Today is the first day of the rice harvest, with the first field I have seen being harvested right outside my back door. As one would expect, everything is done by hand. The rice is cut and tied into small bundles that are threshed one at a time on a rock surrounded by plastic to catch the grain. All the men take turns threshing, while everyone else hangs around and chats.

A patchwork of small farms cling to the hillsides in Lamatar on the edge of the Kathmandu valley. Life can be pretty dusty, hectic and noisy in Kathmandu, but three busses and a half hour walk takes one into the heart of this farm country where life is slow, quiet, and green.

In Lubhu, a town to the south of Kathmandu, there are two main industries: weaving and making yeast cakes for chang. Chang is a local rice beer that you can make at home from little starter pellets. You can also distill it into "Rakshi." The pellets are made from cooked rice paste and a wld yeast that grows on a particular mountain grass. To make chang, you buy the pellets, mix it with your own rice and water, and let it sit in a cool place for a few weeks.

This morning in church we had pretty incredible readings. First, we hear in 1 Timothy 2:1-8 to that we should pray for kings, but not that they should be converted to Christianity, but they make a peaceful society. Then, in the Gospel of Luke (Lk 7:1-10) we heard about Cornelius, the Roman Centurion. While still a pagan, he asks Jesus to heal.

I live with a Tibetan family in an apartment in Siddha Nagar, a neighborhood over small a ridge north of Boudhanath. This is the view from our roof.

Around town there are a few open taps, "springs" where people come and get water and do laundry all day. It certainly is a talent to keep your long skirt dry while doing laundy in a pool of water. I suspect that if I were to get to know these women better, they would impress me in more substantial ways.

Today the city shifted gears into festival mode for the annual Teej festival at the Pashupati Temple, a Hindhu temple to an avatar of Vishnu named Pashupati, or "Lord of the Creatures." On this day, women fast all day and wear red clothing as they pray for their husbands' prosperity and faithfulness, and that they will remain loving companions.

There are many, many different kinds of people here in Boudha. So many stories to learn.

Many photographs of people must be taken in an instant, as life flies by and one tries to capture a fleeting moment. This was not one of those photographs. This woman sat motionless, lost in thought, for a long, long time. She seemed not to notice me, or the goats who were grazing nearby, or the traffic passing.

She is wearing typical Hindhu clothing, but she lacks the makeup of a married woman (a line in her hair, a dot on her forehead). Has her husband died? Has she never been married?

I arrived in Nepal and out to my destination for the next year, Boudhanath. The center of the town is a giant Buddhist stupa, a large shrine housing a relic of a bodhisattva. How large? Look at the enlarged photo and you will see some people. They are about half way up the stupa.