Nepali scarves on a lentil scale: 23 kg

by Laura

Well, I’m leaving Nepal after two months this fall and I had a great idea.  In Lakeside you can find these beautiful scarves made in Nepal–I have about 20 of them in different colors because I get a few every year–and I thought we could sell these to raise funds for our IMT project.  So I decided to bring back as many scarves as I could take in my luggage.

However, on my way home from Nepal I am going to Zambia to visit a friend in the Peace Corps, and this means instead that instead of the normal 48 kg weight limit, I’m only allowed to carry 23 kg on Zambezi Air.  So a few days ago, on a dark and stormy night, I arrived at a scarf shop owned by one Krishna with my mostly empty duffel and the goal of filling it up with exactly 23 kg worth of scarves.

This turned out to be more complicated than expected.  Govinda (my long time collaborator, and our village-level IMT program coordinator) sat in Krishna’s shop with me taking out heaps of scarves and choosing the best colors while I ran back and forth to the shop next door to weigh them on a scale that’s meant to be used for measuring small plastic bags of sugar and lentils.  This other shop owner was fairly patient until I schlepped my entire 22.9 kg duffel back over there and upended it on his poor little scale that is intended for 2 kg of beans.

Govinda (on R) and Krishna at the scarf store, with Netter's Anatomy book that won't make it out

The scarf-packing took us over an hour and involved a great deal of reckoning with my belongings.  Netters Anatomy book, in or out?  It comes in at 2kg on the lentil scale–that’s, like, 30 scarves worth of anatomy book…out.  (Netter’s is still in Nepal now, waiting for our grand return when it will play a starring role.)  Two t-shirts–just .25 kg, but will they really be essential in the U.S.?  The stakes are high!  Out.  Popcorn that was a parting gift from the neighbor?  Easy solution!  Eat popcorn.  Refuel.  Sort colors.

After an hour of running back and forth between the scarf store and the lentil store, and eating popcorn with Krishna and a family that has come to sit on stools and watch the fiasco, I have my bag at exactly 23 kg with  all nonessential items discarded.  These scarves are headed for a great overseas adventure on a noble mission–to raise funds for us to come to Nepal and share IMT!  When everyone gets here of course I’ll be sure to bring them to Krishna’s shop (he was pretty good natured considering I made him fold and unfold scarves for an hour and a half).  We should probably make sure to stop next door and get 1 or 2 kg of lentils too.

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