How could we possibly benefit from the current fuel blockade? With almost no motorized vehicles on the streets, we have a wonderful walking environment without air or noise pollution! But it’s not easy to get around – it took all the perseverance that Bonnie Auntie, Rama, Samjana, Manju and Pabita could muster to get into town for two major annual events which we didn’t want to miss.
First of all, Jazzmandu starts their annual program with a jazz concert for students, where they play fabulous music and students get to meet and interact with the international musicians that have come for this year’s festival. The concert was scheduled to start at 11 a.m., so Bonnie and the girls started the walk from Ama Ghar at 7 a.m., hoping to find a micro (public van). We got lucky and were packed into a van full of 50 people, including those riding on the roof. The van took many detours to avoid the traffic jams caused by the lines of vehicles waiting for petrol. Our normal one hour trip took almost three hours. Sorry there are no pictures of the trip, but being packed in the van does not give you access to your arms or camera!
The concert was fantastic. We then started our walk back to Patan, where they have staged wonderful Photography Exhibitions all over the old neighborhoods. On display were many old photographs from local families, shown in their family homes. There were also photographs of Patan through the years, taken both by professional photographers and students. This was quite a treat, especially since many were displayed outside on walls and in courtyards. This photo shows part of the exhibit – photos of local residents – on a wall that was exposed by the absence of a building, next to the remains of a large temple that fell during the earthquake – very moving. The experience was particularly lovely since there was no traffic – no motorcycles, no cars – and our walk through Patan was quiet and delightful.
The trip home was a little more harrowing but we made it! Staging these events despite the fuel blockade was important to the planners, as the events were intended to help heal people from the devastating events of the past year, which all Nepalis have had to struggle to manage.
And the struggle continues.