Dorothy Khan (Nepal)

Dorothy Khan received her MS in Global Affairs from New York University, graduating with a concentration in Human Rights and International Law. She conducted field research on both registered and unregistered Rohingya women in the refugee camps of Bangladesh. During the summer of 2015, she traveled to Iraq to implement a self-designed project, aimed at empowering youth in the Duhok region of Iraq to become local community peace builders. In addition, she previously worked with urban refugees in South Africa, aiding them in navigating through difficult legal issues as they formally applied for refugee status. Her experience over the years in refugee rights, women's empowerment and human rights has imbued her with substantial experience working with disadvantaged populations throughout the world. Dorothy is also a recipient of a MA degree in Public Policy and and BA degree in Political Science from Stony Brook University. After her fellowship, Dorothy wrote: "Working with students in rural Nepal really changed me as a person and my outlook in life. Not only was this fellowship the most challenging experience I have ever had but it was rewarding and powerful, and I would do it again."



Three Things You Need in Nepal

10 Jun

resized5As I sit here in my uncomfortably hot room in 100F temperatures without any electricity or generator to turn on the fan, I have come to the realization that in order to survive in Nepal, you need three simple things- patience, patience and patience!

First of all, nothing in Nepal seems to start on time. My bus to the field was supposed to leave around 5:00pm from a bus station near “baba petrol pump” and I was advised to be there by 4:30. While I was there at 4:30 patiently waiting in the extreme heat and pollution, the bus did not show up until 5:45pm. Not only did the bus not arrive on time, it left without me and my translator. The right thing to do would be to stop and pick up your passenger, right? In Nepal the bus just keeps moving and they expect the passenger to chase after it with their luggage, eventually climbing on a running bus. Yup, that is what I did. After getting on the bus, the conductor was getting mad at us for not seeing the bus and getting in it on time. The nerve of that man!

Secondly, be ready and willing to walk in the heat, eat in the heat and sleep in the heat. Load shedding is a major problem in rural Nepal. Electricity rarely stays on for more than 2-3 hours before going out for the whole day or night for that matter. So, be prepared to just sweat all day and embrace feeling wet all the time.

resized8Thirdly, walking will be your best mode of travel when you come to rural Nepal. Walking, climbing, hiking, sometimes for three hours is a normal time if you want to get somewhere. Public transportation is a luxury here if you can find it. Your umbrella will soon become your best friend and you will get attached to it very, very quickly.

Lastly, be prepared to squat on the side of the road to relieve yourself when traveling long distances. During my travel from Kathmandu to Surkhet, I was woken by the bus conductor at 3:00am for a bathroom break. I disembarked from the bus in my sleepy haze, looked around and asked my translator, “where is the soap and sink to wash your hands, and for that matter…where is the toilet?!” Her witty response was “who needs a toilet when you have the open field to do you personal business?”

Really Usha, really? Men and women are just doing their business right next to the bus in pitch black darkness! I was just standing there assessing the situation when a man approached me and my translator and pointed to a spot where we can squat. This is normal, isn’t it?  This was certainly an interesting experience which I clearly could have gone without.

Cheers to everyone who is reading my blog while sitting in the A.C!

Posted By Dorothy Khan (Nepal)

Posted Jun 10th, 2016