1. Oh, right…. that’s what governments do
You don’t really think about all of the things that a government is responsible for until you notice something is missing. For me, one of the major things that I have noticed in Nepal is the complete lack of garbage cans. I happen to live in a nice area of town, and I would say that the amount of trash on the streets is less than in other areas I have seen, but even so. The amount of time I have spent carrying around trash, looking for a place to throw it, seems a bit ridiculous. At one point I asked why it was that there was nowhere to put all the waste and the answer I got was that there had been garbage cans at one point, but they have since been stolen for the metal and don’t get replaced because there is no municipal government. Having to be conscious of such simple things as what to do with my empty water bottle has been a constant reminder of the easy yet profoundly useful things that are tasked to a government.
2. Functional (non) chaos
I was excited to hear Rhoderick Chalmers, the director of the International Crisis Group in Nepal, mention that there was no anarchy in Nepal, that in fact what seems like chaos is not actually so, because I had just been thinking about that same point and talking it over with Cecilia as we were making our way over to the ICG office. We were talking about it in regard to the way in which the interaction between people and cars on the streets seems to work. From the outside it seems pretty impressive that the population still manages to grow despite what seems like it should be inevitable death for most, if not all pedestrians. But in reality there are rules. I’m still not totally sure what they are, and I don’t know if all Nepalis do either, but somehow I feel like I am generally able to follow them. I am even beginning to appreciate the incessant honking because I understand that it is really just the car’s way of saying “hey, I’m here… ok bye.”