Jessica Tirado

Jessica Tirado (Jagaran Media Center – JMC): Jessica earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Political Science at the State University of New York at New Paltz. After university, Jessica volunteered in Rwanda with survivors of the 1994 genocide. After returning from Rwanda, she volunteered with the Darfur People’s Association of New York, assisting refugee families. Jessica then worked in northern Thailand with a Thai NGO that worked on human rights in Burma, and was part of the disaster relief response to Cyclone Nargis in May 2008. At the time of her AP fellowship, Jessica was studying for a Masters degree at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs. In the summer of 2007, she participated in NYU’s overseas study program at the United Nations Offices in Geneva. She also served as the Coordinator for Rock to Save Darfur’s major fundraising concert in 2008. After her fellowship, Jessica wrote: “I now view discrimination as a much more urgent problem than I'd previously perceived it to be. I've also gained an enhanced awareness of the importance of marginalized communities in leading their own NGOs and movements, rather than relying on others to advocate on their behalf. This experience has been very humbling.”

A Mosaic of Stimuli

16 Jul

It is not humanly possible to describe Kathmandu succinctly if one strives for accuracy. It is a city bursting with frenetic energy, vibrant colors, rich cultural history, devoted spirituality, and people of striking beauty. It is also a place of abject poverty, political tumult, and great uncertainty. I created this vlog with the intention of providing a video collage of many of the sights I encounter on a daily basis; it is meant to show only bits and pieces of a complex mosaic of fascinating characteristics (i.e., it is NOT an exhaustive description by any means!).

Notice the elegance and grace with which the Nepalese carry themselves. Smile at the unusual sight of a baby monkey nonchalantly riding on its mother’s back in the middle of a crowded sidewalk. Absorb the plight of a malnourished child living on the streets. Feel the beeping horn of a maniacal taxi driver reverberate through your ears.

Tapailai Kathmandu Ma Swagat Chha (welcome to Kathmandu)!


I also made the following video of a rickshaw ride, just for fun:


Posted By Jessica Tirado

Posted Jul 16th, 2009


  • Maelina

    July 17, 2009


    These videos are amazing!!!

  • Joe

    July 17, 2009


    Hey Jess! I can totally see what you mean out there. Just watching your vide-o-saic (you like that? =]) was quite the stimulus; I can’t imagine what being there is like!

    So watching, I had a question I figured might be good to ask here: traveling around Nepal, it seems like one Nepali looks like another to an ignorant westerner. So how do the Nepali people know who the Dalit in the crowds are, or who belongs to what caste in general there?

  • Rob

    July 20, 2009


    keep being amazing and doing what u do. u r a light in the darkness

  • Christine

    July 24, 2009


    Amazing! We are so blessed to live in America. I am so impressed with you. Godspeed.

  • Jessica Tirado

    August 12, 2009


    Christine, Rob, and Maelina: Thank you so much for your words! I really appreciate the encouragement, as I’m still such a novice at video editing.
    Joe: Thank you for your words as well, and I’m really glad that you asked this question on here. It was one of the first things I wondered about once I got to Nepal. Basically, it’s not a matter of ethnicity, tribe, personal features that can be observed in someone’s appearance, etc. There are essentially three ways to identify what caste someone was born into: 1) looking at their national ID card, which has the designation on it, 2) the person’s last name (in Nepal, it is customary to give both one’s first AND last name during introductions, so caste identification can be done immediately), or 3) observing what they are doing. Regarding the last criterion, if you see anyone on the street sweeping up garbage, removing dead animals from the road, cleaning toilets — i.e., all of the “dirty” jobs — the person is almost certainly a Dalit. Dalits are generally only allowed to perform the most disgusting jobs that already have a “polluting” effect on the workers, which contributes to the cycle of untouchability. Pretty extreme, right?

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