7 Weeks to 7 Days

Our time in Nepal is like really almost over. Literally there are only seven days left, and then I fly back to the states. In this last week, it was very interesting for it was more of a cultural week and less of a work intensive week. Of course there was work done, for me and Emiline both facilitated our last independent workshops and assisted each other in them. Funny story, at Emiline’s workshop at an orphanage there is a Dalmatian that lives there, and this dog jumped up and grabbed a plate of play-dough she made for the children to make spirit animal. He ran off with it and ate it! Luckily the dough was technically mostly flour.

Besides that, this week we went to our first Hindu and Nepali wedding. It was very different, and very familiar at the same time for it made me think of Cambodian weddings. There are many components, ceremonies, and it lasts several days. Following the wedding, I got the chance to go outside of Kathmandu to Pokhara. Pokhara is a touristy town with a large lake, and it was lovely while I was there. While on a bus, I heard a couple of people talk about how that green area, which is abundant surrounding Pokhara city, will be all gone in ten years. This made me very conscious of the urbanization and gentrification that is occurring here in Nepal, and at home.

Kathmandu’s population has risen so drastically in the last few years or decades that the city’s infrastructure has been unable to sustain it. There is load shedding, when different areas of the city don’t have power for several hours a day. Right now (normally) there are Airplane8-10 hours in the day when there isn’t power, and sometimes the water doesn’t get sent by the government. Pokhara is a tourist town that will likely build more hotels and resorts to accommodate and get in on the tourism business. At home, Philadelphia is gentrifying many neighborhoods around the city to create more condos and “hipster” areas. The landscape of my city and this city has and is changing before everyone’s eyes.

Since going to Gettysburg for the last 2 years, when I come home I notice that there is a drastic change in many ways. The homeless population has boomed in the city, and places that were familiar are strange. The world is changing so much everywhere, for if I came back to Nepal in a few years I already can see that it will be a very different place. The USA and Nepal are two very different countries, but face similar issues in trying to urbanize and compete in the world market. It’s very dependent on how people adapt and work to make sure not everything is lost. The culture and history of both places will hopefully continue to motivate to sustain its unique traits. A lot of this experience has been focused on being conscious of the world around you, and what roles you play in it. Right now, I am trying to discover just that…

May Chou ’18