25 years ago this month, we started living and working in Tansen. It’s hard to believe it’s been that many years since we first arrived – very young and green and eager to do work for God here in Nepal. Rachel was 3, and Luke was 1½. We moved into a Nepali style mud brick home where we lived for the rest of the 12 years we were here as a family.
In 2002, we left Tansen and returned to the U.S. to put our children through higher education. It was hard to leave Tansen, but we were thankful for the years we had here as a family, and were able to visit in 2004. Les also worked here for a month in 2008.
In 2012, Les and I returned here – and again moved into a Nepali style mud brick house – but this one was further up the hill, with a better view and bigger rooms.
Just 2 months ago, we moved a bit further up the hill – onto the hospital compound. We are in the house up at the top – and we are really enjoying our new location – and we are neighbors to our long time friends and co-workers, Ganesh and Laxmi and their girls.
I was thinking today as we walked back from church about life in Tansen – how some things have changed in 25 years, but others have stayed much the same!
When we arrived here, Nepal had recently ended a long border closure with India – so we learned that everything needed “back up” – we had both gas and electric cookers and ovens, and always kept extra stores of food and water as some things were often unavailable. Now, 25 years later, the border is once again blocked between Nepal and India, and the problems getting gas, diesel, cooking gas, etc, are once again as they were back then. The difference now is that there are many more people who are cooking on gas, and many more vehicles dependent on gas and diesel. Once again Nepal is at risk for deforestation as people resort to cooking on firewood, and the pollution levels across the country (and especially in Kathmandu Valley) are once again on the rise.
Tansen Hospital has grown from 121 beds to 169 over that past 25 years – there have been at least 5 major buildings added during those years, along with water tanks and other smaller projects. We are much more involved in training doctors and other staff these days than previously, and are thankful for more senior Nepali doctors who are working faithfully here in Tansen.
The paths around Tansen are wider than they used to be – most have been made into “roads” (use the term loosely) rather than just walking paths – and one is less likely to step in poop – either from animals or humans. That’s a good thing! But the number of houses has grown so very much that we mourn the loss of the fields and trees and open spaces that used to exist between the hospital and the bazaar area of Tansen. There are many more jeeps and vehicles on the roads – motorcycles are everywhere now! Even with the fuel shortage, people seem to be able to find something to use to run their vehicles. (Most of it purchased now on the black market.)
The view from our current house is still mostly the same – when the Himalayas are showing their majestic faces, we can enjoy them from both our sitting room and our bedroom!
We still struggle with water troubles here (as in lack of water) – and that has become even worse with the additional building around the town.
The churches have grown – from one small church in the late 1980’s to seven churches now in Tansen. And two of them usually each have over 100 people attending services each week. We are thankful for the Christian witness which has continued to grow and expand over the years here.
Well – a bit a reminiscing as we start the new year of 2016! We are thankful for your prayers – and ask that you continue to remember the people of Nepal. Still recovering from the two earthquakes in April and May, and now suffering the effects of the blockade with India, Nepal does need prayers!
May God Bless you and keep you as you walk through the coming days.