Saturday, June 13, 2009

Art at Indra's House

Today's fun was a visit to the home of Indra, his wife and their children: Alisa, Alina and Anis. Indra is my colleague at READ Nepal. Artful creations were made using stickers and colored pencils. My art, a tropical rendition with palm trees and a banana-eating monkey, was hung by Anis in a place of honor on the family wall. I took their art home where it is now on display in my bedroom.

After the studio session, we ate a wonderful Thakali meal. Mitosa!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Adapted from the Nyaya Health website and an article by Kong Yen Lin in this week's Nepali Times:

On June 15, Bayalpata Hospital, which has been shut for 30 years due to political turmoil and violence, reopens with the aim of fighting maternal mortality in a district where one in every 250 women die from pregnancy complications and illegal abortions.

Established by Nyaya Health NGO, the eight-building complex will have a clinic for maternal and child health and a women's ward for abortions and deliveries. The team of 40 will include two doctors, rotating surgeons and gynaecologists. There will be a 24-hour free delivery service and caesarean section operating unit.

"Our goal is to ensure that no mother should die from delivery related difficulties," says Medical Director Jhapat Thapa, "And locals won't have to pay for more costly health care in India or Dhangadi."

While government hospitals charge about Nepali rupees 1,000 to 3,000 for safe abortions, Bayalpata hospital is planning to offer the service for free, in a bid to reduce illegal, often lethal, procedures.

While the STD infection rate is estimated to be 0.5 per cent nationally, that of Accham is 20 times more because of the high percentage of migrant workers. According to ASHA, another NGO offering HIV support, 70 per cent of the infected are women. Bayalpata will provide anti-retroviral therapy and drug treatments preventing mother to child transmission.

With chronic shortages of water, food and power and frequent highway bandas delaying supplies in Accham, Bayalpata's goals seem ambitious. But health workers are optimistic by contrast with the conflict years when frequent raids and extortions kept many hospitals closed.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Walk to Thamel

Ate Falafel dinner at OR2k (light to Kathmandu in Israeli) with Viviane sitting on the floor cushions reading the menu under the black lights with Hendrix in the background. There's nothing like dining with your legs stretched out in front of you and your elbow propped on cushions. We could've stayed for hours.

But on to more chill at The Comfort Zone atop a Thamel building. At the spacious candlelit lounge (partially under cover) we gazed up at the stars and caught the breeze while listening to smooth (ok, most of it was cover but that's ok) jazz band.

Both places seductive and compelling. Who wants to go home?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Friday evening I celebrated Sikka Nakha with my Newar family, the Mulepatis. On this day, the Newars usher in the monsoon season by cleaning their homes, courtyards, and sidewalks and by feasting on Wo, fried lintel bread, and Chatamari, Nepali pizza. Shanti is the best cook in the Valley...seriously. Of course, the evening ended with several rounds of rachsi...Newari liquor.

Today, is a Valley-wide bandh sponsored by the Newars who are rallying for an autonomous state. Everything is closed and all vehicles are banned. No violence though and I walked over to Yak and Yeti Enterprises to begin our jewelry design collaboration. Bandh BAH! I have legs!

I am also enjoying stalking someone's poetry. :-)

Friday, May 29, 2009

The First 36 Hours

It's great being back home in Nepal.

After being efficiently screened for swine flu, Sudip greeted me and whisked me away from Tribhuvan Airport in a trusty taxi. We ate lunch at one of our favorite rooftop cafes and caught up on the news. It was good to see my family at Himalaya's Guest House and READ Nepal.

I also had a fun evening at the Entrepreneurs of Nepal meeting at Buzz Cafe meeting the powerfully creative trio: Ashutosh Tiwari, Ujwal Thapa and Sagar Onta...the group's founders. Good to see around 40 young people in attendance. If a jet-lag induced sleep hadn't been about to overtake me I would've stayed longer.

I slept well to a beautiful monsoon rainfall and enjoyed a very interesting breakfast conversation with Pem, Moni's husband. The bitten rice was pretty cool too.

It is good to have Viviane in the READ office and we are about to head over to Mike's Breakfast for a photo exhibit that will be introduced by the American ambassador.

Tonight is a Newari "eating festival" as it was explained to me by my host Dad, Mohan.

Trust me. Newari eating festivals are ALWAYS a good thing!

Can you see why I love this place?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

One year ago today, May 26th, I landed in Nepal for the very first time.

Little did I know then that I would be returning for my third visit one year later.

On May 28th I depart Little Rock for my home away from home.

That day also marks Nepal's first anniversary as a federal republic.