Ok , so here is the latest folks.
Things here are starting to get a little bit edgy politically and yesterday the Maoist’s declared Kathmandu an autonomous state and have seized public and private property to, It appears, set up and alternative governmental structure. Daily the military presence seems to be growing on the streets – if you pay attention – it is obvious the pressure of months of uncertainty is having it’s toll.. .you can feel the energy of the city changing.
Yesterday on a day trip to Bhatakpur I counted 15 buses full of Maoists coming into Kathmandu. And on Saturday a supposed indefinite bhanda or general strike is starting. This means everything is closed and if a store opens open and discovered by the roving bands of Maoists patrolling the streets the owners are dealt with harshly. Bicycles are set on fire if they are used, taxi’s as well, no cars at all are on the streets, no buses…nothing save for stray dogs and unknowing tourists.
Two weeks ago I saw a shop owner dragged from his store and beaten. All rather nasty. And the next day the odd rickshaw driver was sporting some significant bruising.
So whatever eventuates this should be an interesting week.
My personal feeling is it is going to get a bit heated….there is a vibe perculating under the surface of daily life here as the declared date of the bhanda gets closer. Also the number of Maoist’s coming into the city from the country means action of some sort is planned but who knows what.
Last week they took to the streets at night brandishing burning sticks. And this morning I woke to the sound of military drills…..”and fire.” All just a little disturbing to be sure.
In other news some clearer connections for looking at the situation of homeless children in Kathmandu are presenting themselves – thank you Jenny!!!
I think i have found the group of kids I would like to get to know, they are pretty tough, abuse glue and live on the edge of Thamel. The first time I saw them was in the early hours of the morning…around 8am…well ok not that early…huffing on plastic bags of glue, one passed out before my eyes. So the process now is to develop a relationship of sorts with these kids. Buy them some ciggerettes…and yes I know these children are under 14 but they smoke and it is a way in on their level.
So i will keep you informed of developments as they present themselves. Thank you for helping me get here. I feel so blessed to be starting to live my dream even if at times it is a bit scary.