Sometime back, I read an article of a foreign educated young Nepali women who went to rural Nepal working for a program in an INGO. She reportedly felt like not being treated as their own, by the people in the field. This is a prime example of the "Michael" effect. Compare a women, who would put lipstick in her cheeks to get that red look during her marriage to a sophisticated women who would not step out without a SPF leveled sunscreening cream.The difference is such that a mere closeness of 2-3 day is not enough to create homely interactions.Throughout the article she made genuine effort to indicate her willingness to serve Nepal, and her act of returning to Nepal in itself stands as a proof. However,she could have faced the situation better.
|would you call this a skirt?|
(especially those bigger ones) and murmur some foreign songs coupled with fancy sun glasses; that would make him look a perfect "Michael".
Here are some points which if taken care of could save you from being a Michael.
a. Dress Up: Don't dress what's fashionable in Kathmandu or Paris. It shall look nothing but alien to the rural people. Dressing unorthodox shall attract unwanted precaution and shyness while interacting. Simple shirts and soft jeans shall serve well.
|the man on the left has the perfect dress up|
c. Lifestyle: Try to adapt to the way the people are living. Try to have the same food, in the same manner. Don't try to be picky and particular. Maintain basic cleanliness but don't give an impression that the whole surrounding is allergic.Try to know more about people and try to accommodate yourself to their day-to-day life.
d. Attitude: Don't have an attitude like you are the learned and command high respect. Have an attitude of a learner and a trier. If you didn't like those folk songs played over and over again in the public buses of Kathmandu, it doesn't mean every folk songs are going to be boring. Listening to a live event in itself is a new and better experience. Try to learn or observe new things like milking, shearing of wool etc. Try to give equal space and maintain two way learning process with your rural counterparts.
I hope these tips would help you come out of the "Michael" shell and enjoy your trips to far flung remote part of Nepal.