For two years in the early 1980s, Monica Connell lived as a paying guest of Kalchu and Chola in the Nepalese village of Talphi. Gradually she was accepted as a member of the family, sharing its joys and sorrows as well as taking part in its various tasks, from mud plastering the house to rice planting in the terraced fields. The village, in the Jumla region of western Nepal, was ten days' walk from the nearest road, and its only contact with the outside world was through trading expeditions: north to Tibet for salt, and south to the Indian border for cotton and metalware. Connell vividly shares her experience of this remote way of life, and describes the dramas of village life with empathy and a sense of wonder- a boar hunt in winter, the wedding of a young neighbour and the magic of the full moon festival, when the gods descend to dance amongst the villagers.
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