This morning instead of my usual routine of studying in advance of my afternoon class, Presbytera Marilyn and I walked to the local supermarket, Bhat Bhateni, and bought a small toaster oven. Here in Nepal, people do not have ovens in their homes. This presents a challenge for baking prosphora. So we found a convection oven, bought it and returned to the flat (apartment for you Americans :-) )
Another challenge in baking is that we do not have electricity throughout the day. In fact, most of the day we have no electricity at all. So one has to consult the “load shedding” schedule. But the posted schedule is often incorrect.
So an hour before the electricity was scheduled to come on, we went up to the kitchen and began our preparations. The electricity came on as scheduled and all seemed well. However, it was a challenge to get things right with the amount of flour, water, and arriving at the right consistency.
The dough finally went into the oven and I went to the sink to wash my hands only to find that we had no water. No water in the kitchen, no water in the bathroom. This is not an unusual occurrence here in Nepal, but is always frustrating and inconvenient.
I had several questions about the process of preparing the dough and so after placing the pan in the oven, I used FaceTime to contact my son-in-law, Fr. Jesse Philo at St. John’s Church in Kennewick, WA. The timing was right. He had just finished the Presanctified Liturgy and was in the church kitchen with the family having breakfast. The grandchildren got to the computer before Fr. Jesse, so we had a few minutes of childish hilarity (was that the children or me?) and then Fr. Jesse helped me out with some advice.
Then wait for an hour to see how things would turn out. But just before the hour was up, the electricity went out. The schedule indicated we would have electricity until 3 am, but it went off at 11 pm. Not unusual, but as I say, a little frustrating.
Nevertheless, the prosphora looks fine. I won’t know until I actually use it this Sunday. I’m grateful to God that we have found a way to bake prosphora here in Kathmandu. It’s a bit of a challenge, but at least it’s possible and that means we can have liturgy again. Glory to God! – Fr.S.