A Travellerspoint blog

My temporary life in rural Nepal

Cottage industry

sunny 24 °C

I’m fascinated by the amount of DIY that goes on in the village. When life is already so busy, people choose to add more work to their daily schedules, to either earn a little extra money for themselves, or to make life a bit easier or more comfortable for others.

One thing I’ve been going to write about for a while is the millet wine produced right here at my homestay. Every day – two batches each morning – more wine is made. It can be consumed immediately (no cellaring required for this vintage!). I’ve mentioned before that the by-product is a necessity, as the molasses is a key component of the sheep feed. But the family would argue that the wine itself is also a necessity.

We have a small group of regulars who are here at the start and end of each working day, drinking the wine. Sometimes they are already here when my early morning black tea is delivered, and occasionally they will still be here when I leave for school a few hours later. Some of these people are workers in Prakash’s fields, and he claims that they might not come to work if he didn’t supply the wine, or they might get it from someone else who brews it with a higher alcohol content. It’s a dilemma.

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Then there are others who don’t drink at the house, but send their young children – students at our school – with a handful of rupees and an empty bottle to be filled. It’s so sad. Prakash has told me some of their stories; tales of disappointment and loneliness, that in essence sound very familiar. I guess alcoholism is similar everywhere.

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I’ve only tasted the ‘guest quality’ millet wine, not the one the regulars are drinking, so I can only really comment on that. It’s actually more like a white spirit than a wine. It reminds me of a plain, neat vodka, but not as strong. Not really knowing what to expect, my first ever sip was a shock to the system, and that first glass did give me a small but noticeable alcohol buzz, but since then I can’t say I’ve really noticed it again. Don’t worry – no danger of me becoming one of the regulars – I’d still prefer a glass of Cointreau on ice any day.

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Posted by Andrea R 17:43 Archived in Nepal Tagged village industry nepal

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