Blogs from Hadigaon, Kathmandu, Nepal, Asia

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Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu » Hadigaon May 9th 2008

My last full day in Kathmandu was probably one of my hardest emotionally. Sushila and I started the day off by doing the final 2 interviews with sex workers. Our first one was a 20 year old woman with a 7th grade education. She is working in a massage parlor where customers pay Rs 600 per hour for the massage (of which she got Rs 150), and then Rs 300+ for sex (of which she got Rs 150). She said she serviced as many as 5 or 6 customers a day, 7 days per week. This was a particularly heart breaking case because the girl had been trafficked there by her own female cousin, who is the owner. She told us how she was arrested and jailed once for 24 hours. Although she wasn’t physically hurt ... read more
goodbye Nepal
goodbye Nepal

Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu » Hadigaon May 5th 2008

Sita put on her best red sari today because I wanted to take a photo of us together. I caught her by surprise, and she said she wanted to change her clothes, which took forever. So I was wondering what was going on. She’s so cute! Tomorrow I’m going to go to the photo shop to have it printed, and I’m sure before the end of the week it will be hanging on the wall in their little room. Yesterday Deepti and I spent the morning interviewing 2 more women in the sex industry. One used to work in a massage parlor where sex was usually included, but now she only gives foot massages, which she likes much better. The things she talked about pretty much confirmed what we have already heard, but some other points ... read more

Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu » Hadigaon May 3rd 2008

I stopped to watch a woman dancing in front of a small temple this afternoon, right in the middle of town near Bhat Bhateni. It was beautiful, and my love for Nepal came rushing back again. This afternoon Sita came to collect money for the electric and phone. She asked how many days before I leave, and said that she wants to take a photo with me before then so that she can frame it and hang it on her wall. To think that I have affected this woman’s life in such a short amount of time made my eyes tear up. She then asked if I had any female condoms left. I was shocked. “You know what this is?” I asked in Nepali, pointing to the open one sitting on my kitchen table. She went ... read more

Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu » Hadigaon May 1st 2008

The fact that I am leaving a week from tomorrow is starting to set in. And man, am I am excited! I’ve started packing, making to do lists for the long plane ride and the first few days I am home, and making appointments to see people from my other life. But saying goodbye to the friends I made here in Nepal is making it bittersweet. Two nights ago I had dinner with Renuka, Dinesh, and Sangeeta, who treated me to a pizza dinner at Fire and Ice in Thamel. Last night we had a good bye dinner for a fellow Fulbright, one that I actually took the time to know and meet for lunch on occasion. Tonight Mari and I went to Chez Caroline to celebrate, since she leaves the Valley tomorrow and won’t be ... read more

Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu » Hadigaon April 26th 2008

My didi is coming over to watch The L Word with me tonight. She was looking at a DVD I have called, “The Best 2007 Bluck African Movies Seuson,” which is a collection of 16 movies about or staring black men. On the cover are some African men dressed only in loin clothes, so she was laughing about that. So I showed her the cover of the The L Word, which has all of the female characters naked but strategically hidden by the title. I could see the mischief in her eyes. Turns out her and her husband have a tiny DVD player, so she wanted to borrow some DVDs. At first she was interested in the collection of black films, but once I showed her The L Word she wanted that one. I explained to ... read more

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Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu » Hadigaon April 23rd 2008

Just when I think I’ve got Nepali culture figured out, more crazy shit happens that I don’t understand. The other morning as I was walking to the main road to get a taxi, I passed a huge puddle of blood right in the middle of the street. It didn’t look like anything had been hit. There were flower petals and rice and tikka and bowls made of leaves scattered on the ground around it, so probably a sacrifice. Today as I was walking to meet a friend for dinner, I found myself in the middle of a parade. There were women dressed in red and black saris with red flowers in their hair, carrying supplies for offering to the gods. Men were dressed in black kurtas with white ribbons tied around their necks, and some of ... read more

Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu » Hadigaon April 12th 2008

What an historic time to be in Nepal! Election results are trickling in already, and it looks like the Maoists are taking lots of seats, much to the surprise of everyone. I knew there was something going on when earlier today as I was walking home everyone had their radios on and the broadcaster was saying, “Blah blah blah Maobadhi blah blah blah Maobadhi blah blah.” There have been parades all day throughout the city—Maoist candidates and their supporters marching, chanting, singing, and dancing. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to take photos, but I heard them in the streets near my flat at various times throughout the day. Several districts had to postpone voting because people were setting fire or pouring water over the ballot baskets, or submitting dozens of votes for one person. But ... read more

Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu » Hadigaon April 11th 2008

I need to find something to do tomorrow because I’m going out of my mind being at home so many days. The elections are over, so it’s safe to go out again. Hopefully the bombs will stop. There was another one the day before the election. No one seems to have been hurt by any of them, but still dangerous nonetheless. And another candidate was assassinated yesterday. Now we just wait for the results. That’s when the real violence could start. Maybe it will be like Zimbabwe’s election and it will take forever for the results to come in—and I’ll be out of the country by then? Tuesday night Bindiya came over for dinner and spent the night. Sita made momos so spicy my eyes were watering—usually she makes things very mild for me since my ... read more

Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu » Hadigaon April 7th 2008

I have been busy! And good thing, because offices are closed for the next 8 days for the election, the Nepali new year, and some other Hindu holiday. So after today I have a feeling I’m going to be doing a lot of sitting around again. Saturday was spent with a couple of new Canadian friends. One of them found my blog while reading up on Nepal, and we’ve been “e-pals” for the past 5 months. So I hung out with them and showed them around a bit. We visited a small orphanage near Lazimpat at which their Nepali friend’s sister volunteers. We spent a little while touring the place and playing with the kids, who were adorable. They also looked a lot healthier and happier than the children at Bal Mandir, the large orphanage I ... read more

Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu » Hadigaon April 4th 2008

I’m a little freaked out tonight. I was at dinner with a couple of friends when my Embassy friend got a call that there were 5 bombings throughout the city. And then as we were walking to find a taxi, we passed some other Embassy people who said we needed to go straight home. As far as I can tell from the news, the bombings were around election offices. No word on injured or killed. All I know is as the election grows nearer, I am getting more nervous. I thought today was going to be another day filled with boredom, but it here turned out to be pretty exciting. I’d rather not have the excitement of bombs, but at least the rest of my day was good. This morning Deepti and I went to another ... read more




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