We’re here! After a gruelling marathon of packing and another week’s unexpected delay, we finally arrived in Kathmandu on Tuesday 14 December. I’m afraid we didn’t capture any of the stunning mountain views that we had from the plane as we flew in. Since we landed in the urban winter haze, our views have been more like this one (from our house roof this morning):
We’re planning to take a breather just after Christmas and go look for some proper Himalayas (and fresh air) on the Kathmandu valley rim.
At the moment, though, we’re completely absorbed in unpacking and settling in. We live in a neighbourhood with many helpful neighbours, who have helped us immeasurably with the transition. And we’re blessed to get to move straight into the house where we expect to be living long-term, rather than having to house-hunt on arrival like so many other newcomers.
As a former Tearfund house, it comes furnished and includes a great water filter and backup electricity system — hugely helpful in a city where the mains water doesn’t reach much of the population (including us), our well water is thick with bacteria, and the power goes off daily for several hours. We also have Internet (I’m writing this from our sitting room).
And of course, the most important feature from Caleb and Isaac’s perspective:
Muffin the dog, our first family pet, came along with the house. We’d kept her as a special surprise for the boys, who love dogs and were duly appreciative.
On a more sobering note, we’ll write more in the New Year about the broader context here — the ongoing impact of earthquake and blockade. As UMN director Mark Galpin said at the office Christmas celebration on Friday, 2015 has been a year of extraordinary hardship for Nepal; we can all pray that 2016 will be a year of extraordinary recovery.
For now, we’re so grateful to everyone who has been praying for us personally. We’re specifically thankful for answered prayer around Caleb’s transition to Nepal: he did well in his goodbyes in England, and he’s been enthusiastic ever since we got here. While there will doubtless be negative emotions as well, he’s beginning with delight, which is great to see. He’s also decided he likes momos, which up til now have been “too strong flavour” for his taste.
We’re also grateful for many other little things that have gone more smoothly than we’d expected. For example, before we even arrived we found out that we were one of 4 UMN families to win a lucky draw for 4 half-full cooking gas canisters out of a storeroom — a real blessing at a time of fuel shortage. So hallelujah! We’d be grateful for continuing prayer on the following points:
- Peace, patience, and joy as we learn the ropes. Needless to say, many aspects of life here take more effort than in the UK… whether it’s navigating broken pavements in our buggy, making sure the barrel of earthquake supplies in the back yard is properly stocked, or washing all fruit and veg in the proper solution to kill off the parasites. It takes plenty of energy; please pray that it doesn’t sap our joy.
- Good health for us all, especially Caleb and Isaac. We’ve all brought colds from the UK — appreciate prayer for quick recovery and that we don’t get the inevitable stomach bugs too soon!
- Green space. Kathmandu is densely built-up, and one of the changes we feel most painfully is the loss of all the parks that surrounded us in London. Happily, our Australian neighbours have a grassy back garden much bigger than ours, and are happy for the boys to play there; we also know of a hotel or two in the area with green space that we can enjoy when we drop in there for coffee or lunch. But please pray that we keep finding green spaces where the boys can play freely.
- For us all to quickly make friends, but especially for Caleb and Fiona to find kindred spirits.
- For continued protection – spiritual, emotional, physical.
- For our air freight, 42 painstakingly packed boxes, trunks, barrels, and suitcases which should have arrived yesterday but has now been delayed. Please pray for quick passage through customs and minimal fees.
- A resolution to the Nepal-India border blockade. This still seems a fair way away, after a bit of a false dawn last week. More trade is leaking across the border; but prices are still extraordinarily high and fuel queues long.
- For Fiona’s Mum, Dad, and sister, who helped enormously in getting us out the door. Please pray rest and recovery for them.
Thank you — and a blessed Christmas to all!