We've had an absolutely ridiculous and amazing experience here in Bardia, we cycled from Pokhara the 600km to Bardia and as we arrived back at B's place – 'Bardia Hideaway Cottage' he had a minibus arrive with 5 guests, 1 Nepali, 1 Russian and 3 Americans. We were very pleased for him because they took a room each and with the place being nearly full we offered to stay in one of the half finished rooms.
We chatted to them a little that night, but to be honest we spent most of our time with B and Kali and their family, so didn't come up with a firm opinion of what the guests were like, apart from that they were a bit evasive about why they were here...'running some conferences', 'organising some meetings'. We assumed they were probably from an NGO and thought nothing of them.
The next morning we were awoken by the most amazing sounds coming from the room nearest ours. Because we were in the unfinished room, it hadn't had the glass put in the windows yet and just had mosquito netting, so the sound was enough to wake us up......
We could hear the sound of chanting, but not just any old chanting, they were 'speaking in tongues'!!
We woke up and lay there amazed as they waffled on ' kdinga parabaraaaaa ambatrakiboo nidiboopee...etc'
This wasn't just a short thing, the whole thing went on for about an 45 minutes, with various crescendo's and sometimes a bit of wailing or singing interspersing the constant nonsense that was coming out of their mouths....'odoriniko spedibooki inorinoo....' (I quote!)
Every now and then there would be a voice that said something in English such as:
'We take dominion over Satan'
'Help us fight the powers of evil, destroy your enemies, Oh Lord!!!'
'Give us strength Oh Lord, to believe, to have no doubts, to have the confidence to preach'
'Protect Pastor Bill and give us the power to succeed today'
We just lay in bed giggling, yet slightly scared...and then got out the sound recorder to see how well it could record them – the sound was good. We left our room before they had finished and went to see B and Kali and all the Nepalese builders who had arrived by now to finish some of the roofs. They all thought that the men were speaking a foreign language and it was almost impossible to convince them that it was just nonsense...'speaking in tongues' They couldn't stop laughing when me and Isa did our own little bit just to show them how easy it was (in fact we continued to do this every now and then for the next week or so)
Eventually the nutters came out of the room, completely unaware that we could hear them so easily. Then they had their breakfast and went off in their white van to their 'conference'. We were glad to see them go and spent ages trying to tell B and Kali what they were....crazy christian nutters!
That night they came back late and sat right outside our room unaware that we had gone to bed at 7.30 and proceeded to talk about their day. Two of them immediately rushed off to have showers because 'I'm burning inside from all the witchcraft that I've seen today in the villages'. We lay there absolutely fascinated (and even more scared) listening to them for the next couple of hours.
They were bragging to each other about how they weren't allowed to be in Nepal but that they had come in as tourists, they talked about other countries that they were visiting on their 6 week trip: Bhutan, Cambodia, Vietnam. They bragged about the fact that to get round restrictions in Bhutan they had bought up a local travel agent so that they could go freely into the country. They kept saying to the Nepalese guy that 'You Nepalese need to sort out your government!'
They were patronising to B's staff as they brought them their food, knowing that they didn't understand English very well, they'd say things like 'Did you go and get this water from the river... boy?' and laugh a lot as he walked off. The atmosphere was one of bigotry and superiority....horrible!!!! They kept calling each other 'Brethren' so we assumed that they were Plymouth Brethren.
They insisted on having two hot showers a day each, seemingly unaware that B and Kali were waking up at 4am to start boiling the water that they were demanding. They bitched about the food on the first night and went on and on about how much better food was in the US. We were relieved when they finally went to bed because their conversation reflected the obviously ridiculously sheltered world that they came from.
The following morning we were woken up by the same nonsense (which we recorded) and off they went again in their white van. That night we had to listen to them bitching about the Russian and then slagging off the Nepalese guy when he wasn't there. Horrible messed up people meddling with other people's lives in countries that have their own proud traditions and religions.
There's a bit of a history of Christian missionaries meddling in other countries and creating huge problems, for example the First Indian War of Independence (called the Indian Mutiny by the British) was largely created by the fear that the British were going to convert all the Hindu sepoys to Christianity; Bush's 10 years of nonsense was largely down to the support of the Christian right, and their meddling stopped all US government funding to hospitals or doctors that promoted condoms as a form of contraception rather than the Christian method of abstinence. Millions of extra Aids deaths later Obama almost immediately revoked the decision; the same nutty Christians are behind the whole anti-evolution nonsense of 'Intelligent Design' and they're preying on the dalits (lower castes) of the sub continent who think that they're being offered something that will help them escape the prejudices of the Hindu caste system.
The morning that they were leaving they forced Kali, B and Bina into a room with them (they were too polite to refuse) and proceeded to do the same weird service that woke us up every day. B said later that the three of them just stood there giggling and that every time they giggled the head guy slapped them gently around their head and told them to listen. B had thought that we were already in the room and that it was some sort of Christian service he was being invited too. He's always interested in new things but wasn't really prepared for this. We sat outside, getting angrier and angrier with them as the chanting seemed to go on for ever. After an hour B, Kali and Mina emerged, gave us a little smile and whispered 'We'll tell you about it when they've gone'.
10 minutes later the guys got in their van, tipped handsomely and gave us their card. They weren't bad people, just absolutely crazy and with too much money and time. I guess that they collect money in the US to fund these 'Church Planting' trips and they even described what they do as their job and said it was great because it gave them a chance to travel. They seemed to have no idea of the impact that they have, although from the list of places that they visit it seems fairly obvious that they're after the poorest people who have suffered the most. They don't actually do any helping, just converting!!! They call it Church Planting!!
We've emailed the Bhutanese government their details and we'd like to find a way to stop them going to Nepal and all the other countries that they visit. These nutter evangelists have been everywhere that we've travelled on this trip...Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and all over China. They should stay at home and leave everyone else alone!