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  Field Notes From
Rana Tharu: Women of Grace

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View Field Notes
From Author and Photographer

Debra Kellner

View Field Notes
From Photographer

Eric Valli

Unfiltered for authenticity, these accounts have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

among the Rana Tharus

Field Notes From Author
Debra Kellner
It took some effort on my part to convince Kurowa, who was very ill, and her cousin, Muni, to join me in a nearby town so that Kurowa could see a doctor. It was even harder to get them to stay with me at my little hotel that night. This was their first time away from their village, and it was clear that they felt outside their element. Sometime during the night I woke up to the sound of giggling. The two women were in the bathroom trying to figure out how to flush the toilet. They were turning the shower on and getting really wet. My first impulse was to help them, but then I decided to leave the moment for them. It was a great moment for me, too. Not so much because of the humor in their awkwardness, but because they trusted me enough to stay with me and open themselves up to discovering my strange world. The most difficult thing for me was leaving these women, my dear friends, behind. The worst part was saying goodbye. I was always looking for interesting stories among the women, but I kept getting tangled up in accounts of all the love triangles. They often asked me how women in my country would handle a situation. Inevitably, upon hearing my answer they looked at me with disbelief and humor. I found myself advising the women about what women in my country would do. It got to be really confusing.

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