It’s been two months now since we landed in Kathmandu — and the big news is that, praise God, the Nepal-India blockade is ending. Fuel and other goods are starting to come across the border again!
The damage done is nonetheless sobering: “Nepal lost over 200,000 jobs, inflation hit double digits, post-earthquake reconstruction was delayed and the economy was devastated to such an extent that it may take a decade to recover.”
For our part, we’ve got by on one cylinder of cooking gas, with lots of our meals cooked on electric power (either during the 4-5 hours of city power we’ve been getting per day or using a slow cooker that can run on our solar/battery system). We’ve generally got around on foot or using jam-packed public transport rather than using local taxis (which are usually quite cheap, but not these days). We’ve been fortunate not to need medicines, and we’ve been able to afford the heightened prices of basic goods. But every few days, we’ve heard stories from less lucky Nepali friends, teachers, and neighbours that remind us of just how hard the blockade has hit people around us.
So thank you to everyone who has prayed for an end to the blockade! We have other answered prayers to report:
- We’ve all been in reasonably good health — notwithstanding a couple of days off for colds and mild tummy trouble. Last weekend, Caleb and Isaac had their first bout of vomiting, but in both cases were feeling fine again in less than 24 hours. Compared to other friends’ experience with frequently unwell young kids, we feel very fortunate.
- Caleb has made quite a few friends (he likes to recite a list of their names) and is enjoying the kindergarten he started attending in January.
- We’ve continued to find green space, often by getting up to the edge of the Kathmandu valley for a day or two.
On a recent visit there, we experienced our first earthquake — a 5.2 magnitude tremor that hit around 10 pm. There was a loud roar and plenty of shaking, but no damage to anything in our room. Sleeping Caleb gave a squawk when Fi rolled him down to the carpet, but didn’t remember anything of it in the morning; Isaac didn’t even stir.
Talking with our friends and neighbours afterward brought home to us how many continue to live with fear and the aftereffects of last year’s trauma. For them, a big tremor like the one we felt can be terrifying. Some live in houses they know are less safe (despite a government engineer clearing them) but which they can’t afford to repair properly.
- Good language learning. Both of us have started Nepali language lessons, meeting with a teacher for two hours a day. It’s going well — it helps that we both bring an existing familiarity with the alphabet and some vocabulary. But we need to increase our practice time.
- For us to find the right church and homegroup for us. We have been going to an international church, and will be looking at Nepali-speaking churches as well. So far, we don’t feel that we’ve found a “home” where both us and our boys will be spiritually fed. We recognise our responsibility in this, but nonetheless need some form of deep fellowship.
- For deep friendships, especially for Fiona.
- For the nature of Joel’s job to become clear, which should happen in the coming month. Please pray for the right fit for him and us as a family.
- For continued protection – spiritual, emotional, physical. We know we are in a very different spiritual landscape here and have been very aware a couple of times of just how much we need God’s protection. We’ve also felt anew the great freedom we have been given that we need NOT fear because the Spirit that is in us IS greater than the spirits that are in the world.
- For Isaac’s sleep to improve. Joel, to his credit, is dealing with Isaac at night but this is having an effect on Joel’s resilience to bugs and overall capacity.