Today I spent the whole day in the village of Khokana which lies just a little outside of Kathmandu. The village has some amazing views and its nature is really lush and colourful. The earthquake affected the village in a major way and much of the infrastructure is still badly damaged.
It was a hot and humid day with the occasional rain to cool things down a bit - a bad time for me to forget my cap in the airplane on the way over here...
As we got to the village, a festival was already well under way and the people were cheerful. As I understand, the festival was also in part a funeral and what a funeral it was! Being accustomed to the Western way of mourning for the dead I was a little surprised to see the people dancing, enjoying themselves, laughing and generally being in good spirits. All this in a village where majority of the houses became uninhabitable due to the earthquake.
Once again, I admire the Nepali spirit. Why should death by mourned necessarily just by crying and being quite formal? Personal opinions aside, I think it was a great display of the people's will and energy and it definitely made me feel good even if the underlying reason was death.
As I already wrote in the previous post, the people here are over-the-top accommodating towards foreign people and I got invited for tea and fresh cucumbers (which were delicious, by the way) on several occasions. Temporary housing was largely arranged in makeshift huts in the rice fields yet life goes on like it always will.
I was also shown a picture from late June when the rubble and debris from the earthquake was several metres high. Then I was shown another picture from early August when it was all but gone from the streets. The houses remain dangerous for the most part but rebuilding and reconstructing is under way but help is definitely needed.
The village of Khokana is truly a beautiful village and it seems like I will be spending a whole lot more time here in the coming weeks. I am teaching a photography workshop later on at a local school but most likely I will also be documenting the lives of the people in the village in more depth.
This project is done in co-operation with both the Nepali organisation Looniva Child Concern Group and the Finnish organisation Interpedia. Both organisations work hard for the development of Nepal on multiple levels so if you are at all interested in helping out, please be in touch!
More info to follow...
Until next time!