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.
And today, I can almost see the snow through the haze outside my barred windows in Kathmandu. The birds of prey circle on the updrafts, the busses honk in the distance, the clouds hang low and we all pray for rain.
This is now, I think, my fifteenth trip to Nepal over eleven years. Nepal continues to amaze me and, this trip, Kathmandu amazes me more. This morning I woke up to find, to my astonishment, that the electricity worked. The city has been suffering all winter from massive power shortages caused by both the parched water table and the according lack of available hydropower, and gross mismanagement on the part of the Nepali government. At the moment, I can only expect eight hours of power in any 24 hour period, and often times the true amount is much less. Of those eight hours, at least four uselessly occur overnight, thus leaving the average Kathmandu household, business, or government office with at best four hours of power between 8 am and 8 pm. Yet life goes on. We buy a lot of candles. Charge our batteries. Thank the good lord for laptops.