Things are coming together - at least in my head. My thoughts are formulating and my questions are getting more particular so that I can get the kind of information that I’m looking for.
This is a good, if not a big step. Its at least in the right direction. I’ve gotten comfortable in my home stay and have an easy walk to my work-base (its not an internship, its more of a place where I can come and get advice and lately a good place for internet connection as well) and relatively quiet days which are full of contemplation.
Since starting here at INHURED I’ve edited some translations of interviews with Bhutanese refugees, edited a proposal for a new project to the Australian development agency, and edited the proposed script to OHCHR for a docudrama on transitional justice. All of which have been immensely educating and interesting. I also sat in on a meeting with the artist who is designing 3 billboards for INHURED, which will be posted all over Nepal focusing on the constitution (what basically the constitution will include), five of the fundamental rights and freedoms, and the general structure of federalism.
I’ve written a preliminary TOR and a long list of questions that I need to work on some more. But all in all I’m ready. Someone call me! Someone email me! I’m ready to meet with you and ask you questions about citizenship, individual rights and freedoms and representation in Nepal!
No? Not yet? Phone’s on…. Internet is working better at the moment than it was 10 minutes ago. No? Ok... I'll keep thinking and writing then.
Its not all lost though, not at all. I actually feel like right now I’m waiting, but in a little while (in a few hours, a few days, or next week) I might have more than I can handle. Here’s hoping!
Technically, I’m ahead in the game: I have time to read and reflect, and I have three (!!) meetings set up. One is with youth involved in Today’s Youth Asia!, another with the Press Attache for the US Embassy, and a third with one of our advisers, who also happens to be one of the leaders in the National Planning Commission. So I would say that I’m actually off to a really good start. (Now I have a tentative 4th meeting for later this month!)
This coming Saturday morning I’ll be headed to a conference which is being put on by my friend Mandira Raut at Today’s Youth Asia. She’s training youth to be journalists. On Tuesday I went to see a taping of the show that she produces, which was fantastic! It was so wonderful to see her at work, but even more so, it was so amazing to see such a great show!
Today’s Youth Asia is a TV program (I believe hosted on Kantipur)- as well as a magazine - where a guest is invited to discuss a topic of interest and some 20 to 25 youth are sitting in the audience listening and then each has an opportunity to ask a question of the guest. It’s a GREAT program and one that really involves youth at every level, all of them are supremely intelligent and excited about what they’re involved in. For Tuesday’s taping, Mandira had one of her interns and one of the youth journalists pick me up near my house. I am so impressed with them both!
The youth journalist (who also now conducts media trainings for others), he’s about maybe 14 or 15 years old, was telling me about what they do and I was talking to them about my research. As we came to the bridge that unites Lalitpur (the district where I live) and Kathmandu we closed the windows. The smell that comes from this river is close to nothing you have ever experienced. It’s livable for a bit, but typically you’re stuck on this bridge for a good 10 minutes due to traffic, so its pretty unbearable (but I don’t know whats worse - being in an enclosed car with no AC or having the windows open with the Eau du Stink wafting in?). The student (I need to get his name!) said, “The politicians are working, but they’re working on something else. This river is my problem. They don’t travel this way, and if they do, they never have the windows down to experience it. They don’t know that this is a problem. They’re working on other issues which are important, but not on my problems that need fixing.” When can we vote for him as president? Or should we try to reserve him away from politics so that he doesn’t lose his easy way of speaking and seeing things so clearly?
So after the taping of the show, which had the Press Attache of the US Embassy as the main guest, I met with three of Mandira’s students. She has tasked them with writing an article for which they need to conduct interviews. I told them about my research and asked them to take that on as their article topic. On Saturday I think I’ll be seeing them, so I can hear what they’ve found out so far, and I can get some more of the youth in the program involved in asking around to teachers, parents and friends their opinions. I’ll also at least try to conduct some interviews for myself while there on Saturday. (What exactly is going on on Saturday, I have no idea. But that’s half the fun right?)
It sounds like a pack of wild flies are coming into the office to attack us. This can only mean that there’s a World Cup game on and the power is back. Also in completely separate yet exciting news for me, I’m having a fantastic hair day! So I’ve got some meetings set up, about twelve more requests floating out there, I’ve got electricity, and really like my dress and hair. It’s a great day in Nepal!
------ To finish this off, here’s a great song by Fito Paez "Trafico en Katmandu" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Rtbdh-ydPQ)(gracias Barbie!!), but I’m still not sure how the song is fitting in with the city yet…