Cargo Cafe: Sweet Things Happening at Nepal Communitere

28 February 2019 - Rachana Khatri

“Whatever I do, I need to do something to express myself and my creativity” – Anouk Tamrakar

Cargo Cafe, which has now replaced Cargo Bar, is open at Nepal Communitere and is run by the brilliant Anouk Tamrakar, founder of Timro Concept Store and Sweet Things. You’ll find delicious paninis, tostadas, and sandwiches, yummy pies and cookies, and a variety of other light snacks and healthy food at the Cargo Cafe 5 days a week! Drop by for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or just enjoy a light snack at the cafe under the sun with a couple friends, or just enjoy the atmosphere while you work outdoors. The cafe is a living embodiment of the dynamic woman who runs it.

On any given day at the Cargo Cafe, you’ll see Anouk hurry from one place to another, rearrange furniture and decorations, take several important calls from various people she’s working with, make sure things are moving along smoothly in the kitchen, make sure the plants are growing well, and ensure that her son has been up to some mischief. She’s energetic, she’s inspirational, and is committed to creating her best.

“I have done a lot of things, and I am a lot of things. That is what I am”, she said. Anouk was born and raised in a small town in the Netherlands that was green and quiet. She graduated as a florist, and then as a social worker, and then was going to go to an art school in the Netherlands when she decided to move to Nepal. You can see her love for nature and the environment, her compassion, and her creativity emerge in the creation of the Cafe.

“When I was 18 I was in India working with the survivors of child prostitution, and that work led to me to Nepal as well. I visited a lot of safe houses, and spent time with these survivors. Nepal, as a country, left something in my heart after that visit. It was really difficult for me to adjust back at home, and I wanted to come back. I’m not sure what it was actually.” She did come back 5 years later for 5 weeks, which became a much longer duration; Her son is 2 already.

She is also the founder of Timro Concept Store: a small store for Nepali made products and goods. “I think Nepal inspired me, which is why I had to come back. There were a lot of creative people, and I saw artists and designers and wonderful people making making these beautiful products and creations. I started questioning why I wasn’t going to the art school. But then I realized that art doesn’t have to be that specific, you can be in the art field in many ways. And I think that is what Timro was. I don’t create many things for myself, but I create a platform for other people who inspire me, and I like connecting with people and helping them connect with others.”

Anouk spoke of the people she partners with and the importance of a team and a support network for her: “I can never do these things alone though, there’s always a big team with me. Timro, I do with my husband and our partner Dipen; Cargo Cafe I do with Niten; and we also have amazing people working with us for both Sweet Things and Timro. Creating, you cant do alone. They are not only friends but also family, I don’t want all the credit. The truth is that they actually put as much effort as I do when creating, but in different ways. While running it, they even run harder. There’s a whole group of people in on this together, making things happen.”

“I wanted Timro to be more than a shop.” When people went to Timro, Anouk would want to serve coffee, and she missed some sweets from back home so she would want to serve it with a slice of pie. She says her life is a tornado; it shows. She soon started slices of pie at Le Sherpa’s Farmer’s Market, and people kept asking her where her restaurant was whenever they tasted the goodies. “I really liked the community at Nepal Communitere, and I thought I should start promoting my pies here, but when Bahar asked me if I wanted to run the cafe, I was like why not?” It came organically to her.

She’s got an entrepreneurial spirit and believes that a lot of people in Nepal do as well, which should be encouraged. This, she believes, resonates with Nepal Communitere and it’s commitment to bold innovation.

She’s a strong believer of the idea that even with a small budget you can do a lot if you use the materials around you and not waste anything. You’ll see signs of this everywhere at the Cargo Cafe. Everything has been recycled and up-cycled. There are drinking glasses and packaging paper that has come from the waste management team from Hotel Yak n Yeti. The sofas and couches have cushions that have been covered by up-cycled potato sacks made of jute. There are biodegradable straws, and used tires for chairs.

“It will never be finished”, Anouk says. “It’ll be up-cycled and recycled. Something new be will added, and something else will be created here. This cafe will be alive”

Keep an eye out of Cargo Cafe’s Facebook page to keep yourself updated on the menu and their events!

Ps. We hear they’re going to include smoked meats, fish, and cheese soon. Definitely not to be missed!