A few cultural tips for Nepal:
· Dress appropriately. It is not acceptable for women to wear shorts, short skirts, or revealing tops; legs, shoulders, and chest should be discreetly covered. No low neck lines. Long skirts, trousers and punjabi outfits are a good idea for women. Jeans for men are not usually acceptable in the hospitals but are perfectly all right for casual wear for both male and female. Shorts for men are not really a good choice unless in a holiday area and men should not go round bare chested even on the hottest day.
· Shoes are generally removed when entering into a home and if invited into a Nepali home pleases avoid visiting the cooking area unless specifically invited to do so. Keep the shoe soles facing the ground when you leave them at the door and do not place them on top of others.
· Nepali church generally has separate areas for men and women and shoes should be removed at the door. You may be expected to introduce yourself as a new-comer (or you can ask a colleague to do it for you) to the congregation. Never step over the legs of someone already seated, walk behind where possible.
· Try to offer things like money, or hand round plates, equipment etc. with the right hand, the left is considered "unclean". However be sensible about this.
· If eating Nepali style with your hand only use the right for it. Water is usually provided to wash your hands before and after eating. If in doubt, ask!
· Be flexible, as things often don't go the way you expect them to! Try not to become anxious if plans change.
· Drink only boiled and/or filtered water. Keep away from iced drinks or salads. Even clean your teeth with treated water- regard all tap water as suspect!
· Touching between men and women in Nepal is taboo – even if you’re married. It is best to leave this for private times behind closed doors. It is actually OK for people of the same sex to touch and you can often see men walking hand-in-hand.
· As you are probably already aware the Mission Hospital has a strong Christian ethos and endeavours to demonstrate Christian values within the culture of Nepal. In light of this we would like to ask you not to smoke or drink during your time in Tansen.
· Ask, ask, ask. Remember we've all been through the same bewildering maze and love to help.
· Be ready to enjoy Nepal – it is a wonderful country with wonderful people.