(September 30th, 2011)
At about twenty minutes, half an hour walk from the village, is one of the entrances to Chitwan National Park. So we’re off to a walk through the jungle, chasing the rino. Casiy, Eli and I, two American and one German girls who work at the orphanage, Patam (Pramila’s husband and our guide) and two Nepali boys.
It’s incredibly, incredibly hot. And humid. As soon as we walk into the forest, it gets better, but still very humid. There is a baby rhino seven years old, and his parents. We’re not supposed to be afraid as much of the old rhinos, as of the small one: he’s a child, he’s curious, he’ll come to check us quickly. Patam tells us how he knows to differentiate the different noises they make, which tell whether they’ve sensed us and preparing to attack, or whether they are just moving on their ways. We have to walk very carefully and listen for the sounds. When we hear them, we stop and stand still; Patam only moves ahead to check whether moving ahead is safe, and see where they are or where they are heading.
Stop! Don’t move. The rhino is here. We have to stand still. A flash from my tango classes goes through my mind, whilst I try to find my balance through the bushes. It’s a part of the body awareness workshops, where we’re asked to follow very slowly our partner’s movements, and stop when they stop, stand still. I’m good at this, I tell to myself. The single word we don’t want to hear is Run!! We don’t have to, luckily. The baby rhino makes a sudden turn and walks on into the forest. Those few minutes were quite intense; the whole trip, actually.
On our way back, we stop at a restaurant; it’s a small resort there, as well. Really, really, really beautiful garden and bamboo bungalows. We eat French fries and drink Coke. What a fest!!
The day ends with Eli’s birthday party. Pramila’s surprise and gift for him. She invites all the neighbours, all the children are there, the ones from the orphanage, too. The woman and girls sing and dance. Us, the volunteer girls, have to dance whilst they are all singing Nepali songs … That we fun! We must have been good, because they ask us to dance some more; or at least this is what we like to think. Lots of laughter and lots of joy. Eli gets a Tika on his forehad from the older man and woman, it’s a blessing and it comes with chanting mantras. And us, the woman and the girls, give him flowers. And we are all served fresh fruits. It’s 9pm, quite late to end an evening here for the kids, but we’re still singing and laughing …