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02 February 2011

Nepal #11: Working in Rajendra-dai's Store

** Disclaimer: At least half the Nepali words below are spelled incorrectly! If you speak Nepali and happen to be reading this, feel free to send me a message with the correct spellings! ** 

Namaste! Tapaii lai kecha hincha?
Hello! What can I get for you?

Sahuni/Sahuzi, malaii iota unda dinus.
Shopkeeper (female/male), give me one egg.

Iota matre?
Only one?

Malaii ioda unda dinus.
Give me one egg.

Iota unda linus.
Take one egg.

Iota undako koti porcha?
How much does one egg cost?

Iota undako ath rupeea porche.
One egg costs 8 rupees ($0.11).

Tick che.

Paisa dinus.
Give money.

Das rupeea linus.
Take 10 rupees.

Ek chin porkhanus ... peerta paisa linus.
Wait one minute... take your change.

Thank you.

Peri aunus!
Come again!


Karla and I spent one evening with our host sisters practicing this dialogue. The grand plan was for Karla to spontaneously pretend to want to buy something from me, the storekeeper, when our host father arrived home from working at his store. He would immediately be impressed and offer us the opportunity to work in his store. That was the plan.

The result was a lot of giggling while trying to remember our terribly pronounced conversation and Rajendra-dai (Rajendra is his name, dai means father) laughing and looking confused. However, we managed to convince him that we were competent enough to help out, so the next morning we trudged up the hill to the one main road that runs through town. Rajendra-dai's store is located right by the bus stop. Here he is giving a woman her change:

This photo captures almost the extent of the store. Customers approach the window and ask for the items they'd like to buy (usually only a few items at a time). It was interesting to see the types of things purchased. In the hour or so that we were working, we sold 2 toothbrushes, dried soybeans (weighed out on a big metal scale with weights!), a pouch of ramen-like noodles, an egg, spices, candy, and 3 individual cigarettes. They don't have any fresh produce or meat since everyone grows/raises those themselves.

After receiving the customer's money, Rajendra-dai goes to his cash register to get their change:

When I had to get customers' change, I had a really hard time finding it! All the bills seem to be a different shade of red, all mixed together, and Nepali numbers don't look like Roman numbers:

In the end, I think they all just thought I was terrible at adding and subtracting...

Here's a video of Karla restocking the light bulbs:

The store has a few regulars who just sit on the bench outside and watch other people buy things. Across the road from the store is a table where men sit and play cards (I'm pretty sure some gambling was involved). Next door is another store owned by the local women's group where they sell pretty much the same items. We asked how they both stayed in business and found out that Rajendra-dai's store is a bit more expensive, but open for longer hours (7am - 6pm) and more days every week.

This was definitely one of my favorite days of the entire trip because we had the opportunity to interact with many people from the village who we otherwise wouldn't have met. For example, we asked a passing girl if we could try carrying her rice basket. Here's a video of me attempting that!

Peri aunus!


Rabindra Parajuli said...

Great Nena! So much happy with your Nepali language:)

Ramro sanga padnuhos. said...

One correction: Dai is older brother!