"A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half-deserved."
Jane Austen. Pride & Prejudice (p. 21).
This week, I read Pride and Prejudice and learned a lot of different views of what a woman should be able to do in order to be considered "accomplished." But in real life, I saw a lot of different woman at work, and I'm pretty sure I didn't see a single one of them sing, dance, draw, or speak French. Their manner of walking was quite adequate I'm sure, but I doubt that Miss Caroline Bingly was imagining the women driving like they do in Kathmandu when she imagined an accomplished woman.
My point is, there are some pretty incredible women here in Nepal, and I'm SO GLAD we don't live in a society anymore where women are expected to sit around and either look pretty or make pretty things. Some people may THINK that that's what women are for, and that they can therefore take advantage of us, but after witnessing some pretty hard core girl power this week I think it's pretty safe to say that a few notions of what a woman can and cannot do were changed.
On Monday the four DeBortoli house residents along with all the girls from the YWAM team went to a ministry called "Beauty for Ashes," which gives women who have escaped trafficking a legitimate job of making jewelry. On the way there, though, we needed to stop for gas. In this regard (and this regard ONLY), Nepal is very much like Oregon and you just drive up, tell the workers what you want, and they pump your gas.
Convenient right? You would think so. But when a Jeep roles up with nine very blonde and very American looking woman, things get a little more complicated. Instead of putting in the diesel gas like they were supposed to, the gas station workers tried to take advantage of Tammy and put in normal Petrol. Little did they know that we had a secret weapon: nine year old Joy! She knew that we needed diesel and she almost immediately picked up that they were putting in the wrong gas. So after some pretty crazy siphoning and lot of "I can't believe they would try to do that!"'s, we were finally on our way to BFA.
Women: 1, Scary outside world: 0.
At BFA, we were able to learn some of the stories of the women who were working there, and pray for them. It was such a great ministry, we literally had nothing to offer them except our prayers, and they took them so readily! There's a lot of different kinds of smiles here in the world, but I've begun to notice a specific smile that comes when an unbeliever gets prayed for and encounters the Holy Spirit for the first time. There's sometimes a little hint of tears, often times a look of surprise, but there's ALWAYS a pure deep joy and a whole lot of teeth :).
That afternoon, us ladyfolk were once again challenged by the scary outside world as some welders who had come to fix the gate blew all of the electricity in the house. Not exactly ideal, especially when electricity is needed to cook dinner! But Tammy figured out a way to have some electricity and we were able to not only have dinner but watch Emma too :). Just because we're hard core now doesn't mean we can't get back to our roots once in a while!
Women: 2, Scary outside world: 0.
Anyway, the next day Kirsten and I indulged ourselves with some amazing Christmas shopping at this place called Thamel. Bargaining is the name of the game there, and once again us two blonde Americans were seen as easy prey to make a couple bucks off of. But we knew what we were doing, and we got some AMAZING deals on pretty cool stuff! I won't spoil what I got because like I said, I was Christmas shopping, but the lucky few of you that will receive the gifts will be very pleased I'm sure come Christmas day :).
Women: 3, Scary outside world: 0.
On Wednesday, I was really sick and took advantage of having no schedule and slept most of the day. But that night we were invited to a time of worship and praise for foreigners and women only, to encourage all the women here in Kathmandu who have give up their whole lives in order to serve full time here. It was incredible! There were four women who had come from Tennessee to encourage a specific missionary couple from their church, but they blessed about 20 other women with their worship and kind words. That was great for me, because clearly I didn't need any hard core encouraging since I'll be leaving in 9 days, but I could really pray and try to be a part of the uplifting.
The worship was awesome, it was such a blessing to be in that room with so many incredible women praising God. Also, having worship with only women was AMAZING because every single song was sung in my key (haha).
Women 4: Scary outside world: 0.
The next day, Kirsten and I got to meet some connections we made at church to help out at their ministry which educates women who are at risk for being trafficked. We specifically got to be a part of a class that teaches English to older women, and it was great to see how eager they were to learn. There were only two on that first day, so they had a 2:1 ratio of teacher to student! Pretty cool.
We went on Friday too, but that time there was only one student, making the ratio 4:1. Hilarious. She was so smart though, it was so great to learn a little more of her story and why she wanted to learn English so badly. She owns her own little tea shop, and since she's a little older she's very eager to learn English as quick as she can so she can speak it for the rest of her life.
Unfortunately I can't remember what the ministry is called at the moment, but all I can say is that it's awesome. It's incredible that they focus just on women and educating them, because they know that if women are educated, they're much less likely to fall prey to trafficking.
Women: 5, Scary outside world: 0.
Now our girl's week is over, and we'll spend our last week living at the children's home again. But the kids will be in school during the day, so Kirsten and I have decided to spend as much time as we can at the women's center, furthering the relationships we made there and just being a part of the awesome process of educating women.
Like I said before, I encountered a lot of really awesome women this week. The men may not have been present, but the ministry did not stop. And that is a beautiful thing. The world may be scary sometimes, but who cares. The same Holy Spirit lives in me that lives in men, so what do I have to be afraid of? Answer: absolutely nothing :).