Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer among the Leslie-chands

It's 8 am on Wednesday over here and dear loyal, energetic, smiling Gita just came upstairs to wake Leah for her Lincoln School summer camp. A bit of breakfast, hopefully, before she goes to catch her 8:30 am bus.

Next blog I should do an essay on the Gita-ness of our lives since she joined us in 1990 a month after Joshua...

Already, I've been up since about 6:30 when Tara, the roof cat, appeared in our bedroom, stretching, staring and ready for her morning meal, as well. So after watching her watch me for awhile, I went out (she followed...) to the terrace, where she usually lives, to feed her.

I'm off to Tansen (western Nepal) for a few days today for our next Federalism Dialogue in the proposed Magarat State. We're doing these Dialogues with civil society and political leaders across Nepal in all of the fourteen provinces proposed by the CA State Restructuring Committee. I'm quite enjoying this UNDP work on the constitution. Of course, as is well-known, there are serious complications at the national political level in Nepal, but our efforts in bringing the Constituent Assembly work out to the people, districts and proposed provinces feels good and vibrant. If there is to be a functioning democracy in Nepal some day, it will have to grow from the peripheries to the center to be effective.

Then, Ez goes to the US on Sunday evening to go through his 'stuff' at my sister Claudia's in Philly. He's there three days before flying via Reno to his big adventure at Deep Springs College on July 2nd. 'Plato on stirrups' is what I call Deep Springs. 26 students (all guys) for two years in a self-managed community (kibbutz, monastery, commune...). The young men work 20 hours/week on the ranch or farm or managing the school, as well as their regular studies. There are 6-8 full-time professors and a college president on the campus/ranch with them. Each year the students select their courses, their professors and the new students. It's a remarkable place, isolated, self-contained and cerebral while laborious. Head, hands and heart is how NMH describes itself. This seems similar while more intense. Great books, great minds and high ambitions. Far from the maddening world, full of stars, open space and the mysteries of the desert in the high Sierras near the Nevada border.

How will Ez grow and change? He turns 18 on Monday and it seems too soon for him to be leaving us already this summer... but DSC is a working ranch, so some of the students need to be there at all times. When will we see him again...

Fortunately Josh is here for the summer. He's already quite settled in, hanging with Ez and their friends most evenings in Thamel at the Factory or friends' homes or here. They move easily into a casual, comfortable pattern in their small town of Kathmandu. Their Lincoln School connections continue and cross generations. While at the same time, Josh is getting ready to do some internships at the Nepal Tamang Ghedung (an ethnic organization) and the Center for Contemporary Nepal Studies w/ the professors Lok Baral, Krishna Khanal and Krishna Hachhethu. He'll balance some social work w/ more intellectual challenges of the modern Nepal while finding time to travel a bit w/ me and his friends around the country this summer.

Plus, we have the added benefit of Josh's love of food and cooking. While I was in Palpa Josh made homemade jam out of some of the peaches I'd picked the other day. i can't wait to try it on his homemade bread. Too bad we can't send some to the US with Ez on Sunday...

And, since she's up and gone already, Ms. Leah is at the Lincoln School summer camp w/ some of her friends. The bus picks her up and drops her back at home in the late afternoon, so she has a full day. We'll get her back to her solo art classes w/ Neera on Sundays once Ez goes and life begins to settle down for all of us... en challah.

The changing face of our Leslie-chand family. As the cookie crumbles, by the end of the summer there will be three in Kathmandu, one in DC and one on the California/Nevada border. What's a parent to do??

It's really all too much for me...

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