by Sally Wendkos Olds; Art by Margaret Roche
iUniverse, 2002

When writer Sally Wendkos Olds and artist Margaret Roche trekked to the remote village of Badel in Nepal’s eastern hills in the spring of 1993, they were the first western women to go there. They were the first to live with local families in their modest homes, the first to see how the villagers lived from day-to-day. Sally Olds and Marge Roche arrived in the village as strangers and left as “relatives.” In 1994 they returned to help establish a library in Badel, to follow up on corrective surgery for two children with cleft lips, and to celebrate the Hindu festival of Dasain with their friends in the community. They came back again and again.

Their book, with Sally’s words and Marge’s drawings, shows a portrait of life in a village that can be reached from the closest road or airstrip only by trekking on foot for three days over narrow, rocky mountain paths. Badel has no electricity, no telephones, no modern sanitation. Its people live and work as they have for centuries in a way of life that is beginning to change now—and is sure to disappear within our lifetime.

The book takes you into the village and reveals lives led according to the rhythms of hundreds of years ago—how babies are born, how children learn, how couples court, how women live, how the dead are honored. You’ll share the adventures of “Grandma Sally” and “Grandma Marge,” and like them, you will be enriched by the ancient wisdom of the people they came to know and love.

This book is for travelers who want to know more about the day-to-day lives of their sherpas and porters; for armchair explorers who want to experience exotic lands—from the excitement and chaos of Kathmandu to the serenity of isolated hamlets; and for all who seek inspiration from the spirituality of another culture. It holds special resonance for women, who can put themselves in Marge and Sally’s sandals as they explore their own life issues in the context of another culture.

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A Balcony in Nepal

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