Greetings one and all from Nepal,
Unlike other times when sending a mail, there really is not a lot to talk about with regard to progress or school programs. Like most of the rest of the world, the Covid 19 pandemic has affected life as we know it.
Nepal went into lockdown in late March 2020 when the first case of Covid 19 was detected. The lockdown lasted for three months. We managed to finish our final exams in Nagarhope Basic School just before the lockdown started.
Our local Municipality – Mandan Deupur partially reopened schools in its area (41 Government schools in total), albeit only three days a week and for 90 minutes each day. This only lasted three weeks as the monsoon rains started to cause havoc. Due to floods and landslides, the schools were closed again the second week of July.
At least the three weeks we had with students and teachers enabled us to transport books, copies, stationary and furniture to the school. Our student intake increased from 80 to 105, mainly due to locals whose wards had studied in Bhaktapur (which had not reopened schools) wanting to get their kids back to classes.
So, our students have books and copies at home, but not every house has a parent / older sibling to teach the students. The three week window also gave us the opportunity to some painting, fitting of doors and windows, and general maintenance.
Unfortunately, rather than the enforced weather closure enabling us to reopen again, a rise in cases in Nepal forced the government to reinforce the lockdown (now nearing a fourth week).
Any district (county) with over 500 cases is effectively shut to outsiders, shops (essentials) are only allowed open until 11am, all public and long haul transportation (as well as internal flights) are suspended indefinitely. Only 800 Nepali citizens are allowed to fly into Nepal each day, most of them Nepalese working abroad in countries also affected by the crisis.
Many of these workers had been laid off and unpaid for months, some were lucky enough to work for companies who paid their expenses to get home, but the majority had to borrow money on top of the money borrowed to get them there in the first place.
New cases are around 1000 per day in the country with about 5-15 deaths daily, both figures are rising slowly. There is no end in sight for now, our neighbour India has overtaken Brazil as the 2nd most affected country worldwide.
On the bright side, again the 3 week window gave Nagarhope some time to hold meetings, pass budgets, and get permission from some of the local authorities to run our programs for the year. Most of this is late, but local bodies understand the problems we all have been facing.
The festival time draws closer, my own families annual trip to the inlaws to celebrate will most likely not be possible, and even a trip back to Ireland with my family looks too far off on some distant horizon. But it is better to be safe, than ultimately sorry.
And so to sign off, a continuous thanks to all sponsors, donors, well wishers and volunteers on both sides. Stay safe one and all.
‘We get knocked down, but we get up again, you’re never gonna keep us down’.
Lets hope that a brighter immediate future lies around a corner not too far away.
Kind regards and thanks again.
Fachtna ‘Doc’ Clandillon
Please find 2 links below with videos of Nagarhopes work and school programmes: