Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Pray for Nepal

Nepal has been in the news this week due to the tragic events on Mount Everest last weekend. However, the news that hasn’t been reported is the on-going political situation and its impact on the people of Nepal. 
Sunday 27 May is the deadline for the new constitution to be written. Those of you who read our blog regularly will know this is not the first deadline. There have been several extensions since the original deadline at the end of May two years ago and it’s still quite uncertain if a constitution will arrive this weekend. This month has been full of Bandhs.

“Bandh, … a Nepali word meaning 'closed', is a form of protest. [This] often means the closing down of markets of a city for the day, but there have been [many] instances of entire nation coming to a standstill.” – from www.nepalbandh.com

The Bandhs have been on-going in various parts of Nepal for many days. The Terai (southern flat part on the border with India) has been pretty much permanently “closed” for most of the month as various groups have enforced bandhs, some for a dozen or so days. The far-west and far-east have also been subject to strict bandhs as various different political parties and interest groups try to make themselves heard, and their interests accommodated in the constitution.

Since Sunday the entire nation has been “closed”. One particular interest group has been enforcing a very strict bandh which is impacting everyone. Shops and schools are closed. There is no traffic on the streets. Many people’s livelihoods are affected.

How does this affect normal Nepali’s? Well many can’t work. If their livelihood depends on the income from their shop, or their market stall or being able to catch a bus to their place of work they are stuck. As night falls the bandh is lifted and the streets come to life as everyone rushes out to stock up on the necessities. As dawn starts to come in the morning (4.30/5am) people again try to get to the shops or travel to where they need to be for the day. But of course little produce is able to get into the valley because of the bandh and so shops are starting to run low on supplies.

How does this affect us? Well we too are subject to the daily dash for supplies. Thankfully, we are able to be well stocked with food and money (cash machines can’t be replenished), but this isn’t an option for poor Nepali’s. School has been closed today. I have spent half my day making contingency plans for IGCSE and A level exams if this continues. Becky and the kids are stuck with nowhere to go and little to do.

This week sees the culmination of 40 days of prayer forNepal, timed to coincide with the constitution deadline. If you pray, please do pray for Nepal, the political leaders and agitating parties this week. Pray for peace in this country and political stability.

STOP PRESS: As we were about to publish this blog we heard that the Constitutional Assembly, the body charged with writing the constitution have agreed another 3 month extension.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

For my mum...

In case you didn't know a lot of the world celebrated mothering Sunday this past weekend. Living in an international setting meant that I have therefore heard (and read online) a lot about mothers this past week and it's got me thinking.

I've had both my kids since living here in Nepal, so despite brief stays in the UK when they were both born my experience of being a Mum is one of an expat Mum and I think in many ways it is not so different (although in many ways it is very different too), but we face a lot of the same mundane challenges. For example, at the end of lunch today I cleaned Mim up and sat her on the floor as I cleaned Sam up. Pulled out his chair so he could jump down and then went to clearing the table. But Sam slipped as he was getting down and banged his head on the table. So I'm sat on the floor cuddling Sam when I realise Mim is crawling around under the table eating what she can find (I only hope it is today's lunch and not yesterdays!) Once he has calmed down I get back to clearing up when Mim who is now pulling herself up on a chair slips and bumps her head, so I'm back on the floor, in the crumbs, cuddling Mim... sound familiar?

So on the surface a lot of what being a Mum is all about is no different whether I am in Nepal or the UK. But a lot of other things are different which impact on what it is like being a Mum here. One thing I have realised and learnt to appreciate since becoming a Mum is how much work it is, wherever you are. Don't get me wrong, it is amazing and I love it - most of the time! But being a Mum abroad is hard in a way that is not always immediately obvious; because you are doing it in a place that is not home, that is not "normal" for you, and this makes everything slightly harder, slightly more tiring - even if not always in a tangible way. Don't worry, I'm not looking for your sympathy, I just want to try and share how it is different. There are also many many advantages to being a Mum here. I have a local lady come in several days a week to help with house work. I can be a stay at home Mum without worrying about the stress this will cause on our finances. I have a great community of like minded Mums around to meet up with. My kids don't have the peer pressure and as many negative influences as they might face at home and Dan is just 5 mins away. I can pop into KISC if I need to (or for Sam to have a quick play in the sandpit) while he is at work and he doesn't have a long commute home to see us.

So why is this post for my mum. Well many of the expat families here have work out in rural areas of Nepal, and so husbands are regularly travelling for work, and due to bad weather or strikes they can get stuck out in the rural parts of Nepal for longer then planned, leaving Mum at home with the kids. This has made me appreciate even more the fact that Dan works a 5 min walk from home and very rarely has to go away for work. My Mum was not so lucky. We lived in Sri Lanka for 3 years when I was a teenager and my Dad had to travel a lot, all over Asia and back to the UK leaving my Mum at home with two teenage daughters who weren't very understanding to either of our parents on how hard this was for them. So this is for you Mum (and Dad) to say thank you for all the hard work. I get it now. 

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Bi-annual Redistribution of stuff!

Otherwise known as the KISC PTA fair. This is a great community event that has been going for a number of years and is so popular that it is now a bi-annual event. This is a great opportunity  for a good clear out as they sell second had books, dvds, clothes and anything else people donate. They usually sell lots of home baked cakes and cookies and some local restaurants with connections to KISC have stalls where you can buy lunch. Students can also have a table if they want to earn some pocket money or to raise money for a good cause. We did well out of it this year as someone donated a big bunch of baby girls clothes so Mim has lots of new clothes for when she turns one!

 KISC is not just a school but a great community. We all feel part of it and get involved in these different events in a way that we wouldn't if it was a school like in the UK. Through the year they have many different community events like this one which are a great opportunity to get everyone together. For example this Thursday is the Primary School  "Kidszone" or talent show. And as a special treat Dan, who now has whole school responsibilities meaning he is included in primary staff, will be involved in the primary staff dance! Should be...  interesting!