Saturday, August 5, 2017

Making Dinner in Nepal

People wonder about food in Nepal. If you have a sensitive digestion the last thing you’ll want to do is go where you cannot eat the food. Nepal can be such a place, and is such a place for me. Nepali eat just about the same food every night, curry, lentil soup and white rice. I am just unable to deal with such foods, which is fine because I have my own cook. Bimala is my Nepali granddaughter and is in college. She has been living in Changunarayan for several years with her mother in the remote village with her grandmother, so she’s been a bit more than a big sister for quite some time. 

Typically, we sit together watching youtube videos and talking about how we can manage it with ingredients available here in Nepal. We recently came up with another winner for Star View Guest House’s menu for our volunteers and guests. We just have a six guest room guest house, so there is no reason to keep a full menu ready for people to walk past. Star View Guest House is literally at the end of the road. A great place to be-after you get here.

We recently came across this amazing looking recipe that we had just about all the ingredients for. Being in Nepal, we find a need to substitute quite a few things for Western recipes. 

This one from Shetty's Kitchen looked good so Bimala made it for our guest, Bre and me. It's called Cabbage Manchurian
This is actually an Indian recipe because no matter how I try to search on youtube for American food it always takes me to Asia.

Served on a bed of white rice, it was the best cabbage dish I’ve ever had. I’m not big on cabbage, but I could have had it for leftover lunch if we hadn’t eaten it all. This is a vegetarian recipe and probably vegan. I'm not a big fan of vegan because if it weren't for milk and cheese people wouldn't raise cows in Nepal.

If you come to Star View Guest House and feel like you’d like to have something from back home just let us know. If you’d like to help Bimala to make it for everyone you can eat free.

I hope this recipe will  be one you ask for when you come to Nepal. Changunarayan is really starting to look lovely as the homes get rebuilt after the earthquakes. 
This is the recently rebuilt Changu Guest House and Restaurant. It's at the front steps of the temple. It's just lovely!
As you can see by this picture, the homes are being built to be safe for earthquakes

Chimichungaon rice up on the rooftop terrace.

Enchalada cassarole with homemade tortillas!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Coming to Nepal? How 'bout a Free Stay in Changunarayan?

Our agency is in need of a few things that we cannot get from here, either due to our finances or because we just cannot find it. We don't have much money, but we do have a lovely guest house in an amazing village. We went to Kathmandu yesterday and it was so sticky-hot we felt like we were melting. Then we got half way up the mountain after Bhaktapur and it started to rain and cool us off. It was so good to feel the cool water coming in the window. We have only 4-40 air conditioning-open 4 windows and go 40 MPH. 

Star View Guest House was fortunate to have a guest come to stay a month who is a creative crafter. She is helping us put the joint project with Siddhi Memorial Health Centre (hospital). We walked all over Kathmandu asking for such a simple thing, straight pins for our new sewing project. We couldn't believe they just do not seem to exist in Nepal. 

We use the guest house to help the agency and sometimes the agency even helps us fill the guest house. So, if you would like to put a package of straight pins (cost is only about a dollar) into your luggage for us we would be happy to give you a night's stay in our guest house. We'll give you a nice room with an attached bath if one is available and even breakfast. 

We have so many birds here it would be wonderful if we had a pair of good binoculars to share with our guests. If you could go to a second hand store and pick up a good, used pair we could give you 3 nights stay with breakfast.

If you have a used laptop we can give you 5 or more nights with breakfast, depending on the age/value. We are teaching the villagers who are unable to go to college how to make websites with affiliate marketing links. The class is coming along rather well, but we need more computers in order to expand the class and provide computers for more of the students. Many of them have to share.

Our dictionary distribution at our local government school for 100 students.

If you have a broken camera or SIM card compatible mobile phone, or laptop computer, good quality and less  than 5 years old we can give you a free stay as we agree upon. We really appreciate help with these things.  We are looking for something we can make videos with and take great close-up, nature shots, computers we can  use to expand our computer classes and getting by is difficult without a mobile phone and many poor women need one. Many electronics  can be repaired for a small amount when the corporation repair center doesn't want to look at it. This is definitely something to consider bringing, whether you want to come to our guest house or get a great deal on a repair.

If you can bring gently used, warm clothing we can give you a room for 1 night for each 10 KG. that you bring. You can distribute the clothing yourself, either with us or when you go trekking. The people in trekking country suffer horribly from the cold. So far, Kay Garnay for  Nepal, in conunction with our volunteers and guests, has collected and distributed over 200 KG of warm clothing. 

