|Publication Date||April 1, 1995|
An enchanting portrait of an inimitable Himalayan woman in her seventies whose life and wisdom illustrate the strength and resilience of the human spirit. In 1973 Broughton Coburn lived and taught school in a subsistence farming village on the edge of Nepal's Himalayan mountains. It was there that he met and developed a unique friendship with a septuagenarian native widow named Vishnu Maya Gurung, fondly known to her relatives and locals as Aama (mother). When Coburn moved into the hay loft above her water buffalo shed, Aama became his landlady, but she also treated him like the son she never had. Having lost his own mother shortly before he met Aama, Coburn took an instant liking to the sprightly Nepalese woman. Already a success in two previous small press editions, Nepali Aama is Coburn's enchanting account of his experiences living, working, and traveling with Aama, illustrated with his own photos and Aama's candid, sometimes salty, often hilarious observations on everyday life in the rural third world. By combining Aama's deep-rooted wisdom with his striking black-and-white photographs, Coburn places the reader in a setting that few have ever experienced. He also offers rare insight into a culture alive with humor, folklore, and religion.
"Aama and her people were poor and uneducated, but they seemed to possess an uncanny strength grounded in tradition, family, community, and self-sufficiency," he writes. "The values and philosophy that I have learned from Aama, her relatives, and the villagers are life lessons that are valuable in my own country, or wherever I go."