Nepal. Life lived out in the street. Families perched on their front step, eating meals and sharing laughs, soaking up the warmth of the sun to ease the chill of winter. Prayer flags, a gentle reminder of the spiritual dimensions to life. Women wearing the favourite color – red. Standing around delicious “Chia” or chai tea stalls and catch ups with friends. A sense of community built around shared joys and hardship, life endings and beginnings and journeys. Rugged natural beauty, narrow roads winding through snow capped mountain ranges.
Nepal. Emerging from a decade of conflict, this country has made encouraging progress in addressing it’s development challenges. Though Kathmandu is a bubble of tourist induced wealth and services, outside urban areas, the story is markedly different. Around 60% of the population still live on 1.25 per day. Access to safe water and sanitation is an enormous challenge without easy answers. Many areas are food insecure and cannot produce enough food for their family for the year. Women’s rights, capacities and empowerment is needed.*
I loved visiting this beautiful country. I was so encouraged by the time spent with many organisations that are working so wholeheartedly and with such dedication and personal sacrifice to address such challenges. At the community level there are beautiful glimmers of hope, and examples of groups working for change in their community, thinking not only of their own needs but of the needs of others. Their stories inspire and challenge me. I hope I will come back some day – Kelly.
Where possible, photos were taken with permission.
*statistics from http://www.ophi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Nepal1.pdf?cda6c1