Mark Koenig

Mark Koenig (Collective Campaign for Peace – COCAP): Mark was born in St. Louis, Missouri. After graduating from the International School of Bern in Switzerland in 2000, he spent one year at Davidson College in North Carolina and then moved on to Johns Hopkins University where he received a bachelor's degree with honors in Political Science in 2004. While studying at Johns Hopkins, Mark completed internships with genomics researcher Craig Venter, US House Representative Chris Van Hollen, and in London with Lady Sylvia Hermon, a Member of Parliament from Northern Ireland. After graduation, Mark moved to Shenzhen, China where he lived for two years teaching English at Shenzhen Senior High School. At the time of his fellowship, Mark was studying at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Boston focusing on post-conflict reconstruction, law and development. After his fellowship, Mark wrote: “I think that perhaps it is my interest in and understanding of community level dynamics and activities that has developed the most while here. The significance of community level interactions and relationships as it pertains to the events that take place on a national level is an intriguing topic that this summer has given me new insight into.”

Buddhi Bahadur Pariyar

01 Sep

When Krishna and I were discussing who we could visit to conduct interviews, Krishna immediately thought of Buddhi Bahadur Pariyar. He thought of Buddhi because he is a master tailor as well as a kind and open man. Within five minutes of meeting Buddhi I still could not judge his tailoring, but I could definitely attest to his quick smile and warm personality.

Buddhi was the most successful Pariyar tailor I met during my time in Nepal. He has his own shop…he does not own the shop he rents. He also does not sell material or make clothes until they are specifically ordered. Buddhi makes clothes to order from the material brought to him by customers. He is a master tailor and does a brisk business, but he still makes far less than the man who sells the cloth to his customers. Buddhi, like most Dalit tailors, simply cannot raise the capital to start a more profitable business.

Buddhi doe not work alone in his shop. His wife and eldest son are with him for most of the day. His son was going to school, when he himself decided that he preferred to work in the shop instead of studying. Buddhi simply explains this decision by saying his son simply did not take to study. Buddhi’s younger children will finish High School, at least that is his plan. Buddhi himself only completed three years of school before he left to become a tailor full time at his father’s shop. While he encourages his children to study he ultimately will not stop them if they choose otherwise. This was how his eldest son’s situation played out.

Buddhi Bahadur Pariyar no longer worries about feeding his family or finding business, and for that he is grateful. But the frustrations of watching other men making more money from his labor than him take their toll. But Buddhi’s warm smile and shining eyes seem to suggest that the frustrations of his current situation are problems he is more than willing to accept.

Posted By Mark Koenig

Posted Sep 1st, 2007

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