Monday, 12 November 2012

Do they ever long for home?

We live quite close to Catterick Garrison where there is a large contingent of Ghurka soldiers originally from Nepal.  Over the years many of them have brought their families over,so it is quite usual to see elderly Nepalese men walking along the pavement, their wives following at a respectful distance; or to see them in the supermarket shopping in the aisles of World food, or getting a selection of vegetables; or to see them sitting in the Doctor's surgery, as my friend G does from time to time.

They seem to have fitted in very well.   I must say that the Garrison is very well kept.   It is neat and tidy and there a lots of lovely trees, so that this time of the year the Autumn colours are spectacular.

Today is a typical November day.   It is not particularly cold but it is damp and foggy and any leaves which remain on the trees hang wet and look ready to fall.   On the ground the fallen leaves have formed a damp, soggy mess.

We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, The Yorkshire Dales, where the hills are spectacular, the rivers wind through the valley bottoms, and people come to holiday here from all over the world.   So in many ways the Nepalese are very lucky.

But I do wonder just how much they miss home.   How much do they miss those snow covered mountains, those sparkling snowfalls, that sharp, icy cold accompanied by bright sunshine, the familiar sights and smells of their local markets, the colours, the familiar faces?

When I said this to my son he said that what was this compared with the fact that they had warmth, central heating, hot baths, unlimited water and food - and varied food at that - and most of all, health care, so that in the event of them getting some absolutely awful health condition help and good care was close at hand. 

I am not sure in my heart of hearts that this fully compensates and I suppose the only way to find out would be to ask them - which, obviously, I am not able to do.  What do you think?    


Robin Mac said...

While I think they are probably very grateful to be living where they do, I am sure there must always be an ache in their heart for their homeland. It is such a very different country and culture

Heather said...

I think your son may be right. Life in Nepal must be so much harder than it is here, and in a way they have their own community with them. My son served in the Army and was stationed in the Brecon Beacons for some years alongside Ghurkas. They were famous for their wonderful goat curries!

Tom Stephenson said...

We have a lot of good Ghurkas around here too, and a welcome sight they are too. I - obviously - cannot speak for them, but I know their massive contribution to the welfare of OUR state has finally been recognised thanks to the likes of Joanna Lumley, and that many villages depend on an influx of lads into the British army, for the sake of the bigger family picture. A few years in this climate - maybe - is a price worth paying for a decent pension, if they survive the conflicts which they are sent to. I LOVE Ghurkas.

Elizabeth said...

One of the reasons I'm so glad Obama got reelected is that he is not all gung-ho to bomb Iran.
My heart breaks always for the young people who die too soon.

Kipling I think (from memory probably slightly wrong..will have to look up..)

When they ask me why we died
tell them because our elders lied

Gerry Snape said...

It's a hard thing to eliminate completely...just when I think that I could never live back in Ireland again...along comes a bit of a trauma and blow me if I don't have a sharp pang in my heart for it!

Cloudia said...

I dream of eastern Pennsylvania's seasons and smells and times. . . but this is my home now. Perhaps they feel the same. Yes, we already understood from your words, images and posts that you live the the best of England (hope ALL feel that way elsewhere too ;)
But this was eye opening; Perhaps I'm not the only one who imagines you in a pocket of Old England of parish halls and all-white communities. Of course, the multi-culti-ization of Great Britain has escaped no ones notice, and seems wise and great befitting the great nation. All the colors, all the cultures: the second generation is BRIT in tongue and tastes!
You have brought us into Today in the Dales. I suppose you are all in colour now, not Benny Hill B&W an longer?

I often reflect on your posts, your life. Thanks!

Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

~ > < } } ( ° >

> < 3 3 3 ( ' >

><}}(°> ~
~ ~ ~ <°)333><( ~ ~ ~

angryparsnip said...

I would think they probably do have a part in their soul that has a tug to their homeland.
When I moved back to Tucson I remember driving into town one day after I had decided to move back after 30 years away. It was at sunset it almost felt like a drove into a wave of "welcome your home now" feeling.
I was very happy living all the places I had but somehow at that moment I felt at home.
I think they will always have feeling for "home" but I can see them being very happy adapting to their new home.

cheers, parsnip

MorningAJ said...

It's a very good question.

Do you have a Gurkha restaurant anywhere up there? Lots of places do now, because of the Gurkha ex-soldiers who've settled here.

They're worth a visit.

ArtPropelled said...

There must be times when the Ghurka families miss facets of their old life but I think your son is right. The quality of their life has probably improved.

Em Parkinson said...

I imagine the families might feel more isolated and homesick than the Ghurkas themselves but who knows. I know I would find it VERY difficult if the situation were reversed.

Reader Wil said...

I don't know Pat. I know that some of them might long to go to their homeland, but on the other hand others might prefer England over Nepal. I was brought up in Indonesia, but I was so happy to leave Java and went to live in the Netherlands, though I can just as easily live in Great Britain , Australia or Scandinavia. I don't care for Asia as a place to live in. So if you meet one of those Nepalese people why not start a conversation about the weather and end asking them, if they prefer this kind of weather to the weather in Nepal.+

Mac n' Janet said...

You can't go home again. After 21 years in the Army my husband retired and we went home to California, but after 21 years it no longer felt like home. My parents had moved away, his had died and we felt like strangers in a strange land. We eventually moved back to Georgia a state we'd spent a considerable amount of time in while he was in the military. When we'd lived there before we always compared it to California and thought California was better.
We've been in Georgia 9 1/2 years now and can't imagine ever living anywhere else.
So maybe that's what happened to the Ghurlas, maybe they've visited home and realize that it's not home anymore, the England is.

Rachel said...

I thought they joined up because they couldn't wait to get away.

The Weaver of Grass said...

We all seem to be agreed that the Ghurkas are such lovely people and that on balance they would rather be here - but we are also agreed that they think of their homeland too.
Must say I don't fancy the goat curry idea, but then, I have never tried it. Thanks for visiting.

megan blogs said...

I have lived in some very nice places, but they didn't feel like home. I've lived in others that have, and i'm grateful to say i currently live in a spot that feels like home. It feeds my soul.

I know of others who don't care so much where they live, as long as they have family and friends near. Others are more like me, where either a place feels like home or it doesn't.

I did ask this question to a few Vietnamese women with whom i worked, and they both answered the same way: the country they loved no longer existed in a way that would let them live there. They escaped with their lives and were glad for a chance to find a place that welcomed them.