Kathmandu Valley Banda

The narrow streets still thick with weaving pedestrians and motorbikes, it takes a moment to realise what is missing. That is, until you come to a main road and see the near deserted pavement. A Banda (strike) has seized Kathmandu Valley. Continue reading

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Rice Mag Issue 1: Nepalese Dreams

There is a goat in the little hatch-back next to us.

Issue 1: Nepalese DreamsHe’s standing in the back where the luggage should be, face pressed against the window with a contented look on his little face, as if this is the most normal thing in the world.

I look at him from the back seat of our own little car and he looks at me. Then they are gone, swallowed by the heaving web of traffic cascading down the pot‐holed roads of Kathmandu.

“Have you ever been to the Asia before?” he asks.
“Uhm, yes. I spent one week in Tokyo once,” I reply, stuffing my pack into the boot.
He smiles and shuts the top, brown eyes sparkling, and I can tell this is going to be like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

Welcome to Nepal…

-Issue 1 full copy available for download here.-

Ten weeks, from the city to the jungle, rice fields to the mountain tops. We’re at the edge of the earth, the birthplace of Buddha, this magical place and it’s people. Stories and images taken from my time volunteering with VCD Nepal in a country of cows, curry and culture.

More from Nepal:

annapurnas small fileAt The Edge of The Earth

We are standing at the edge of the earth… The entire world just seems to drop away in all directions, dissolving into grey as thick clouds engulf the Annapurna range we are standing on.

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IMG_8196 copyLeaving Kathmandu

One last embrace, that’s all we get. I bury my face, breathe deeply and will the tears to come. They don’t. I hold tighter for just a moment longer. “Jess, you’ll miss your flight.” I peel myself away, avoiding meeting his eyes because my own are still devastatingly dry, and lug my pack into the line for security.

IMG_0092Connecting Chitwan 

The bright green rice fields dotted with small homes and carved by black winding roads, stretch out on one side to the edge of the jungle and to the base of the snow capped Himalayan range to the other. The fields are tended by hand, workers bent double with sickle in hand.

IMG_9530Real Wealth and Rice

I awake, already hot and sticky, to the sound of small feet rushing along the concrete corridor outside my door. The other volunteer, an English girl named Polly, is already awake and slowly disentangling herself from the mosquito net surrounding her bed.

 

IMG_0373Dashain Festival 

At least ten arms reach towards me, pressing the wet tika onto my forehead while murmuring soft words of blessings and good will. My folded hands attempt to catch the red rice and curd mixture as it drips from their hands onto my lap and the carpeted floor we sit on.

IMG_8571Culture, Tradition & Traffic Jams

There he sits on the crumbling steps of a temple, its tiered roof offering shade from the midday sun. With arms folded across his lap, he watches the traffic racing by, stirring a cloud of dust around his shoulders.

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IMG_0438Don’t Worry About a Thing, We are Family Now

At the time I didn’t realise how true this would turn out to be, but after spending two and a half months with VCD, as I stand in the airport security line with tears soaking my cheeks, it feels more like I’m leaving my home and my family than simply returning from a holiday abroad.

The Merchants of ThamelThe Merchants of Thamel

I’m tripping through the streets of Thamel, doe eyed and foggy, with the sights and sounds of Nepal’s capital closing in. At least we are moving, that’s important right now. We need to keep moving because the ground feels like it’s getting away on us.

 

Continue reading

Culture, Tradition & Traffic Jams

There he sits on the crumbling steps of a temple, its tiered roof offering shade from the midday sun. With arms folded across his lap, he watches the traffic racing by, stirring a cloud of dust around his shoulders.

The crinkles around his eyes deepen as he squints through the dust and sunlight, as his eyes meet mine his face cracks into a wide smile and his hands raise to make Namaste. Returning the gesture, I follow his gaze to the square opposite, where make shift tents, colourful flags and decorations have been erected to border the river of people weaving their way through. Continue reading

Gemstones Of Nepal

“We have over 10,000 rivers in Nepal, with the collective power to generate enough hydro-power for the whole of Nepal and then some- but we don’t have the power stations built to harness it, so we continue to import electricity from India!”

We are sitting in a small shop in Thamel, Kathmandu, glass cabinets of gem stones and jewelry glinting up at us from under the fluorescent light. Continue reading

Connecting Chitwan

In the low lying terai jungle lands of Nepal lies the city of Chitwan. A dusty concrete maze pulsing with the ebb and flow of industry and homelessness, prosperity and poverty. The cacophony of sound echoing from the wide and cluttered streets a stark contrast to the quiet farming villages that surround it, providing the city’s lifeblood in the form of goods and produce. Continue reading

At the Edge of the Earth

We are standing at the edge of the earth… The entire world just seems to drop away in all directions, dissolving into grey as thick clouds engulf the Annapurna range we are standing on.

As we climb higher along the ridge, the clouds close in to kiss our cheeks, leaving our skin slightly damp and cold. We are 3000m above sea level, between Tadipani and Ghorepani, and on a clear day this ridge would award trekkers with 360 degree mountain vistas; but for us, we will have to wait another day. Continue reading