Monthly Archives: October 2013

Embarrassing moments

“It’s time to write another blog.  What shall we share about?”

“How about the time that….”

“No – that’s too embarrassing…..”

“That’s okay – everyone already knows we aren’t perfect!”

“You first!”

Oh, yes – we have many embarrassing moments here.  But we are keeping our Nepali friends and neighbors amused and entertained!

Recently, Debbie was given care of a lovely and delicious looking cake to carry to a meeting to share.  It was to celebrate a birthday and an anniversary.  While walking to the meeting – balancing the cake, a flashlight and an umbrella – the cake popped out of the spring-form pan and landed upside down on the dirt path… She tried to pick it up and carry it on (in pieces) but it wasn’t so appetizing anymore – as anyone who has seen what might be found on a path around here will agree!  Note the added pebbles to the dropped cake….

fallen cake....

Les has become the proud owner of a mountain bike.  The roads and paths around here are not smooth, even, or flat – and out of his four rides so far, he has had “unscheduled dismounts” on two of them.  The most recent involved a group of goats on the road – around whom Les steered slowly and carefully.  As he was passing the last goat, he let off the brakes and quickly picked up speed down the path – and only then noticed that there was a long rope attached to one of the goats which was stretched across the road in front of him!!  In trying to stop in time, the tire locked up and Les flew over the handlebars onto the path.  Fortunately, the helmet was new and saved his head.  Only scrapes and bruises this time.  (Thank you, God!)  To add to the feelings of inadequacy, he found out later that some friends of ours witnessed the whole thing from their nearby house.  They were about to come and help when Les got up and continued on his ride…

Debbie was recently at a Bible study at church with a large group of women – it was led by some visitors from the U.S.  During the talk, she was able to provide some words to help in the translation (when Les found out, he said something like “YOU provided the words??!!”)  Note the astonishment in his voice… keeps Debbie humble.  Well, as the morning went on, she got a bit distracted, and was highly embarrassed when suddenly she realized everyone was waiting for her to fill in a word – and she had completely lost track of the talk.  Oh well….

And Les gets the final one for today…  In the OPD clinics, the doctors call the names of people to come in to be seen for follow up. Les called a name and 2 men came in.  One sat in the chair, and the other stood behind him. Les assumed it was a family member as people rarely come to the hospital on their own.  Well, this person (according to the chart) had come in to have abdominal fluid checked out.  Les had him lie down and thought he looked and felt very thin for having had fluid…  The other man kept saying things like – please read that chart.  Les said, “I am reading this chart to see what has been written!”  Les took a needle and tried to get some fluid, but none came.  Finally, the man standing said, “I am the one with the fluid – this man is someone else!”  Fortunately, no harm was done – the first man was asked to wait until his name was called and then he was helped later, and the other man got his fluid tested!

Not boring around here….Thanks for your prayers!



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Didis and Bahinis

Didi (older sister) and Bahini (younger sister) are two of the first words we learned after we arrived in Nepal.  People tend to refer to each other here by their relationship rather than by name.  Some of the older people we have met aren’t even sure what their name is!

We use the terms didi and bahini mostly in relation to the ladies who work in our homes and gardens.  For me, now, most of the ladies are bahinis – making me feel a bit old!

When we first came to Tansen, we were introduced to a lady who had been working in the homes of other missionaries, and who was now to work for us.  I (Debbie) especially felt very uncomfortable about this – the only people I had known who had a maid were very wealthy and higher class and I wasn’t sure I wanted someone in our home doing the work I thought I should be doing!  I soon learned, however, that life in Nepal was more time consuming than life in the U.S.  Bread couldn’t be bought – it had to be baked.  Flour didn’t come in nice packages – it came in bulk, and had to be cleaned.  Rice was the same.  Laundry didn’t get thrown into the washing machine – it was scrubbed in buckets and rinsed and wrung out by hand, then hung on a line to dry.  Floors weren’t vacuumed (what was a vacuum cleaner, anyway?) they were swept and mopped.  Dishes weren’t put into the dishwasher – they were washed by hand – after boiling the water needed to rinse them.  You get the idea!

Because we relied on our didis and bahinis to not only clean our houses and do our laundry the way we wanted, but also to boil and filter our water, soak our veggies and fruit in iodine solution and to prepare food in a safe manner, we had classes and sessions with the ladies in order to teach them ways we liked things done.  We also sometimes just had fun times with all these ladies who worked so hard for us, and we had some classes where we shared the gospel message.

During the last years here of our previous terms, I was “in charge” of the didis and bahinis.  If someone new came, I would suggest a didi for them.  If someone left, I helped the didi to find new work, if possible, and if not, tried to help encourage them in other ways.  When we left in 2002, they had a lovely farewell party for me with great food and even dancing!

When we returned to Tansen a year and a half ago, there were 3 missionary ladies organizing the didis and bahinis.  They have all left Tansen now to return to their home countries, and so I am once again in charge of these ladies!  Currently we have only 13 ladies who are employed by missionaries to help in homes and gardens.  There are 10 ladies who have been retired who are still living in and around Tansen.  Just for fun, I had a gathering of all the ladies the other day here in our attic.

After 21 ladies gathered here (2 couldn’t come) we had a time with some questions just to get started.  The oldest lady who came thinks she is about 80.  The youngest is 33.  Laxmi is the one with the most children – she had 7.  Ganesh has the most grandchildren with 14.  Our bahini (Sarda) was born the farthest from here – in Assam, India.  Only one lady has worked longer for one family than Sarda (who has been with us for 13.5 years now).  These ladies have seen hundreds of missionaries come through Tansen – and have tried to please all of us!  Considering that we have come from about 20 different countries, that is no small feat!

After chatting some, we played some silly games together for fun.  One game was musical clothes.  I had put a bunch of our clothing items into a bag, and they passed it as the music played.  When the music stopped, they had to remove an article of clothing and put it on.

After playing Musical Clothes!

It is always a challenge to find games that don’t need reading or writing (as not all the ladies can do that) and don’t take much space, and don’t require a detailed explanation in Nepali!  Finally, we all had tea and snacks, and just had more time to visit.  It was a wonderful afternoon.

Out of these 23 ladies, only 7 or 8 are Christian.  Those who are pray together regularly to encourage each other.

We couldn’t do what we do here without these ladies.  I am thankful for them and ask that you would pray that our lives would make them want to learn more about Jesus.  (Sometimes I wonder about this – we don’t have any secrets from these ladies who work in our homes and clean up after us!  They know all our “secrets”)  Thanks for reading – and for your love and support for us here in Tansen!


Four of the retired didis.  The one on the far right is the oldest

Four of the reitred didis. The one on the far right is oldest.



Sarda (our bahini) is on the right

Sarda (our bahini) is on the right.


Laxmi (most children) is on the right

Laxmi (most children) is on the right.


Jibu, the youngest, is on the right

Jibu (the youngest) is on the right.


The whole group together

The whole group together!


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