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Showing posts from February, 2009

Shramadana Without Dana

Sharama is a Sanskrit word for labor Dana is to donate or to give “Bhai (brother), why take trouble and bring your students and friends here?” Said Min Bahadur. “Just give us 50,000 rupees and we will perform the work that of 100,00 rupees,” he added. Min Bahadur lives in Bulaki Chaur where we have been visiting for several months now to organize. The village on the hills that surround Kathmandu valley is inaccessible by transportation. The only trail that reaches to the village needed some work, especially at the point where the village begins. Last week on our visit, we proposed that we fix the trail through shramadana (gift of labor). Villagers agreed, with some hesitation. Several days earlier they had asked whether Sarvodaya Nepal will provide khaja (snacks or food) for the work? We were non-committal but were planning that we would just go to village and beg for a handful of rice or whatever they would offer so we could cook on the spot. We had also proposed that we would bring s

Conversation with an immigration officer

Feb 3, Kathmandu As I handed my passport to immigration officer at Kathmandu’s International Airport, the lights went off. The airport’s rather dark looking immigration control area became further dark. “Nothing works in this country,” said the immigration officer taking my passport. “Where are you coming from?,” he asked me. “Well Delhi on this flight but actually from America,” I said. “Why would anybody want to return to this country?” looking for stickers to put on my passport. “No wonder everybody wants to leave.” “Why are you back bhai (brother)?” “I have all my family here and most people have their families too,” I said. And, “but some people think that they must return for the country,” I added. “I fall on latter category,” I said with a smile. He laughed out. Ha ha ha ha “Well everybody thinks they need to do something for the country but nobody does,” he responded with further laugh. “If we meet here after 20 years we will have this conversation again,” I said joking. “I