While The Gods Were Sleeping: A Journey Through Love and Rebellion in Nepal By Elizabeth Enslin

Other cultures fascinate me, especially their family traditions, structures, and day to day life. I have often wondered what it would be like to be transplanted into the society of another country totally unlike mine. I was able to experience this through Ms. Enslin’s very interesting biography. Even more of a bonus to me, it was through the eyes of a woman.
Elizabeth loved anthropology and her burning desire was to live in Africa and do research among the women there. When she fell in love with Pramod Parajuli at Stanford University, she never dreamed she would find herself in Nepal living with his family. It is one thing to go and study people in a foreign country, but it is quite another to become an intimate part of them as a family member. I learned so much about the Hindu faith and culture. She was a brave and adaptable woman, both emotionally and physically.
While his family lovingly accepted her, their strict Hindu practices kept her at arm’s length in some areas of their lives. She is not pure enough to help with meals or even remove a pot from the stove that is boiling over. If she did the meal would have to be thrown out and remade. Yet in other areas she must follow the guidelines as a daughter-in-law and family member consistent with their society.
Upon arriving she knew little of the language. She also had to deal with very crude living conditions, no indoor plumbing, appliances, heating or air-conditioning, monsoons. Add to this experience being pregnant!
She and Pramod decided to move into the loft in the barn over the livestock for more privacy. Their only access was a narrow ladder. Their room had the added company of scorpions, spiders, not to mention the aroma of the buffalo below. It was here she went into labor. Complications necessitated she be taken by a hospital several miles away. In unsanitary conditions with limited medical help she gave birth to a small baby boy.
After that she was thrown into raising a child in this Brahman civilization. This gave yet another personal viewpoint, I have rarely seen written about. She adjusted beautifully. I personally would have been terrified in every way. I cannot begin to explain the many facets of life in Nepal that Ms. Enslin’s book thoroughly reveals.
I learned not only about the family and the Hindu faith, but also about political conditions past and present, the life of the women, responsibilities, hardships, their viewpoints on life, recreation, and more. You really do want to read this book!
I received this book free from FBS Associates, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


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