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."

in either case, i’m conflicted

08 Jul

I’m looking out over Phewa Tal. A boy, maybe 14, asks if I’d like a boat ride. I would love one, I think, but I can’t stay by the water. At this hour the lake is peaceful and inviting, but I’m meeting Prem Nepali in a few minutes at Serenity Hotel. Prem is a freelance reporter who is tied with JMC’s network of Dalit journalists. He is the first of 16 Dalit journalists I will be visiting. We were to meet him at 7 this morning, but he’s having difficulty finding petrol for the two motorcycles we’re taking to a Dalit settlement 14 kilometers outside of Pokhara.

Our travels yesterday from Kathmandu went smoother than I was led to expect. Fifty years ago, before the construction of the Prithvi Highway, the journey would have taken us 10 days by pony. Although it’s 120 kilometers, the highway twists and turns back on itself across the Himalayan foothills, so the five hours it took us was considerably fast.

I turn and walk up to Pokhara’s lakeside main street. Most establishments in this section of town cater to foreign tourists. There’s a German bakery, an Italian ice cream parlor and even a wireless Asian cafe. The rooftop restaurants play Jack Johnson and Santana and everyone greets you with a hellohowareyou followed by a plea to buy their goods or eat at their restaurant. It’s tiring. Whether consciously or not, Prakash and Prem suggested we stay here. Perhaps they thought we would like being in this part of town, or perhaps they thought this was the nicest area to show us. In either case, I’m conflicted: during the day we are to visit settlements where 20 families share one water pump, and at night we go back to our room with hot water and color TV.

I arrive at Serenity Hotel and find Prem waiting.

Posted By Therkelsen

Posted Jul 8th, 2008


  • Elizabeth Gilhuly

    July 11, 2008


    I feel it repetetive to say: “I like your descriptions..” So, I wont say that. I’ll say, I like following you.

    I studied journalism but, while I’m paying off the student loan dept through another, more lucrative avenue, I’ve been dormant in pursuing this avenue. So, I observe the adventures of others such as yourself and another young woman I knew here in DC who was transferred to India’s branch of Free the Slaves (

    I don’t want to say I’m envious, rather I’m inspired. Thank you.

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