5 years after my conversation with Sheila Fleet I found myself in the beautiful country of Nepal, working for a Christian mission that serves poor people and communities through health and community development. It wasn’t long until I found myself in a ‘Kukuri’ shop, admiring the traditional knives of Nepal; worn by Gurkha soldiers as part of their uniform and a vital every-day tool for millions of Nepalis living in the village.
Of course I bought one. And there in the corner of the shop were a pile of miniature kukuris. Instantly I knew that this was to be my Nepali sgian dubh, to complement my Ugandan one. That evening I proudly reviewed my new knives. As I turned them over in my hands, they were everything that my long-lost plastic sgian dubh wasn’t. Real. Crafted from honest materials by skilled artisans. Beautiful and functional.
A thought flashed through my mind. Surely the guys who made these could make me a real sgian dubh. The seed that was sown by Sheila Fleet in Orkney 5 years previously germinated into life.