(email received May 23)
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!