Jes Therkelsen (Jagaran Media Center – JMC): Jes was born and raised in New Jersey. He has lived in Arizona, Maryland, Massachusetts, Germany and Greece – where he taught through the Hellenic-American Education Fellowship. Jes graduated from Amherst College in May 2002 with a degree in Geology. After returning to the states to work as a state geologist, he produced a photo documentary which caught the attention of Rider University. He was awarded a grant to author another film, “The Best Part of Everything.” After Jes completed the film he moved to Washington, DC to pursue an MFA in documentary filmmaking at American University's School of Communication. After his fellowship, Jes wrote: “There are many other things I’ve gained from this amazing experience. I’ve definitely become more of a global citizen as this was my first time living in Asia. I have forged lasting friendships and have made professional contacts that will help me in the future."

has taken a shape here

10 Aug

I leave Kathmandu in one week, but nostalgia has already set in. For three months, I walked from my room in Thapathali, across the Dhobi Khola, through Buddhanagar to the blue gate of the Jagaran Media Center. I’ve grown familiar with this commute: I know where last night’s rains will puddle, I recognize the calls of the vegetable sellers, I know by sight the dogs that hang around the butcher shop. I am no longer just a visitor; an abbreviated life has taken a shape here.

This existence will end soon and I’ll return to a life already in progress in the United States. I’ll have pictures and movies to show friends and family. They’ll ask questions and I might develop a few anecdotal travel stories. Perhaps in time I’ll even pine over the restaurants I frequented on Naya Baneshwor, even though I once found a cockroach leg in my after-dinner sugar cubes. I wonder: will I miss the sound of dogs waking me at night, of children playing, of traffic horns? Will I miss the smells of masala and tumeric, of shit and urine, of black tea and motorcycle exhaust?

Those Nepalis with enough English vocabulary ask me what I like most about Nepal. I’ve answered with vague foreigner responses like the food, or the mountains, or the people. They usually smile and our exchange ends there. I don’t explain that I have come to know the real struggles of individuals who I had not known a few months ago. Nepalis who have become friends of mine have invited me into their lives, if only for a brief moment, without the fear of getting hurt. For us, we have a friendship with a set beginning and end, formalized with plane reservations, foreign investments and university semesters. The opportunity to know, to connect with someone if only briefly who would have otherwise passed through this life unknown to me on the opposite side of the world, will remain with me forever.

Posted By Therkelsen

Posted Aug 10th, 2008

1 Comment

  • Ed Burgess

    March 3, 2009


    I’m interested in your work in Nepal. I visited the “clean hands” site and read each profile, but I was not able to call up the photos of the individuals listed. I have a long standing interest in Nepal – lived there 7 years, married there, etc. I would like to get to see the photos taken by the “dalit” individuals you helped to train.

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