Greetings from Nepal! Linda here reporting from Umbrella headquarters Kathmandu. Janette (TUFA secretary) and myself arrived last Sunday laden with 83 kg's of supplies which were kindly donated by many generous Aussies. After settling into our apartment week one's plans were to travel to Gatlang, Rasuwa to visit the community post earthquake. Week 1 has now disappeared and we are now into week 2 with little chance of getting to Gatlang in the next few weeks.
I need to backtrack as many in Australia would not be aware of the political situation currently unfolding in Nepal. Without going into too much detail the government of Nepal (after many years) has finally agreed on a constitution. Unfortunately minority groups on the border have protested against the constitution and this sadly includes the Indian government! India has lost control over their poor landlocked neighbours....what to do? Stop the trucks!
Nepal, being a poor landlocked country relies on India for fuel, gas, medical goods, food etc. for their existence. Due to the earthquakes and monsoon landslides the roads from China have limited accessibility and the people of Nepal are now running out of vital supplies for their survival. Petrol is quickly running out with long traffic queues waiting to purchase fuel at NPR 800 ($11) per litre! Trucks that deliver water and cooking gas to homes are now becoming scarce. People are walking long distances as public transport is limited.
This time of year is peak tourist season and this year the people of Nepal need tourists more than ever. The streets of Thamel are relatively quiet compared to previous years with some international airlines cancelling all flights into Kathmandu, due to a shortage of aviation fuel. Janette and myself arrived to see many friends still recovering emotionally, physically and financially from the trauma suffered in the earthquakes. Walking the streets there are many houses untouched but then you can walk around the corner and to be faced with total devastation. The Nepali people are now saying there has been two disasters this year one from mother nature and now man made.
Speaking to everyone at home in Australia I have been told the Australian media are staying quiet and there is little news from Nepal. Nepal is a small country and the people here are used to suffering but one questions how long they can hold on with the current situation. There is a general acceptance of what will be, will be and people just seem to make do, they are very clever with improvising.
Today is the first day of Dashain, which is a 15 day long national festival in Nepal. Dashain symbolizes victory of good over evil and like our Christmas there are holidays and most Nepali's travel home to their villages and families to celebrate the festival. Sadly this year many will not get the opportunity to share this special time, 2015 is a year people need to celebrate more than they ever have before.