John Meed

John Meed is a singer-songwriter based in Cambridge described by R2 Rock’n’Reel as: ‘a consummate storyteller’ whose songs are ‘thoughtful and thought provoking.’

‘John Meed inhabits his subject matter, digging deep into the emotional content to find a surprising angle in a way that has seen him compared, rightly, to Leonard Cohen, Al Stewart and Jaques Brel.’ Shindig

‘A breath of fresh, mellow, unsophisticated and unpretentious folk air.’ Rock Society

‘Pavilion Parade said it all really – who said political songwriting was dead?’ Eric Bogle

John’s latest album, Never enough, is now available. You can order a copy here. ‘Really thought-provoking and interesting songs’ (Genevieve Tudor, BBC Radio Shropshire).‘There is some beautiful writing on Never enough (Greg Russell, BBC Radio Sheffield). ‘A lovely, lovely album.’ (Sue Marchant, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire). Never enough is possibly John Meed’s finest work, finding him totally in control of his palette of words and ideas’ (Les Ray, Unicorn). ‘The rewards are worth the reaping’ (Mike Davies, FATEA). ‘A great album to check out, with some highly original song writing – highly engaging and equally thought-provoking’.’ (Allan Wilkinson, Northern Sky)

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Community homestay in Panauti, Nepal

One of the things we most wanted to do during our travels in India and Nepal was to meet and spend time with local people. So when we came across the Community Homestay initiative in Panauti – a small rural town a two-hour bus ride east of Kathmandu – this sounded like an ideal opportunity to stay with a family. We took the local bus which in itself was an experience – I quickly lost count of how many people could squeeze into the small bus, and as we made our way out of the pollution of the city the conductor leant out of the open door to shout out the destinations.

Our Community Homestay hosts were Biju and her two daughters Aayusha and Nirusha. Upon our arrival they made us most welcome with masala tea and a delicious lunch of dal bhat, the staple Nepali meal.

In the late afternoon Aayusha showed us some of the village monuments – Panauti is a historic town with some beautiful temples. She then took us up a nearby hill to look at the Buddhist temple and enjoy the views over the town and the valley where the fields were green with the potato crop.

In the evening Biju showed us how to make potato curry and chapatis, and we looked through photo albums of the daughters’ weddings and of all the guests who had stayed with them.

On our second morning we walked along the path running north through the nearby hills towards Dhulikel. We climbed up to the Shree Sharada Devi Temple, the highest point of the path, where a local man put flower petals in our hair and took us to a viewpoint from where we could see Dhulikel, Banepa, Panauti and Namobuddha.

In the late afternoon Nirusha took us to a local café where they had found a guitar, and asked me to sing a few songs. When we returned home, Nirusha dressed Isabelle in a Nepali sari. We ended the day with a fabulous Newari dinner with 9 different dishes and a glass of home-made rice wine.

Our stay in Panauti with Biju and her daughters, not to mention Grandma and adorable 14-month old Neepun, was very special. There is a world of difference between their home and ours in Cambridge – Biju’s home is very basic with no glass in the windows, a very wet bathroom with cold water, and steep ladder-like stairs. But the welcome they gave us was beyond compare – human warmth and kindness know no boundaries and we were made to feel very much at home. It was a privilege to meet them and our stay was most memorable.

On our last day in Nepal we met Bikal, one of the Community Homestay organisers – he had very kindly brought some glasses we had left in Panauti and asked us for feedback on our stay there. We asked for more detail about how the financial side works – the central office takes 15% of a booking and 20% of the rest goes to the local community. The host receives the rest – around two thirds of the booking fee. Given that our stay there was rather more expensive than the other places we stayed, it was good to know that the hosts would receive a reasonable proportion of this.

Bikal also explained that he had considered going to the US as apparently many educated Nepalis do, but decided he could be more helpful by staying in the country. He spoke inspirationally about Community Homestay, about how it has given a purpose to his life, how it aims to empower the women who act as hosts, and how it can support local communities in more remote areas of Nepal by bringing income from tourists.

1 thought on “Community homestay in Panauti, Nepal

  1. Thank you John for your kind words. All the community Homestay Network and Panauti Homestay Team would like to thank you for your stay and valuable feedback ,we hope to see you again in coming days.

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