Wednesday, 25 June 2008

A normal week in Kathmandu?

We thought we'd regale you with a few tales of life here in Kathmandu this week.

On Friday some good friends of ours had their third child. The husband, Ryan, runs the ICT department with Dan and his wife Chandra has been the Primary PA until a couple of weeks ago. Chandra had quite long labours with her first two children, born in the states, but this one was so quick that she delivered in the corridor while they waited for a bed to become available in the delivery room. This turned out to be quite a blessing as it meant Ryan could be there for the delivery as men aren't normally allowed into the delivery room. We went and visited them on Friday evening with Pizza (as the hospitals here don't provide food)and were able to have a hold, we're fairly sure it was the first time either of us had seen a baby less than a day old since our little sisters were born!

The last couple of weeks have seen several bunda's (strikes) by various groups which have a big effect on the day to day life of the average Nepali.

Last week we had a bunda in the whole of Patan (the part of Kathmandu we live in) which means no traffic was allowed on the roads. Often informal road blocks are put up by the people who have called the strike and vehicles caught on the roads are attacked. Anyway this is not unusual and happens reasonably regularly. So we carried on as normal and thought nothing of it, until we found out the reason for the strike. The government minister for forestry had locked a local official from Patan in a toilet for an hour and a half! His reasoning was because he thought the official was involved in corruption of some sort. So beware if you are ever tempted to get involved in some kind of corruption we now know what to do with you!

Most of the recent Bunda's have been to do with the rise in fuel prices and we're currently in the middle of one that's been ongoing for the last 4 days. With tomorrow being the last day of school we have a big graduation ceremony at a Radisson Hotel on the opposite side of Kathmandu. We're praying that we will be able to all get there, along with all the stuff we need so that we can end the year on a high note.

The second thing that has happened is that we heard last Wednesday that a group of students at a university here in Nepal were protesting. The reason being... they had not been allowed to cheat in their final exams (as is normally the case). We were told that a few years ago there was a photo taken of the students in these exams hanging out the windows of the exam hall copying their answers out of a text book which someone outside was holding up for them. Apparently cheating in many exams is extremely common and widespread.

Finally, since I last wrote about the one laptop per child school I've had loads of people write about how interesting they found it. I have now found a page on wikipedia which the people running the project at Bashuki school are keeping updated. So if you want to read more about this individual school look at the following link.

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