Monday, April 06, 2015

More than everyday people

Where do I begin? The days are flying by faster than I can keep up this blog. I last wrote of the amazing people of Nepal who are doing great things for their fellow citizens, but over the last few days, I have spent some time with people who are just trying to make a living here in the Kathmandu Valley. I’ve chatted with trekking guides, cab drivers, and shop owners, many of whom have left their home towns to come to the big city to provide a better life for their children.

There’s the guide I’ll call Kishor who only makes about $15 a day on trips where clients pay ten times as much for the trip. He struggles to make ends meet as jobs are scarce even during the trekking season. He will accept jobs that pay less, like that of a porter or kitchen boy, just to have work. He has to. He has a wife, two daughters, and a son with a profound disability. He lives in a room no bigger than my bedroom. He is the main provider for his family, which includes his ailing father who is still living in the village. All this on the shoulders of a 30 year old.   His wife, who only speaks her native language, is a strong woman who runs a small tea shop to bring in some extra income. While Kishor is away, she manages the entire household, while also bringing their son to physiotherapy appointments over an hours bus ride away.

Then there’s Suren, the cab driver who moved to the city from the foothills of the Himalayas, who dreams of the day when he can return to his village. He laughs easily and exclaims that he is happy to be driving a cab, something he has been doing for the last 9 years since he was 21, so that he can put his kids through school. He would have loved to have gone into the trekking business like his two younger brothers, but states his small stature works against him for a job that requires heavy lifting. And let me tell you, those trekking bags are mighty heavy.

What do these people have in common? They are hopeful. They love their children and will do anything for them. They are still able to laugh and enjoy the simpler things in life despite the difficulties that day-to-day life brings. They don't want to be pitied. At Kishor’s wife’s tea stand, village friends and family stop by to chat and visit the family. Lots of tea was served. Nepali style. Namaste and Tashi Delek.

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