The plane departs shortly, and I really have no idea what my work in Nepal will be like. Friends and family ask what exactly I’ll be doing over there? I can only say that I don’t entirely know apart from the job description, and brief conversations I’ve had with Prakash, program manager at the JMC. Talking and working with local journalists and people on the ground about Dalit caste human rights, traveling around Nepal, writing, taking pictures and videos – sounds about right.
Am I nervous or scared? No. I’m ready to jump into this assignment headfirst and immerse myself in the work – whatever it may be. I have no real fears or trepidations. Yes, reporting on human rights abuses will have its interesting and unexpected moments, but none that are worrying. Nepal is a safe and inviting country, and whatever challenges I may face will be overcome, strengthening my resolve and character.
I’ve read a few of Nepalese author Samrat Upadhyay’s novels in preparation – a somewhat cultural and mental introduction to Nepalese society. His stories are laced with allusions to Hindu gods and Buddhist shrines, and always sure to emphasize the importance of family and caste on the Nepalese way of life. His characters interact with Kathmandu’s streets, business, and politics – dodging in and out of teahouses, bars, and temples. For Upadhyay’s Nepal, like any society really, history is alive and inescapable, haunting and influencing the present. The public face of the family presented to the neighbourhood is often a mask to a darker and more complicated reality… One I hope to penetrate as my time in Nepal goes on.
So time to depart the heavy rains of Toronto’s spring, and arrive as monsoon season prepares it’s lashing of Kathmandu. Suitcases are packed, preparations have been made, but my mind and body remain in Toronto. The work of past Peace Fellows at the JMC helps serve me as a mental guide, but it can only be that. I expect a sensory overload upon arrival in Kathmandu, but until that time, I’ll be going about my business day by day, saying goodbyes. Six months in Nepal. More to come…
Posted By Corey Black
Posted May 6th, 2011