Monthly Archives: September 2015

New constitution and Need for Chiya!

Sunday was a historic day for Nepal! The new constitution – over 7 years in the making – was finally signed after having been passed by a majority vote in the constitutional assembly. For us here in Tansen, the day was interesting in several ways.

To start off – the local Magar party had called a strike to call attention to the fact that they believe that the government hasn’t done enough to fulfill all their demands. The Magar people (one of the hundreds of ethnic/tribal groups in Nepal) think that this area should be their own “kingdom” and that other groups should go to other places! Several of the people groups in Nepal would like to see the country separated and organized in this way.

Anyway – the government had already called for a holiday to celebrate the constitution, so the hospital was closed to out-patients and only the ER and the in patients were open. Since vehicles weren’t running here, it meant that many people couldn’t get to the hospital anyway.

However – later in the day, we were walking from the hospital to our home, and stopped at our local “dairy” where we buy milk. We were chatting with the store owner, and he said that their milk had been delivered by jeep that day as usual – apparently the milk jeeps and the ambulances were allowed to travel on the roads even on this strike day! We made a comment about everyone needing their chiya (Nepali sweet, milk tea) and the owner’s wife said, “That’s right – if they don’t get their chiya, they don’t have the strength to continue with the strikes and the fighting!” We all laughed together – many times the choices here are to laugh or to despair – so we were happy to find others choosing to find the humor in sometimes difficult situations!

Getting our liter of milk!

Getting our liter of milk!

Many shop keepers on the road were decorating in front of their stores – making designs of the Nepali flag, and the outline of the country – and all these were lit by candles in the evening so the darkness was lit by hundreds of lights to celebrate this new beginning for Nepal.

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Apparently, the constitution will be published in book form so that people will be able to read it for themselves, but for now, we know a few things. First – Nepal is declaring itself to be a secular nation – and is not returning to being a Hindu Kingdom. The churches and believers with whom we have chatted are very pleased and no one has mentioned a problematic clause prohibiting conversion. We pray that this is so!

Nepal is now divided into 7 regions (instead of the 5 previous ones). The 75 districts remain the same, but the districts are now in different states or regions. Those will be named by the individual regions. Apparently, if people now need to do official govt business, they won’t have to always go to KTM – they will be able to do it at the center or main city in their region.

On Monday, the strike continued in Tansen – and in an ironic twist, there was a gathering to celebrate the International Day of Peace…..  Once again we shared a quiet laugh and continued to pray for peace in this country and around the world.

Today, Tuesday, shops are open again, and vehicles running.  Some people are celebrating this new constitution, while others remain unhappy and continue to threaten with strikes and demonstrations. We wait to see what will happen as this new constitution becomes more known and changes begin to occur.

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A little bit of this….a little bit of that….

It’s Sunday morning – the start of the work week here in Nepal. Yesterday was the “day of rest” for Nepal, and it is also the day we gather to worship together. Les gave the sermon in Nepali church in the morning, and as usual, he did a great job. Some of our friends who attend other churches will often come to our church if they know that Les is preaching. No pressure there! 

Les preaching at Nepali church

Les preaching at Nepali church

We enjoyed a 2 week visit from a couple of our nieces – daughters of Les’s 2 youngest sisters. In Nepal, there are words to denote almost any relationship – and these girls were our “bhanji”. Les is their maamaa and I am their maiju. There would be different words for nieces who are daughters of Debbie’s siblings!

Joanna and Shelly spent a couple of weeks here in Tansen with us, and also we took them to Pokhara for a few days there. We enjoyed having them and getting to know two delightful young women with whom we haven’t been able to spend much time in the past.

Joanna and Shelly modeling new clothes made here in Tansen.

Joanna and Shelly modeling new clothes made here in Tansen.

While we were walking into the bazaar together one day, I felt something rub across the back of one leg. I thought in my mind, “I should be looking out for snakes” and just at that moment, Shelly yelled, “SNAKE!” Sure enough, as I turned, I saw the tail of a snake disappearing into the grass along the side of the road. It had literally gone between my legs as I was walking. Yikes! Then Joanna said “It was green and pretty!” Green is not a good color for snakes here – those are more likely the poisonous ones. We are thankful for that little miracle of safety as we were walking…. Especially as the hospital has been running short of anti snake venom, which happens about this time every year.

The monsoon here continues to be very poor. We were actually told that if we don’t get some rains in the next few days, the rice crop here will fail. We did get about 1/10th of an inch last night, and another 1/10th on Friday, but that doesn’t make up for the need and the poor rains this year. Thanks for your continued prayers.

The other morning, Les got a phone call that the hospital was out of water! Because several of the key water pumps belonging to the city water have been broken, we haven’t been getting water from there, and without rain, the back-up tanks have been depleted. We have been getting tanker trucks of water – several a day – to keep the hospital going.

A tanker of water like those used to help replenish water at the hospital - this one pulled by a tractor.

A tanker of water like those used to help replenish water at the hospital – this one pulled by a tractor.

This is a great need now, as the other morning there were 182 patients in our 167 bed hospital! Beds in the halls, and extras in the wards – so very many sick people. We are thankful for our doctors and staff, and for your prayers which keep us going. (And for hand sanitizer!)

The government of Nepal and the constitutional assembly continue to be in turmoil. Parts of Nepal have been “closed” or on strike for over a month now. People are hurting in so many ways – food is rotting because it cannot be transported, shops are closed, schools are closed – it is very hard to understand. Nepal needs many changes, but these strikes and demonstrations are not helping anyone that we can see.

As we come into the season of festivals, we often fall asleep to the sound of music and people singing and dancing. Perhaps this year it is even more pronounced as a way for people to forget the worries and cares around them for a short time. Many traditions are deeply ingrained in the lives of the people here.

Ladies dancing during the women's festival called Teej.

Ladies dancing during the women’s festival called Teej.

Another local festival.

Another local festival.

Thanks for reading – and for praying as God brings us to your mind.

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