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February 19th 2010
Published: February 19th 2010
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Kathmandu is fantastic, and my job here couldn't be any better, but these past 10 days have been beset by sickness and frustration. Fieldwork isn't always fun and games, so it seems. The sickness was due to parasites--I must have made some malignant little internal friends during my village stay (the subject of the next post--I promise), and they kept me in bed with a bucket nearby for some days. The frustration is largely due to the ridiculously oppressive scheduled power cuts terrorizing the whole country right now, and they only promise to get worse. The euphemism is 'loadshedding,' and it means that Nepal doesn't have enough electricity for everybody all the time, so we'll have to ration it with power cuts until the rainy season starts and the hydroelectric reservoirs fill up again. The irony is that Nepal is said to be second only to Brazil in water energy potential. Here's the 'loadshedding' schedule as it stands right now for my zone of the city:

Sun: 3-8am, 12-6pm
Mon: 5-11am, 4:45-9:45pm
Tues: 6am-12pm, 2-7pm
Wed: 8am-2pm, 4-9pm
Thurs: 9am-3pm, 5-10pm
Fri: 10am-4pm, 6-11pm
Sat: 3-9am, 12-5pm

These are the times without power.

If I were in a village and didn't expect electricity, this wouldn't be so bad. A big problem with these power outages is that they are holding back businesses, schools, civic projects, and any kind of communication all over Nepal, adding to the already multitude obstacles to overcome in Nepal's 'development' process. The two traffic lights in the city go out with loadshedding. ATMs go out with loadshedding. Electrically powered 'clean' tuktuks are dying in the middle of the road because loadshedding doesn't allow them to recharge properly. I can't use my computer or get on the internet during loadshedding, so my notes are now mixed between word files and paper/pencil notebooks. What I can type on the computer in 2 hours takes me 6 hours by hand, leaving me less time to go out and be a musician and hang out with Nepali musician buddies. I would love to elaborate, but I have to post this now before power goes out again.


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