One last thing I'd like to mention; Nepal is a nation in need of books and learning materials. We do not need new school supplies, as they can usually be purchased here for less. We need used children's books and simple to understand books about solar projects, organic farming and first aid books. We can give you $1 off your room charge for each 3 books you bring.

We can write a letter from  our registered nonprofit agency so you can get some free baggage on the airlines. We are always happy to provide you with whatever you need, but please keep in mind that we will have to pay a tariff on the items and pick them up in Kathmandu. Computers and electronics are too expensive to ship by parcel. We suggest putting an extra 1-2 in your luggage.

If you would like to bring any of these things to us please email us at

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Have It Your Way

Our little agency, Kay Garnay for Nepal, literally means, "What to do for Nepal" in the Nepali language. Not that we've done so much, but it's the way we do it that really makes it enjoyable for me. With just me, my assistant and our Nepali board it's a lot more 'elbow grease' than contributions. As the cover picture shows, we took warm clothing to a local senior citizen center/nursing home in Bhaktapur. It made us all so happy whether we were giving or receiving.

If you are looking for a worthy cause to support in Nepal, the nursing home we went to is doing a wonderful job with the old folks. They have 33 patients and 29 employees. They also have a birthing center in the same location. 

This hospital was started due to the death of a young boy. This is his parents way of letting the loss have some positive meaning. For more information or to make a donation please visit the website: 

We wrote a letter with our agency letterhead to request extra space/weight for our guests, Jolanda and Hank from Netherlands. They had sent 2 huge boxes through the post office and one normal size box, plus they took extra bags with them on the flight to Nepal.  There were so many jackets and shoes we were able to distribute them to the local nursing home and two settlements of displaced Nepali and Indian families.

Warm clothing from Jolanda and Hank, Netherlands
Our next stop was a tent city at the river. This is where the poorest people live. This area has an international INGO that helps the people some. This is a Christian agency, which we do not support. Although Christianity is an established religion, and we don't wish them ill will, we do not support conversion of the local people. They actually have a religion that has been here for thousands of years prior to Christianity, so we see it as a matter of preference rather than need to change.

One way well intended tourists can get into trouble is by conversion. Religion has a deep and profound effect on any society, so making changes through Christian conversion programs can have a distructive influence dividing families, villages and castes. After a brief introduction at the agency's facility we distributed Jolanda and Hanks gifts ourselves.

This day we all got to play 'Santa Claus' to some of society's forgotten. We've done this so many times and it never gets old. There were only tents on one side of the river and make-shift dwellings on the other. The people on the tent side of the river discouraged us from giving to the 'rich' people on the other side. It was smelly and really filthy there at this camp, but passing out these jackets was a pleasure and joy.

When we have guests who bring clothing or books we always do our best to do as they wish with the items. We've taken books to our rec. center in Bhaktapur that our volunteers made and passed money onto those in need as our donors ask. You do not need to stay with us at the Star View Guest House; we are happy to help anyone to help Nepal.

We've gotten packages from New Zealand, UK, Spain, Polland and other countries of books, school supplies and gently used, warm clothing. We are always happy to pay the Nepali charges and other costs associated with picking up the packages. The man at the post office is starting to recognise us and he's been very kind as to assessing the tarrif. But because the taxi costs $30-35 and around $10 per box, we ask that our donors keep that in mind in deciding whether or not to send things.

School supplies from Polland
 Our amature radio friends from Polland recently sent us a couple boxes of school supplies, really lovely and mostly things that have a higher quality than what we can find here. Another from this group, Kaz, left us an amature radio compete with antenae.

One lovely volunteer, Anna, left us some lumbar supports for the villagers who have to do difficult labor in construction and farming. Here are a few of them getting the supports. If you wonder what to bring to a family you will be doing a home-stay with in a remote village, I suggest bringing a lumbar support if you know the size of the woman ($5 each), a knee support ($2 each) or a bag of lentils($2-3 per kg.). But be sure to check to make sure which would be most appropriate for the host family. If you get a scarf be sure to bring one for the mother-in-law, as well as the hostess ($5-10 each).

Another project we have that was inspired by volunteers is our library/play room. We've made play dough, tutored the children and given them a safe place to learn, play and study.

We got some new chess and Ludo sets and they really play well.
We play 'raison math' with the kids so they can truly understand addition and subtraction. This game has the built in reward of getting to eat the raisons in the subtraction round. 

If you are coming to Nepal and want to do something to enrich your time while you are here we'd love to have you come and do what's in your heart to help some really lovely people. 

