Sunday, November 26, 2006

Kathmandu Blues

It has been awhile since I last wrote and you are probably wondering what I am doing… so let me share with you: after two weeks of language training in Nepalgunj I am now in Kathmandu for three weeks of language and lots of meetings.

When living in a small isolated town it is great to arrive at a civilised place, however, it isn’t all good: it is cold here, I miss my colleagues and friends in Nepalgunj, I miss my apartment, it is extremely expensive here and most of all it is just too cold!!! Yet not everything is bad – just to mention a few good things:

Exciting meetings and workshop
Being a member of the MS Policy Advisory Board I attended a meeting last week in that board. We have had two MS DK people visiting and with them we have discussed the new democracy focus of MS and how to operationalise this focus. It was a really interesting 2-day meeting.
At the moment we have yet another two MS DK people visiting monitoring how MS Nepal works with gender mainstreaming. We had an interesting one-day workshop and now it will be interesting to see whether the discussed ideas will be implemented.

Get on the bike

Since I am here for three weeks there is enough time for training – not only in language but also in how to ride a motorcycle. My transportation officer has from the beginning claimed that a bike would be useful for my work – and I tend to agree with him, so he has started training me. After two lessons on a very bad field I have now been given the keys and permission to drive in the MS parking lot….oh yes, I am learning! Luckily, the police authorities had already foreseen that I would need a license to ride a motorcycle, so they were nice enough to issue this when I had my license for the car made 3 months ago, which means that I won’t have to worry about taking a test…..hurrah for incompetent Nepalese.

Goodbye and thank you

I made it to Kathmandu just in time to say goodbye and thank you to a colleague and friend, Sussie. I met her during my first days in Kathmandu and since she has been a big part of my visits to Kathmandu – it will not be the same visiting Kathmandu without her being there and I am glad to be in Kathmandu to see her off.

Thank you for everything, Sussie, and good luck with everything back in Denmark.

Good food and drinks
Though I don’t exactly starve in Nepalgunj I do enjoy being in Kathmandu where delicious steaks, exotic cocktails and Danish food is available. Yesterday I attended the Grand opening of a new restaurant owned by a Danish guy, Soren Cook. Not only does he make delicious food he also bakes amazing rugbrød (Danish ryebread). I think there is little doubt that I will be a frequent visitor there for the next two years.
Besides from that it is just great being able to go to a bar – one thing that is missing in Nepalgunj. At the moment it is high season and the town is full of tourists, so the nightlife is busy. I try to take an active part in it, but am still affected by the fact that normal bedtime in Nepalgunj is 10 p.m.

Meeting new and old friends
Four new Development Workers and two spouses have arrived in Nepal and are staying in Kathmandu for language training. Amongst them is Karen, my good friend from University. It is great – not only to see her again – but also to meet the many new people who will be my future colleague. We all stay at the MS Guest House and are having a great time, especially since the table tennis table has been installed right next to the pool table. We have also gotten a few children here, which is great. Just last Saturday we held little Christians 1-year birthday.
I have also had time to meet friends from other organizations, who have been working in Nepalgunj for longer or shorter periods and are now living in Kathmandu. I do try to socialise every chance I get….

That was a short update on what I am doing these days. Unfortunately, I have also gotten a bit of a cold because of this horrible climate, but hopefully the two hours massage I am going to now will help on that….