Book: Latte to Lathi

February 26, 2020


Hey guys!

I must admit that I picked out this book from the library because of its cute illustration... without knowing it was a non-fictional book about a Singaporean girl's mission trip to Nepal. ðŸ˜‚ Classic case of judging a book by its cover indeed.

Though I am not Christian, I like to learn about different faiths. Therefore it was still a very enjoyable read for me!


What's it about

Author "Jea Ng" left her comfort zone in her twenties, and headed to Nepal to spread the word about her faith. She joins other women from an international community, undergoes a training program and treks long journeys to visit far flung villages. Sometimes, these treks can be long and arduous. In her words, it took 5 days to get to a village Sanogaun, but only 5 hours to take a plane back home to Singapore. Jea also experienced Nepal's biggest earthquake of magnitude 7.8, and witnessed its destruction.

I would imagine this book has greater impact for those who are Christians as there are lessons about faith and passages from the bible, but nonetheless I enjoyed the stories about how she experienced life in urban and rural Nepal!

For the unsure, Nepal is situated between India and Tibet, and has eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including Mt. Everest. It is a beautiful and colourful country with warm locals.

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These are some things I found memorable from the book:

Faith Day
On the second day of arriving in Nepal, the team had a 'Faith Day'. They were blindfolded and dropped off in different parts of the city with just 100 Nepali Rupees (USD $1). Their tasks were to ride in a bus or tuktuk, get to know a Nepali, drink a cup of Chiyaa (Nepali tea) and to get home by 3.30PM. There were no numbers on buses, nor were there street names, and most of the team did not speak Nepali. What a cold sweat-inducing adventure that must have been!

Ke Garne
Ke garne is translated to "what to do?" This is a mindset that Nepali have, a way of expressing resignation when electricity stops, water stops, or whenever something does not go to plan. The Nepali accept the situation and move on. 

Kumari (The Living Goddess)
Kumari are young girls believed to be an incarnation of a Hindu goddess that protects Nepal. Both Hindus and Buddhists worship her. Girls aged two to four have to undergo a selection process and go through rituals before they are considered a goddess.

Kumari's feet are considered holy and should never touch the ground, so caretakers carry her from place to place. They do not go to school or play with other children. In the past, even the king has to receive her blessings to rule the country. Kumari are believed to be all-knowing and all-seeing.

Once kumari begins menstruation, or loses blood from a cut on any part of her body, it is believed that the goddess has left her. The kumari will then undergo a ritual and she would return to her normal life and live with her family. 

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I also enjoyed the beautiful coloured photo inserts in this book. It really brought to life the stories. Here are some of the pictures!




The author follows 'Aunty' around for a day. Aunty does many chores at home and in their farm, gathers wheat, grinds them for 4 hours, before making a dough for roti. I loved this slice of life section!
Other things the author observed:
Aunty uses plants she has picked from the ground to scrub her pots and pans.

She collects water that flows down the mountain. When a water point runs out of water, villagers use an alternative water point. Nothing is as sure as the sun - gas and electricity supplies can suddenly stop. 

She also cleans the floor of the house with cow dung, which the author finds absolutely bizarre. 

Time in Nepal also flows differently - people do not adhere to a strict timing. Church only starts when everyone is gathered at a 'magical' time, and sometimes even a plane flight may not take off at the stipulated time and instead be delayed for 5 days. A journey by car or bus can also take ages to complete, and bus accidents where the bus falls off the cliff are common. Gulp.

It truly is very different from our lives here in Singapore. I think we truly do take many things for granted. I remember the time water supply was cut in my home for an entire day because of a broken pipe. You could not wash your hands, flush the toilet, or take a shower! It was an absolutely pain! 

This book is a great reminder for us to appreciate what we have instead of complaining all the time about inconveniences. 

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Overall I had a fun time learning more about life in Nepal. It takes guts to immerse yourself fully in a new culture with nothing much more than your faith!  

Recently the books I borrowed from the library has been ultra-compelling and I can't wait to share more about them with you. Stay tuned! 

Love,
Skye

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2 comments

  1. This sounds like a really interesting book. Thanks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. Hello! Yes it is, I hope you have the chance to read it too :)

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