This post is going to be a bit out of chronological order because tomato achar is awesome. It’s like Nepali salsa and it goes with EVERYTHING. Today Laxmi showed me how to make it: char a tomato over a fire (could also roast it in the oven), then mash up a paste of garlic, ginger, a whole chili, and a spoonful of salt on your big slab of rock using the accompanying mortar stone. Then you mush the tomato into the paste, work it all together for about a minute, then use your hand to gather it all up in the middle and quickly swipe it into a bowl. See? Easy! We had the achar with roti for a light dinner. The roti, however, are kind of time-consuming and tedious to make if you don’t do it often. After you leave it on the pan for a bit to dry out the dough, you have to take something like a kitchen towel and press it down over certain areas, turning constantly until the whole thing puffs up. If the roti doesn’t puff up, it’ll be crunchy which is still delicious but not as good a vessel for funneling tomato achar into your mouth…
I woke up at 6am today, later than the normal waking hour for most of Bhaunne, to claim the laundry buckets before anyone else started using them. When you only have one pair of clean underwear left and no clean bras because you’ve been wearing the same four bras all week, these are the kinds of things you have to do. I started soaking my clothes and decided to shower after because between the wash and the humidity, I was already sweaty. It turns out that showering in the morning left me feeling fresh all day! For breakfast, we had chiya and these awful pineapple cream biscuits that Laxmi keeps buying for us. Ashley doesn’t like them much so she’s been stockpiling them in our room just in case she gets really hungry one day, and Emma opens the sandwich up and eats the half without the bright yellow, toxic pineapple filling because she hates them so much. We had a really nice treat for lunch, Laxmi made us egg curry! We rarely have eggs so it was exciting to have something familiar but different.
After lunch, Birat and Laxmi went to Itahari; I was going to go with them but I wanted to get my laundry hung up to dry before it got too late in the afternoon. I’m glad I didn’t go because a kid from one of the local schools came in with an abscess in his knee from a cut that didn’t heal well. His knee was the size of a tennis ball and so painful that he winced and flinched every time Alaka touched it. Alaka decided to drain the abscess and force all the fluid out of the knee area, so she had to take the tip of a syringe to open it up then force out the goo. It was seriously gross so take caution when looking at the photos if you’re squeamish! When he left, we went through the cabinets and reorganized everything, discarding the expired medications and non-sterile equipment.
Next a patient came it with some nasty scrapes from a motorbike accident, followed by a grandpa and grandpa who had just rushed their new grandson from the hospital with an IV still in his arm. The baby was supposed to receive antibiotics twice daily but the family couldn’t keep him at the hospital so they brought him home. The problem with antibiotics is that they are really hard on veins, and the problem with putting an IV in a baby is that babies move a lot and the cannula can be dislodged easily. Emma and Ellen both tried to place a new cannula but it didn’t work, so they planned to visit the baby’s house when Birat got back so he could try.
We had a snack of mangoes, I hung my laundry up, and enjoyed the cold juice I had stashed in the fridge because we had consistent power and I figured I might as well take advantage of it! Birat and Laxmi came back bearing gifts of rasmalai and potato chips from a nice bakery in Itahari. Rasmalai is little balls of cream cheese that is textured kind of like dough, soaked in a sweet milk mixture with pistachios. It was really unusual at first, but by the end everyone was scraping the bottom of the little clay pots it came in. Because of our big lunch and early evening snack, we decided on the light dinner or roti and tomato achar.