew that at least she had understood what I had said and second, because the ladies who maybe hadn’t understood me would probably understand her!
We finally had our lunch around 3 pm. It was delicious: rice, curried vegetables, two types of meat, and spicy radish “achar” (chutney). I never cease to be amazed how they can make this over a couple of wood fires and have it all hot to serve.
After we ate and cleaned up (which was amazing to watch – there were no sinks or dishwashers – only water poured from pitchers to rinse dishes), people were ready to go. Unfortunately, the bus was delayed and didn’t show up until after 6:30! By that time, it was dark but we were happy that the moon had risen so at least we could see a bit.
It was a long day, but very nice to just have the time to sit and chat with other believers and to feel a bit more part of the ladies’ group here… And to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. Enjoy the photos!
Carrying Mom’s bag and enjoying snacks!
Pretending to help…
The real cooks
Enjoying the sun!
Drinking water… in close proximity to cow pies!
Singing and dancing
Rubbing mud on a pan to make clean-up easier