Our latest need/offer: We are in need of gently used laptops and notebook computers. If you could bring us a laptop we will be happy to provide you a room in exchange, up to $50 per laptop in room rate exchange. Contact us at

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Tattoo convention of Kathmandu

Although I've tried to get to the annual tattoo convention in Kathmandu for years now, this was the first year I actually made it. Two years ago I was on my way to the convention along with a couple of our guests and Kamal's son, Kiran when the earthquake struck. This year I was determined to get there and I'm really glad that I did.

I was surprised that the location wasn't marked well and we had to ask for directions along the way. The exhibition center was modern and well lit with several rows of stalls. The tattoo artists were from all over the world and many of the tattoo artists were covered with their artwork.

As I walked passed the stalls I spoke with several artists. This is a personal issue so it's important to feel comfortable with the artist. As it turned out, I found my way back to an artist from Spain and spoke with her briefly a second time. She just felt right and had time for me. Maria was excited to do my tattoo, as she had just had her first reiki attunement; I wanted a small reiki symbol. It felt like a synchronicity that she also had a connection to reiki.
Reiki symbols aren't displayed so I cannot show it.

Maria and her boyfriend had produced a short movie that the convention showed. The movie portrayed 21 people in masks who had clamps pierced through their skin and lifted in a carousel-type apparatus and spun in a rather gothic manor. It depicted this unique human art-form and was quite interesting. I told Maria about our upcoming festival whereby a Nepali man has a rod pierced through his tongue and then proceeds to pull a chariot with a god within.  Both she and her boyfriend, also a tattoo artist, were quite interested.

If you plan to come to Nepal in March/April be sure to check to see when this annual convention is going to be here. The tattoos are quite inexpensive and start from only 4,000 NRs. Although about twice the price as in Kathmandu in the local establishments, it is still a bargain over Western prices.

My eBook is available now at If you are planning a trip to Nepal you'll enjoy it. It will save you time as well as money, but more importantly, it will help you to have a better time in Nepal. Many people wonder if they can eat the street food like in Thailand or Vietnam. 

Here's my spoiler alert: Do not eat the street food in Nepal, nor should you eat at any buffet. The eBook addresses such things as this and what to do if you become ill, etc. Whether or not you get my book, please read this short, free eBook. It will help you get your time here off to a great start. there is a problem with the download or code please let me know at 

Promotion code for discount: GR5X4BCHX2 

Connect on social media: Twitter: @FrugalTravelsNe @NGOchangu Facebook: 

Friday, March 31, 2017

How Not to Ask for Money When Money is Desperately Needed

It’s the hardest thing to do for me, ask for money. Even when someone stays at the guest house I try to give as much value as possible. Some of these travelers have such a small budget they even skip meals-in Nepal! If you can’t afford to eat in Nepal or India you probably need a better plan for traveling. I really admire them for going after all the adventure they can get before settling down.

I budget about $200 a month for our agency and to help our village from my own funds. That covers administration expenses and it’s a real pleasure to help. We also provide a free room for volunteers, which is an annual expense of a few thousand more in ‘in-kind’ donations. We also have a dedicated room for our agency that the kids enjoy as a library/reading room and classroom. Our volunteers just pay for food if they can. Last week we had a couple who only ordered one dinner. We gave them half price so both could eat.
When we get clothing we separate the lighter clothing for the women here and send the heavy items to the mountains. 

It kept coming up, how to get enough money to do more than just run the NGO monthly costs. I want to do more. There is the hilltop at the temple with several trees having exposed roots. It’s just a matter of time before it landslides, so it has to be fixed ASAP. The sad thing is it would only cost a few hundred dollars to make it look lovely and be secure. Yes, I’m sure it will come out of one of my ‘oh so deep pockets.’
Our lovely guests leave money, warm clothing and even used laptop computers. Even people who have never been to Nepal help us with our computer issues from home. We have a friend who is encouraging our women’s group and that project is finally just about ready to launch. We are so grateful.
We have 4 women who are looking forward to working in our women's workshop. 

Our new plan: We’ve recently joined an affiliate website that is providing us with a platform to teach the local, young people while generating some funding. It’s so simple to use. Even though it is a busy website, once you get the layout it’s pretty easy to navigate. The tutorials and chat features are quite beneficial. I hope many of our former volunteers and our supporters will sign up to give this website a try. I think it will prove to be an excellent source of travel money for you and will help our agency, as well.

I know a lot of these internet marketing sites are scams, but this site doesn’t have products, so they can’t get you for more than the monthly membership and there’s no long-term contract. A person could even continue the free account until they see how it would work for them or keep it forever free. During the intro offer they can upload their own websites that they learn to make. 

Here's what you get before you ever need to pay:
·        Free Sign-up
·        Get 2 free websites with free hosting
·        Access basic online training; learn to create your own websites, get them SEO ready and create content.

