Monthly Archives: May 2012

Strikes and Explosions

(email received May 23)

KABOOM!

The loud explosion came just after I had returned from the kitchen to the living room where a fellow team member had come to try to talk with me about a personal issue.  I ran back into the kitchen to find ginger-beer dripping from the ceiling, running down the walls and all over the floor and everything else in the room!  The plastic 2 liter bottle in which we had placed the juice had split down the side, the cap was in tiny bits all across the room, and a piece of the plastic molding on the fridge (where the bottle had been sitting) was broken off.

No – despite the political unrest in Nepal these days, this “bomb” was not motivated by the unstable government – it was created in our kitchen by mixing yeast, sugar, and ginger powder, letting it ferment and feeding it, then bottling it to drink as a very tasty version of ginger ale!  However, this bottle obviously fermented (carbonated) a bit too much!  As I went ahead to talk with our visitor, poor Les washed the ceilings, walls and floors, and I did more scrubbing this morning to try to get the sticky juice off of – everything!!

Nepal’s constitutional assembly – elected into office over 3 years ago – is supposed to have a new constitution written to present by this Sunday, May 27.  For the past month, every tribe, caste, or special interest group in Nepal has been calling a “strike” day (or days) to protest for its demands.  A strike here means that stores are closed, hotels are closed, and nothing moves on the roads (except people walking or sometimes rickshaws).  This effectively shuts down the entire country.  If people try to “break” the strike, cars are burned, people are beaten, stores are looted or destroyed, etc.  Here is part of the “security update” we got from KTM:

General life has been affected across the country due to a number of strikes imposed by the Joint Struggle Committee associated with Indigenous Nationalities (3rd day), Broader Madhesi Front (5th day) and Joint Tharu Struggle Committee today (9th day). Transportation is almost completely halted across the country. Two rounds of dialogue between the talk teams of the government and joint struggle committee were held yesterday but ended inconclusively. A next round of meetings is scheduled for 1300 hrs today.

Here in Tansen, today was the first day since Saturday that anything was open.  Les had to go to the store at 5:15 in the morning the other day to try to buy some milk before the shop keeper shut the door again.  People here trying to get back to KTM for international flights often had to try to travel by night to get to the nearest city with an airport to fly from there.  It’s a very frustrating time – and people are angry and have nothing in which to put their hope.  It’s become every man for himself – with no thoughts for the country as a whole or how other people might be suffering from the shut downs.

The hospital has started to run very low on some medications and other essential equipment, so we sent our mission buck (bus/truck) to try to get to KTM today.  They knew part of the road was closed, so they headed out to go the long way around to KTM (through Pokhara).  They hope to return during the day tomorrow – unless another strike closes things down.  They might have to return by night if that happens.

 The constitutional assembly has voted themselves (again!) a 3 month extension – but the supreme court has ruled against that.  No one really knows what will happen – please pray for those in control in this country – that they would act as responsible leaders with the good of the country first in their goals.  Please pray for the various factions calling the strikes and demanding their way – that the “irreconcilable differences” could be compromised and worked out.  Pray for the average citizen to be able to go to work without fear and to be able to go to the shop to purchase what they need to eat!

Here’s to the end of strikes and explosions!

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Step Aerobics – Look out!

(email received May 1, 2012)

Each morning we are awakened by sounds so familiar and yet once again new and different!  The birds start singing about 5am, our landlady comes out and starts doing up dishes between 5 and 5:30 (right below our bedroom window), the goat (who must be filling in for the rooster) bleats and other neighbors call to each other, clear their throats – loudly – and get ready for the day.

Les has been getting out early to exercise since we got here.  I finally decided I needed to do something, as well, so I have joined him on our quest to stay in shape!  J

Behind our hospital is a mountain called Shrinagar.  There are a set of steps going right up the edge of the ridge leading to the top.  I attach some photos here of the steps – they are so steep in some places, that it looks as if you are going to fall off the mountain in several spots as you come down.  There are approx. 510 steps – of varying height and construction!  Some are nice, smooth cement steps.  Others have crumbled to the underlying rock, or just down to dirt.  All are covered with dried pine needles from the trees on the mountain.

I go up and down those steps once – that’s really good for me!  (It is a 5 – 8 minute walk up hill to get to the bottom of the steps).  Les has been going up and down 3 times a day!  (This is called the Tansen challenge.  He has his time down to 15 minutes, 27 seconds!  I have been so concerned about how fast he has been coming down those steps, I have talked him into going up once and then running around on a path behind the mountain for the rest of his exercise.)  A special treat awaits us at the top of our climb – a view of the Himalayan mountains!  Unfortunately, many days they are hidden by clouds or haze, but we know they are there!  And the valley views are always spectacular.

As we are out trying to be healthy, we pass others who are exercising, as well!  We also pass ladies carrying loads of grass and leaves to feed their animals, people carrying milk to sell to the dairy, hotel keepers washing their dishes, and people sweeping the path (separating the loose dirt from the packed earth).  A daily reminder of how easy our lives still are in comparison to so many around us!

Thanks to so many who are praying for us and for those of you who have sent emails or replied to our blog.  We appreciate you all so much!  Blessings!

 

The steps looking up from the bottom

The steps the rest of the way up (after the little jog part way up)

The worn down portion of the steps… actually about half are like this.

My favorite section… nice steps… not too big… My happy place!

Looking down from the top–you see how the steps seem sot disappear over the edge…. 🙂 Nice view, though

Not crystal clear, but you can see those mountains are there!

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