Archive for the Road to Nepal Category

We’ve arrived in Nepal, our home for the next few years. For now we’re staying at someone’s flat in Patan (the city across the Baghmati River from Kathmandu) but we’ll have our own place in two weeks or so.

We’re tired. There have been some hysterics – and not all from me. Enjoying the daily downpours. People said they thought the monsoon was coming to an end, but there’s a lot of rain about still.

And the excited is starting to creep up above the tired and the sad

And here’s what we could see from our rooftop yesterday morning:

Roofs and mountains

I’ve set up a neat-o gallery on the blog – the very cool Nextgen Gallery – which I should have no trouble adding to since I’m in one of the most photogenic places in the world.

Hmm. Packing and moving and blogging don’t seem to mix well for me. Still, pretty much everything we own either is a suitcase or a box or it is in a suitcase or box. Seven more days and we’ll be leaving for Nepal.

Nepal has a new Prime Minister, Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal (aka Prachanda – the fierce one). After the election in April in which the Maoists became the largest party in the Constituent Assembly with over 1/3 of the seats, that seemed to be a foregone conclusion. But it clearly took a bit of wrangling with the other parties, and Nepal Congress resisted until the end.

Now I could learn to be pretty happy with politics that moved at that pace. Bombs, also a not uncommon feature of the Nepalese political landscape, are not something I think I will like. Sadly, a guard at the Vice President’s home was killed in an attack.

Whenever Lyndall and I have talked about our ideal landscapes, the physical surroundings and climate that give us the most pleasure and ease, it’s always mountains, rivers and cool weather for me (yeah, I’m a Tasmanian boy resident on Australia’s North Island) and beaches and sunshine for Lyndall (a Sydney girl born and bred).

I have to admit that the move to Nepal probably suits me better on that score.

Today’s our farewell garage-sale, fundraiser, concert, party … thing. I’m wondering if we’re trying to do more with one event than is reasonable?

But nothing says we’re moving to Nepal like selling of a bunch of crap high-quality household items.

update

Well, we’re thousandaires after that garage sale, so thanks to everyone who likes first year English texts, pot-plant cuttings, CDs from the early 1990s, and sausage sandwiches… lots of sausage sandwiches. The proceeds are all going into the “keep-the-Thurleys-in-Nepal” fund.

Also, I got to play piano and boardgames. What a great day!

Yesterday, as the travel doctor was finishing giving us our Rabies, Meningococcal and Japanese Encephalitis shots, he said:

It’s possible that the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine could cause an allergic response. In ten years of doing this job I’ve never seen it, but I suppose it will happen one day.

So do I ever feel special today! I woke up with a crushing headache, an itchy rash from the top of my head to my knees, and looking like Cro-Magnon man from the swelling around my eyes. Bring on the antihistamines, baby.

It’s been a slow process, and one which we’ve been contemplating or actively pursuing now for about a year, but it’s now confirmed that Lyndall, Gabe, Jacob and I will be moving to Nepal in September for a few years (definitely two, and probably – hopefully – more).

We’ll be TEAR fieldworkers, volunteers on a cost-of-living (in Nepal) stipend, working with United Mission to Nepal.

I’ll be advocacy advisor to UMN, working with Nepali colleagues to set up an advocacy training and lobbying team. UMN work with local Nepali groups and organisations in a range of areas – conflict transformation, education, disaster management, HIV, agriculture – and want to help their local partners identify and take up policy and political opportunities to benefit poor and excluded communities. UMN also wants to develop its own ability to research, network and lobby at a national level on different issues.

So I get to help out with that! Amazing! Lyndall will be spending a fair bit of time with our new little person, Jacob, but she’s got qualifications in Primary Teaching and ESL teaching to adults, so will no doubt be finding work as and when she’s able.

Lyndall and I were in Nepal for 4 months in 1999, working as volunteer teachers and teacher-trainers with UMN. And it was a life-changing experience. I fully expect that working their again, and this time with a five-year old and six-month old in the family, will be again.

It’s an exciting time politically for Nepal too.

I’ll blog more soon (and have to change the blog banner from Bangladeshi community scene to a Nepali one) but we’re on the way.

If you’d like to keep in touch, or even support us in prayer or financially, while we’re away we would really love that. I’ve created a support page to facilitate that.

TEAR Australia fieldworkers are a pretty rare breed and we feel enormously privileged to be able to work with a partner we have known about and prayed for for a long time now. Because TEAR works almost entirely through local partners (rather than sending Australians to do work that locals can do) it’s only when a partner has a compelling case for an out-of-country appointment that TEAR would send Australians like us to be involved. TEAR wants to maximise the money it gives to local partners (rather than to support Australians) so any donations towards our support help this.