Right now the research team is in Nepal for 3 weeks. In the beginning we were a bit frightened to cross the streets between all the cars and scooters, we are now crossing faster than the Nepalese themselves. We are getting more and more used to the extraordinary Nepalese culture.
The beginning of October the Dashain is celebrated, a two week long festival. Its first week is more of a ‘start-up week’, whereas in the second week every family holds several traditional activities. Animals are offered at the temples and eaten with the family. Gambling games are common, in which also the children participate with their pocket-money. We also joined the games, luckily ending up with as much money as we started with.
Besides understanding and experiencing Nepalese culture we also came here for research. The past few weeks we had three field trips in and around Kathmandu. Our first trip was to a farmer located in the city. Recent storms had destroyed his greenhouses and ruined his harvest. The other two trips were to close (farmer) communities that shared everything with each other. Even in periods when water was scarce they would still divide the water equally over the community’s members. We were happy to find out that the methods we developed for these meetings with the farmers worked out well. We star with a small ‘ice breaker’, where we show them small booklets with pictures of ourselves and the Netherlands, to introduce ourselves and create a bond. Then we created a timeline together with the farmers, whereby the farmers describe their daily activities by using cards we created. Then we asked which members of the community/family did which activities. We did this for the 4 different seasons, to understand wh.. This timelime was a good first step towards more in-depth conversations. We asked them about their financial situations. To facilitate this conversation we showed drawings of the things they could invest in (house, family, farm, food) and asked them to divide a certain amount of fake money bills over these categories. Then this method was repeated for investments in the farm, to gain insights in how they would invest money. The farmers were very open and prepared to share their information and experience with us, which gave us useful insights for this project!