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August 30, 2000 (Email)
Power Outages


If only you could read everything I've written that was lost because of power surges, outages, etc. Half of the letters I write home from this address (women's center address) are (usually abbreviated) rewrites of lost letters. This one is, too.

What's going on -- I haven't heard from you a while. I received an email from Kurt dated the 24th, but nothing since.  I'll be in Kathmandu on the 18th for VAC (Volunteer A Committee) meetings. I can't remember if the A stands for activity, action, advisory, or something else. I guess it's ambiguous. I think I said before that I'm not sure what we're meeting about, aside from a few small issues. The big things we were coming to talk about -- the February-ish "All-Vol"unteer meeting and the November-ish regional volunteer meetings -- have both been inexplicably disallowed by Peace Corps. I have my own various complaints about Peace Corps, of course, but probably won't vent them at the meeting. I've been thinking I might make a generic proposal -- maybe proposing a framework in which we could develop a contract between the volunteers and their program officers -- in order to better clarify the roles each person should play. It's hard to anticipate if anyone else would be interested in this -- I don't know the opinions of the other VAC members. 

I'll send now in case of another power outage. ________________________________________________________________ 

Saw a lot of Juni over the past weeks since returning from Kathmandu. She seems fine after her nearly 3 months away from Nepal. She had wanted to stop in Janakpur for a few days to say good-bye to everyone and get all of her things. Unfortunately, the jeep Peace Corps agreed to send down to take her to her new post never became available. She ended up here for a long time. I don't think she was too upset -- she probably won't be able to begin working at her post until after the holidays (Dasain, Tihar). But she wanted to get there and settle in as soon as possible. She ended up leaving only a few days ago with just a bag of clothes and a water filter. She'll be in Kathmandu in a few weeks, like me, for HER committee meetings (WID - Women In Development). 

I'll send now. 

I've stopped trying to cook Nepali food. Cooking rice and dahl is almost as exciting as eating it everyday. I have become very experienced with omelettes and pasta sauces, however. Tomatoes, garlic, and onion have been around for a while now, so I guess it's omelette and pasta season in the Terai.

The newest training group (191) is here. They'll probably tie up the jeeps for the next few weeks. I hope they're able to get Juni's things up to her sometime this year.

The monsoon has been very unusual. It started raining earlier than normal this year, but never became the constant daily downpour I became accustomed to last year. Then after one big storm (the one that caused the landslide), it stopped raining altogether. It was dry for about a month until it started raining again yesterday. It's been raining hard for two days now. I guess it doesn't sound strange for it to rain for a couple days after a couple weeks of no rain. You just have to understand the extremes that exist here. A simple, innocent sounding word like "dry" means a much more intense state of affairs here than it does at home. Same with "raining." Same with "hot." Forget it, I can't explain it.

I'll send again.

Ok - I forgot what I was saying. Satyam called the center and I was talking with her for ten minutes. She's taking her GRE exam tomorrow (!!!) and everyone was wishing her good luck. I've been helping her study for the exam, so I'm especially anxious about how she'll do. She's currently applying to be a transfer undergraduate student at about 10 colleges all over the U.S. (from Colorado to Maine). She already has a liberal arts degree from a three-year college in India, but hopes to get one more year of undergraduate study in America and then to do graduate school in America, too. After managing the center and doing work for the UN and Peace Corps, I'm sure she'll be accepted. The bigger worry, of course, is money -- getting grants, proving financial stability for her student visa, etc. I'm hoping she goes to a school somewhere in the northeast. Her two sisters are both in America already - one working in Virginia (who I haven't met), one studying for a Masters degree in Scranton. Maybe if you could meet them all someday it would be just as if you'd come to Nepal. I also heard that Nepal has an exhibit at the World's Fair in Hanover. Maybe we could see that, too. 

Speaking of Germany. Have you reserved tickets? If you let it get within a month of your departure date, the prices might start to get even more expensive. The round-trip ticket I've reserved goes through Munich and cost me just over $700. Like I said in my last e-mail, you can call me 8:30 PM (my time) any night but Friday. I may be out later than that on Friday nights, and my family goes to sleep soon after 8:30 every night. Or 8:30 AM (my time) would be OK also. I'll tell my landlady that you might be calling around these times so she'll know to get me when somebody calls speaking English. Just say my name a lot to make it easy on her. 

OK - I'll be back to check my email in a few days. 


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