This year the monsoon is a little late. Everyone keeps telling me it will start in the next week or two. In my first week the temperature was 33-35 degrees Celcius (that is 91-95F). This is the hottest it has been in Kathmandu in ten years. Where I work, and in almost all local offices, there is no air conditioning and there is rarely a ceiling fan – because, they say, it never gets this hot. People in a terai town started to do puja (prayer) to the gods for rain. I think it worked because we have had some rain every day for the past 3 days. There was a lot of sweating in the first few days, but everything is cooler now.
I have moved in with a Nepali family in New Baneshwor, Kathmandu. They are very kind and helpful. I am able to have dinner with them in the evening. We have had dhal bhat (typical Nepali meal consists of dhal, which are lentils, bhat, which is rice, and vegetables), veg momos (like chinese dumplings, but tastier) and last night we had roti with dhal and vegetables. The father works at a dairy so we get doi (yogurt/curd) sometimes. I am convinced that doi is so much better than any yogurt I have ever had before.
I go for walks at the end of the day with my two Nepali younger sisters. They are anywhere between 18-23 yrs old. Roads in Nepal are arrow and crowded with buses, cars, tempos, motorcycles, bicycles and people – all at once! Most of the time you spend dodging traffic and the other people on the street. As we walk one of the sisters tells me how most of her family lives in the area, about 5-15 minutes walk from their home. They have a name for every type of aunt and uncle you could think of, your father’s sister, your mother’s brother’s wife, you father’s older brother, your mother’s younger sister, etc. It goes on and they have a different word for it!
Working with the organization so far has been great! I sat down with Bijay and we went over all their programs for the last six months. With all this information I have helped them complete the program descriptions of their 6-month report. This will be passed onto the coordinator to review and add to.
I have seen footage of rallies and protests that COCAP has helped organize and taken part in. What is so amazing is that the footage and the editing is all done by volunteers. They put themselves on the line, using their own equipment, in order to show others what really takes place at these rallies. Police forces take participants away, beat them or chase after them into buildings for standing at the rally.
Those in Kathmandu are not the only ones being caught in the crossfire. Many in the villages are accused by the Maoists as being government supporters; and then when the government comes they are accused of being Maoist supporters. Those in the village can do nothing, but provide food and items to the Maoist, or risk being taken away, beaten or killed; and they have to abide by the government laws in order to avoid being taken away, beaten or killed.
Today we had the director of a member organization ask if we could help him locate information on coping through traumatic situations. The organization is located in the far west of Nepal and is highly effected by the Maoist insurgency. So many have been recruited (forced) into the Maoist army, some are beaten and threatened, and others just disappear.
There are so many stories that have been told regarding the situation with the insurgency. So many unwarrented arrests, so many disappeared persons and too many deaths of those caught in the middle.
Posted By Anne Finnan (Nepal)
Posted Jun 6th, 2005