Nepal is officially classified as a Least Developed Nation (142 of 177 on the UN’s Human Development Index). Over 90% of the population lives rurally with more than 30% under the poverty line . Nonetheless, the last 50 years have shown steady growth in most of the key markers used to gauge success and development – rate of infant mortality, life expectancy, and more. And yet, this hopeful improving “situation” was bad enough to turn the calls for political reform and ethnic conflict that began in the 90s into a full on civil war that killed at least 13,000 and displaced more than 100,000.
I’ve uploaded several photo sets to Flickr. Abusively and un-repentantly Photoshopped to salvage them from overexposure and/or blurriness and to renew the saturation that I remembered seeing (feeling, even – Nepal was was this incredibly vibrant tangle of sensory perceptions; you saw the odors and felt the color).
“Tik cha, sister?”
It was four in the morning and I was huddled over coffee and muesli; pre-verbal time, but perfectly fine. I gestured to the pot of coffee on the stove and waved at a second cup, which was accepted gratefully but briefly, for no sooner had Didi sat down than she jumped up again.
First things first: I’ve changed my tickets – delayed my return home for a week. I’ll be back on July 27th (instead of the 18th) – it’s only nine extra days, but it will give me a chance to do some exploring outside of Kathmandu without neglecting my work here.