Today is our last full day in Kathmandu! The city is up and roaring and we are ready to take on the day thanks to our coffee at the Himalayan Java House. We are waiting to hear back from Brijlal about our final two interviews today with people from Social Science BAHA and a Fulbright scholar.
Sitting around the coffee table we have been reflecting on the past few days. After an early sunrise hike up the Sarangkot mountain we said our goodbyes to Charlotte. We spent the last day in Pokhara interviewing hotel workers and taking in the beautiful scenery. One of the interviewees told us he was sending his daughter to a private boarding school at the age of five in hopes that she would "pick up English" leading to more opportunities in her future. We also learned about internal migration and how all three interviewees physically carried their money back to their villages ;in other words they did not use banks.
We also saw the impact of Middle East remittances on the building of homes and businesses in Pokhara. We have learned about migration to Qutar in particular as there are roughly 400,000 Nepali men working in that country.
The next morning we loaded up and flew to Kathmandu, go Buddha air! We circled Kathmandu for 20 minutes and had an amazing view of the Himalayan Mountains. Once in Kathmandu we journeyed up the mountains to our retreat at the Nagarkot Farmhouse where we reflected on the past 2 weeks while overlooking the Himalayas and prayer flags. Nagarkot was the perfect place to re-group, type up our notes, and use our new knowledge to plan for our futures.
Yesterday morning Cynthia, Chris, and Lizzie woke up and trekked 18KM down the mountain back to Boudhanath,Kathmandu. The scenery of subsistent farming and irrigation was breathtaking making the journey well worth it. We passed through many small villages and were greeted by many residents with "namaste" giggles and waving. We also came into contact with various goats, chicks, chickens, buffalo, stray dogs, ducks, cats, sheep, cattle, and a monkey vs. dog disagreement.. The monkey got away.
While walking we met a grade 11 student who was walking to his private school in Kathmandu. He moved to the city from a small village where his parents work a small shop. While he was young his father migrated back and forth from the village to the city to save for his education. He now lives in a hostile and his education and living fees are sponsored by Koreans. He has applied to go to Australia for grade 12 and is hoping to receive a scholarship. It was great to hear from a recipient of remittances and we wish him good luck for a bright future.
We arrived in Kathmandu early in the afternoon and enjoyed a rooftop interview with a Nepali journalist at our home-base the Sacred Valley Inn. During this interview we learned about Nepali's in Qatar and the dreadful working and living conditions they endure. It really makes you realize how bad their options in Nepal are.
We then checked out the local Nepali mall, and had a food court dinner of Momos, sushi, and sesame chicken. After our meal we went to see the only English movie playing at the cinema "Gangster Squad". Popcorn was only 20 cents a bag, and we had assigned seats. The censorship of the movie was quite amusing, swearing and sexual scenes were blocked out and every time there was a cigarette or smoke in the film a caption appeared warning us that smoking is injurious to health and can cause cancer. There was a brief intermission for more momos and popcorn. During this time we realized there were mice scurrying around our feet, and they seemed to really enjoy our popcorn. After the intermission we had about 10 minutes of play time before we had to take another break so the movie could buffer for a half hour. What an experience!
Today will definitely be bittersweet, but we are looking forward to enjoying our last day together in Kathmandu.
Pictures will be posted shortly!