Hope…  “Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.”

There is finally a glimmer of hope that the pandemic is gradually beginning to wane in the world, and it’s also looking a little bit better for Nepal, with infection and hospitalization rates going down.  The spread is now perhaps concentrated around clusters and large gatherings, which tend to happen in the cities.  That’s also where most people are getting vaccinated.  Apparently 50% of the people working in the tourist industry in Pokhara have had their vaccine.  I’m not sure how they have prioritised the order of who should get it first, and I hear there isn’t really a system as such, but overall 20% of the population are now covered.  This is nowhere near enough to break the contagion, but if the focus has been on the cities and communities where the population is dense, it’s at least a first step.  People are still scared and wary though, with mis-information and rumours circling.  But for many, they have to go back to work and life has to go on, and you see images of big social events, or public transport, markets, etc. in the news, for many it’s simply not possible to avoid close proximity with others.    It is impossible to keep the country under intermittent periods of lockdown.  It has already caused so much suffering and problems that might be even more threatening to people’s lives than the actual Coronavirus.  Child trafficking has increased, child marriages, suicides, starvation, girls dropping out of school…  And on top of everything the annual monsoon caused devastating floods, river banks collapsed, homes were flushed away and the destruction of bridges, roads, businesses and infrastructure was extensive (most yet to be re-built and repaired).  However, we want to focus on the positives now, and the good news is we might be able to meet our friends in Nepal soon, be involved hands on!  Because visitors are welcome again (with some restrictions of course).  Yes, Nepal is open to travellers and the journey there is possible.  

Over the past 2 years since our last visit, we have continued to our fundraising – THANK YOU again everybody who has donated –  and in the last few months we have been able to collect money by selling ceramics, bags, bracelets, etc. at craft markets (see pics).  We’re also doing some ceramics workshops for kids and another concert in November, where all the contributions will be added to the pot.  During the pandemic we sent Alliance Nepal money three times to help some families going through very difficult times (see previous posts and Instagram updates) by repairing or building their houses and with food distributions, we also provided seeds to people in one village to start their own crops and we bought facemasks.  The families in the new houses are all doing well, although not necessarily able to work yet, but at least they have a stable house, some animals, solar cell electricity, and their children have returned to school.  It’s of huge importance that the schools have opened again…. But we know that the schools desperately need support; uniforms, materials, health and dental checks, as well as teaching assistance.  A lot of you have donated money, bought our handicrafts and thanks to that we will be able to provide for some of the needs of the schools where we’ve got to know the kids over the past few years.  Let’s have hope we can now look forward to reunions, it will be really wonderful to see everyone again!

“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.”