This is our front yard. We have this very prickly cactus that seems soooo out of place in our lush, topical yard. It looks gnarly, growing every which way and is planted in an interesting spot. As I was sitting in our garden the other day I took this photo, the prickly cactus in the foreground and the lush, tropical palm in the background. It made me reflect on living here. There are many times when being here seems prickly, out of place, confusing and awkward. There are also times it seems like we are flourishing, like the palm, right where we should be: as a family, professionally, culturally and spiritually. Many days what I focus on cause the change in my heart, the foreground or the background.
As many of you may, or may not, know Nepal has not been receiving petrol products for the past 5 weeks. After the constitution, which took years to write, was promulgated the fuel shortage began. This has led to a shortage of petrol, diesel and most importantly cooking gas in the country. Most restaurants here cook with propane gas and it is used for everything from cooking to heaters. This has made life for everyone living here difficult.
The lack of these things have lead to dangerously overcrowded buses, loss of revenue in the country from tourism and many small restaurants shutting down for lack of fuel. You may have heard about the bus that toppled down the side of the hill because it was so over crowded, 34 people died. People are sitting on top of the buses and cramming inside because there are not enough buses to get people from place to place. Many people are not able to work and the situation is getting more and more tense.
In the midst of all this we are fine. We are living as expats and in the worse case scenario we have the means and ability to leave. Things are not easy, but neither does this mean it is not good. I realize many days that I can chose to either be looking at the foreground or the background. I can see the prickly parts, the protesters, the unofficial blockade imposed by India or I can see the lush, green beauty. We see the strength of Nepali's to make their own coal and ride their bikes with children on them 4 kilometers to save gas. The Nepalis have continued to pursue a democratic government even when it seems chaotic here. We have seen gas lines that make me faint of heart and yet they stand in line for days for their 10 Liters of petrol. I can still enjoy the beauty of the mountains that are unbelievably majestic. We can still get food and we have had electricity almost 24 hours a day (what!!!) which means I can cook by electricity. We can still enjoy the beautiful parts of life here.
There are many things I am trying to understand about the culture and about the new constitution and why the border blockade continues. I have my opinions about what is going on here and I am sure that all groups involved have made mistakes. Yet, I am pulling for Nepal. That they would be able to have peace and a resolution to some of the issues and most of all that the normal people can resume life here.
Until then, I hope I will see the beauty in this country amidst the crazy, difficult year it has had. We desire prosperity for this nation and that all people would be valued for their humanity. We are pulling for Nepal, all of those living in Nepal, to be able to enjoy friends, have food and shelter and the ability to care for themselves. There are so many I love here, we are pulling for them!