Day 32: Transport Lockdown Continues
Trip Start May 20, 2008
77Trip End Aug 19, 2008
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Not as amazing was the continuation of the seemingly endless bandhas (strikes), this time with a new twist: in lue of skyrocketing food & textbook prices, the student population is on strike as well. Their demand: lower the bus fares to compensate for the higher living costs. So we've got the transit company mad that they can't raise fares (rising petrol costs), students mad they aren't lowering the costs, a young government that's seemingly incapable of doing anything other than bicker with each other, and a population wondering who's "dumb " idea it was to get rid of the King 'cause at least he could get stuff done. These strikes don't help anyone... the economy is halted, schools are shut down because the teachers can't get to work... it's just a bad situation all around. It also hurt the kids, because with roadblocks all over the place, any attempt to get cargo up to OCRC (the vaccines and donation suitcase) was thwarted. Andy & Kristal said they saw mob-smashed buses lining the road on their walk back from the clinic, so yeah... no road travel.
In an attempt to get at least something done, I tried helping Tej set up a PayPal account and thus get a "click here to donate!" link up on the VSN website, but some minor technicalities made doing so too complicated for one night. He'll need some more information from the bank to continue, which can only be gotten once the bandha is lifted. Rumors have it the buses will be back up and running by tomorrow or the next day and if not I'll definitely be moving in to the orphanage during weekdays. They need a second nanny anyways, so it might as well be me until TPTB can hire a real one. "Byut I'm nyot a nanny, Sire!" Tigh: "Tuhday you arrre." Plans have also been set in motion for a big volunteer slumber party there tomorrow night (actually tonight at the time of writing) and have a big Pixar watching fest with the kiddies, woohoo. "Finding Nemo" is the movie of choice, though Kristal really wants to show her pirated copy of "Sex in the City." Silly Kristal.
The bandha did do some good, it gave me time to make some awareness leaflets to stick up around OCRC's neighborhood and its adjacent medical clinic, hopefully rallying what little help the impoverished local community can give. Kathmandu Medical College, one of the best hospitals in the city, is literally right next door to the orphanage, prompting a little epiphany... Me: "You know that big medical school that's like right there? Are they aware of OCRC's existence?" The Management: "D'uhh... I dunno..." So if all goes according to plan, we'll be able to get some local med students doing health check-ups on the orphans in addition to the three health volunteers here.
Time to (maybe) go build the school's lunch canteen, adios for now. Miss you all!
Food Poisonings: 0!
Tibetans Freed: 90,121
Yetis Slaughtered: 9
Time Till Singapore: 2.5-3 weeks