Submitted by Ben Ayers on Tue, 2009-07-28 12:00.
It’s been a while and a pile of frequent flyer miles since typhoid. I’m back Stateside for the summer and, finally, feel strong again. It’s been good to be here, to feel the grass beneath my toes, to take a few moments and try to put all of the contradictions aside and focus upon the sun sliding down behind the maple trees.
All of the immediate goodness of America, infinite like yellow lines on the interstate. I’m always amazed at how our culture can encompass so many things that are simultaneously so arbitrary, yet so essential.
Submitted by Ben Ayers on Fri, 2009-05-15 06:47.
Working abroad isn’t always easy on the stomach and after ten relatively sickness-free years in Nepal, I developed a good and robust case of typhoid fever. I was trapped in the throes of a high fever, headache, and stomach cramps that kept me delirious and in bed for over a week, and will take weeks or even months more to fully recover.
Submitted by Ben Ayers on Fri, 2009-05-01 07:28.
The southern belt of Nepal – the Terai – has been closed for a week now by a political group advocating for the rights of ‘Madeshis’ or Nepalis that live along the Indian border and who often have closer cultural and social ties to India than to the middle-hill dominated political scene in Kathmandu. The Madeshis have stopped all motorized transportation along the major highways in the Southern third of the country, effectively sealing off the entire country from any goods and stranding thousands of people.
Submitted by Ben Ayers on Wed, 2009-04-22 09:15.
This morning, the United Marxist-Leninist political party - one of the four leading political parties in Nepal -threatened to pull out of the government in reaction to the death of a young member of the party’s youth wing, the curiously named ‘Youth Force.’ The young man was allegedly shot by members of the ruling Maoist party’s youth wing, the ‘Young Communist League’ in the far western district of Rupandehi.
Submitted by Ben Ayers on Wed, 2009-04-22 09:13.
To my seven readers, I apologize for my failure to post anything the entire winter. America flashed past, like so many snowflakes in the headlights. The snow fell in inches and then in feet, was pushed into piles alongside the road, up against the barn – it slid off of the roof and shuttered the kitchen windows. Then, before I really even unpacked, I was off again. Board meetings in Colorado, donor meetings in Geneva, and blissful backcountry skiing and cappuccino in Chamonix. All fancy language aside, I am a slacker. Please forgive me.
Submitted by Ben Ayers on Mon, 2008-12-29 08:27.
Forgive me for being a Grinch, but Nepal definitely has us beat when it comes to Holidays. The entire month of October is, more or less, consumed by two massive festivals and great debauchery. Then, the rest of the year is filled with scattered holidays and sacred weeks. If you really tried, one could find a reason to celebrate for each and every full moon, most new moons, and a good portion of the days in between.
Submitted by Ben Ayers on Thu, 2008-12-18 08:22.
It appears that I’m back in the States. The holidays loom, snow piles up upon the roof then slides onto the lawn. I plow the driveway, fight with old logging equipment, talk to my colleagues in Nepal on the phone.
Submitted by Ben Ayers on Mon, 2008-12-01 11:12.
November 20, 2008
They’re de-icing the airplanes already. The fog that swaddles Kathmandu, tucked into the serpentine alleys, the early morning roadways all calico with bicycles, the odd bus, the vegetable sellers – all behind me now. For now.
The last weeks in Kathmandu, of course, some blur of last meetings, work unfinished, hurried goodbyes. My heart littered across the valley, strewn like fourth-of-July candy along the parade route, and parts of it now, still, leaking through the windows and fuselage of this airplane headed home.
Submitted by Ben Ayers on Mon, 2008-11-24 07:40.
October 22, 2008
Submitted by Ben Ayers on Fri, 2008-11-21 14:13.
October 8th, 2008
I think my motorcycle is a vegetarian. I’ve tried to explain this to my Nepali family, but it falls upon deaf ears. This year, yet again, I found myself compelled to rattle and shake my way across the bad roads to the ancient city of Bhaktapur and whittle away an afternoon with my family drinking the local rakshi (moonshine), watching Hindi movies, and then sacrificing a helpless duck and spreading the blood across my bike – all to appease the vengeful goddess, Durga.