Friday, October 1, 2010

First Thoughts

We arrived in Kathmandu Sunday afternoon and two things immediately caught my attention. First, i felt as if i had landed in a city halted in mid-development. This was evident upon arriving at the airport. We landed and walked across the tarmac into an airport which both smelt and resembled the interior of an attic. Cobwebs and all. The airport attendants hand wrote and processed all of our customs and visa forms. Forming a line which would take hours to process. That says something. I think that says a lot of about the development of the country.

The Kathmandu Airport

After customs and baggage claims, we joined the Nepali MountainChild staff, loaded into vans, and headed across the city. What a city! Cars. Motorcycles. People. Monkeys. Music. Colors. Honking. Stares. It was borderline sensory overload. And again, in the midst of the slight chaos, the lacking development really caught me off guard. I have never traveled to a developing nation, and well, it was unlike anything i've ever seen. Dilapidated buildings. Trash strewn streets. Frantic power lines. Shoeless kids playing in dirty places. Grazing animals-- in the middle of the city! Foreign temples and monuments covered in people. Yet, in the middle of it all, a veiled beauty i can't really put my finger on. The people their lives in the midst of this all, was beautiful.

The streets of Kathmandu.

The building of Kathmandu.

So while Nepal is underdeveloped in so many ways, it is rich! There's something so beautiful in the culture, history and beauty of it all!

One of the major questions i left Nepal with was this:
Do i see the poverty in Nepal "bad" because it is poorer and more underdeveloped than everything i know or have seen, or do i find it "bad" because essentially the lack of development (medical, educational, and environmental) is detrimental to the life of those living in it?

Do Nepali people want to develop their country? Do they desire to have it look and function like more advanced countries? Are they happy with how things are?

I am confident that there are essential needs that need to be met in Nepal that are inhibited in part due to underdevelopment. It is unacceptable that 1/2 the children in Nepal will die, primarily in lack of clean water, before the age of 8. That us unacceptable for any country. The sex and forced labor trade is also unacceptable. So is the lack of medical aid and proper education.

The hard part is addressing these needs, encouraging localized stability, without imposing modernation. There's something beautiful in the tradition and simplicity i saw!


  1. Great questions!!! humble perspective!!! You are right, they don't need to be modernized (Americanized) to be.... They posses, what we in our modern fog will never have or at best, will not have without great discipline...
    peace & contentment in all things..., an acceptance of the spiritual realm as common, time............. JOY- in the midst of true suffering......

    It is wise to discern true needs & not to want for them what we've settled for......

    I am proud that you question.............

  2. I agree with you, the sensory overload, and the dilapidated buildings, it was that way for me when I went to Africa.