N.G.O. Meena Ghale
Making the decision to return to Nepal with Meena to comply with the commitment made to her uncle three years ago, was not easy ˇˇ
First, the advice of the whole family and friends about the inappropriateness of the trip and the risks involved for a 9 years old girl, having to deal with the memories of her childhood and any sense of dislocation that could keep. Secondly, the same date of the travel, september 2001, which forced us to fly over much of the Iraqi territory, in the middle of the Gulf war. Finally, the uncertainty of travel to a remote area, under the protection of Meena´s relatives we had scarcely known. Only a limited exchange of correspondence we got, with great difficulty, with her uncle Milan, gave us an idea of the great human qualities of this person and calmed, in part, our fears.
Fortunatelly, this situation didn´t affect her emotionally, but confirmed her character and integration into her new country and way of life.
Arrival at Kathmandu. September the 21st. of 2001.
The Tamangs .
Ethnic group inhabiting the region of Central Nepal, close to Tibet border. They came from this ethnic, practice a Tibetan-Budhist religion and their dialect is related to the Tibetan language. Herders in the past, peasants and carriers nowdays. The population of this region is mostly Tamang and therefore a strong influence in Tibetan traditions and culture. This is noted that on the altar of every house, devoted to Buddha, the picture of the present King Birendra faces the spiritual leader of this people, The Dalai-Lama.
With regard to the customs and lifestyle of these people, I have to highlight something that has attracted all my attention. Paradoxically, Tamang women, who occupies the last place within the Tamang family, is really the center of many of the most important events in the lives of these people.
Remembering that the male is responsible for the care of their elderly parents and that women, once married, becomes dependent on her husband´s family, we understand because of the superiority of male versus women, and also because the woman becomes indispensable when going to depend on her husband´s family, where she has to take care of the house, children, livestock, garden and especially the care of her husband´s elderly parents.
It may be understood in this case, the interest of the father to find a “Good” wife for his son and arrange its wedding?
These people, isolated for centuries by the natural barrier of the hillock of “Bahudanda” which separates it from its neighbour, the village of Syabrubesi, gateway to the famous tourist “Lantang Valley” trekking, has remained standstill in the past and their people preserve the purity of their morals.
Through “Portraits of Nepal”, I will try to convey my admiration for the authenticity, simplicity and joy of the lifestyle of these people, compared to the hardness of the earth that receives them.