·        Help and encouragement via community discussions and community support.

I offer it here for anyone to try. I think we get $1 when someone signs up for a free account. Get started free and get the help you need by clicking on our link:

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Cottage Industry in is Alive and Well in Nepal

Life in Changunarayan Village goes on much as it did in centuries gone by. Women carry water and wash their clothes and even bathe at the community tap.

When there is a problem, like India closing the road to Nepal for fuel and medicine, people in the villages often take it in stride. Life is harder, but life here in the village looks pretty much the same as on normal days. Random bird and goat sounds can be heard in the distance and people are out and about as early as 5 am.

People wonder about the artists and craftsmen who make such amazing art as the Tibetan style thangka paintings. Many of these painting take months to complete, which allows many craftsmen to stay in the villages to work from home. After more than a month the artist will hand carry his work to the Kathmandu Valley, hand delivering it to the retail outlet and collecting his pay. This is the way it is at our school, too. 

Changunarayan’s Sunapati thangka painting school has over 20 students living and studying here, but after they complete their studies they will have the option of returning to the village and earn a good living.

There is a felt workshop and a hand carved mask workshop here in the village and one can often see carpet and pashmina being woven in small workshops along the road on the way to our village.

Women knitting hats and gloves are common sights. Pre-school children play nearby as the mothers chat as they knit. The little bit they earn enriches the family and often helps to pay school fees for the older children.

Suddenly, you’ll notice the women are not knitting and the small factories may even close for a few days. The women can be found out in the field planting or harvesting. The fields come alive as families work together to get the farm work finished. The tiny plots of land are sometimes the size of a room.

Particularly after a natural disaster, people wonder how to help. Purchasing from these factories or cottage industry workers is an important way to help Nepal. If you just send money the social worker and many other people will take some of the money, which is fine because getting money flowing is a big part of healing an economy, but not much will end up going for supplies and labor for the project. Even in the West, this is a problem. I remember reading that the Red Cross only released 5 million dollars after collecting almost a billion after Haiti’s earthquake.

Whether you are looking for a special Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or another celebration, Nepali art remains one of the best values on the planet for uniqueness, quality, and price.

You can find some lovely, custom pieces at our lovely, affiliate website

Our Offer: If you have an idea of something you'd like, just give us an idea of the medium and price you want to pay. We can shop for you and get a great local price. We'll add our expense of our shopper and up to 25% for our agency. However, we cap the 25% at $75. So if something cost wholesale $300 our cost would be around $75, or $375 total. If something cost $400 you would only pay $75 commission and expenses plus shipping. 

Shipping rates can be quite expensive if your item is brass, but here is an idea of the shipping costs. 1/2 kilo will cost $35 max. plus about $5 for each 1/2 kg of additional weight for 5 day UPS/DHL or about half that if you want slower time. In this case, we would use the Nepal government parcel service. It would be insured, but slower and about half the price of UPS.

We will send you several pictures of items we find and if you approve we'll go back and get the one you like, wrap it and ship it. But you will always have a chance to see what we've found for you before we ship it, or before you even have to pay. It's all 100% guaranteed to be what you want or just send it back and we'll eat the shipping cost. We have Paypal and a merchant account, so if we have anything but 100% satisfaction Paypal or our merchant bank will make sure we do have your needs in mind. We've been doing thangka and mask shipping with our partner website for 4 years and have never had a complaint. All the banking is through me, so we always take care of our customers' needs in a timely fashion.


Here’s our offer/gift for our readers. Our NGO/nonprofit agency, Kay Garnay for Nepal, has an excellent shopper who can shop for you. She can shop for singing bowls, quality brass work, pashmina and other textiles, etc. The best part of having her shop for you is that we cap the price at $75 maximum over wholesale (plus shipping).  Most of the prices online reflect a price that’s much higher. This will give you over 50% discount over market value while creating a job and exporting Nepali handicrafts. Just drop us a line at

My eBook is available now at (Promotion code for discount: GR5X4BCHX2  If you are planning a trip to Nepal you'll enjoy it. It will save you time as well as money, but more importantly, it will help you to have a better time in Nepal. Many people wonder things like if they can eat the street food like in Thailand or Vietnam. 

Here's my spoiler alert: Do not eat the street food in Nepal, nor should you eat at any buffet. The eBook addresses such things as this and what to do if you become ill, etc. Whether or not you get my book, please read this short, free eBook. It will help you get your time here off to a great start. If there is a problem with the download or code please let me know at 


If you'd like to connect on social media with me here's   how: 

Twitter: @FrugalTravelsNe or @NGOChangu