Day 9 October 11th 2014
Pokhara to Lumbini, Nepal
Bye bye Pokhara and your beautiful mountain scenery, lovely breezes and quant atmosphere, hello little Lumbini. The entire distance between the two is only 190 km so in North America that would take us two hours, tops…. In Nepal on the other hand it took 6 hours. That’s because the roads in Nepal are only big enough for one way traffic so whenever cars pass each other one is given the right of way. To add to that you’re constantly driving through villages so cows and people are generally on the roads. The roads also curve constantly. We stopped for food half way and found out highway food in Nepal is just as bad as highway food in Alberta. I thought there was no way to screw up Dhal Bhat but there totally is.
Lumbini is where the group reunited along with a few new members (Trevor, Susan and Miguel). Gina and I are back to being roomies, this time we have air conditioning in the rooms! We walked over to Peace Grove Institute shortly after arriving to meet all the little nuns at the institute. It was such a special memory being greeted by all the girls with colourful flowers and beautiful smiles.
Peace Grove Institute is a center for women’s liberations, was founded by Metteyya and Bodhi and is comprised of a nunnery and the Karuna Girls College. UNICEF has identified the Lumbini area as one of the most critical zones for girls’ discrimination and child marriage problems. Only 33% of students in Nepal are girls, with this being lower in Lumbini. Peace Grove is an area for Lumbin girls and mothers to come and receive education. I’ll explain more about this project and others in Lumbini as the week goes on but please do check out the Institutes webpage by clicking here.
Our night concluded by going to the birthplace of Buddha. At this time of night there were hardly any tourists around and you could hear the silence in the air as you walked up to the temple. We saw the rock which archeologists believe is the exact location of Buddha’s birth. Following that the group all sat next to the bathing pool beside the temple and listened to Metteyya give a dharma talk on the history of the site and the events leading up to Buddha’s birth all while being draped under a blanket of stars.