Thursday, 19 January 2017

Hello Blog

Salutations Blog




Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Pheri betaula Nepal

As expected the last few weeks did become manic and hence no blogging...

Work was busy with redrafting of documentation, still working around load shedding and Nepal once again sliding into crisis.

A particularly memorable day, when unable to use power in office or at home I was once again working on laptop in the embassy club, sitting with the manager as Prachanda the Maoist Prime-minister made his resignation speech. "So sad" my friend said quietly as he translated "when we had all had so much hope for change … but when the president just over-rules him …. they just do not want an integrated army. This will not be an easy time again for Nepal".

A week later and clearing and packing up the flat proved far less stressful than I had anticipated mainly due to the help of my replacement. Thanks go to volunteer friends who took most of the contents to furnish their own deras and to the helpful, well organised recommended by VSO, and later to Sharon who made it so easy for us the UK end.

My last evening was with my Nepali colleagues, ending up with a typical dahl baat. Then having said goodbye to my landlord and family, I finished my time in Nepal in Hotel Manaslu, warmly welcomed by the staff and treated to a beautiful, newly renovated room with many volunteers calling in to share a drink in the sunny garden.

Pheri betaula Nepal and to all my very special Nepali friends who allowed me to be alongside them and share in their lives as they work towards their vision of the future for Nepal's children.

Love Sheila xx

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Breaking news!

Well it's done! Flight is booked and 3 weeks today I expect to be back in Felpham - scary! But I won’t be able to just sit and sew cushions, shop, eat and lie on the balcony watching the sea for all the summer as I plan to go back to Singapore at some time in June. There, I'll let Roshan work whilst I further explore the city filling my self with spicy seafood and cold white wine – both much missed whilst in KTM! Well, maybe…I’m not sure I will have finished enough to step completely away from our task here of writing the standards and already my boss has said "Sheila-ji you will continue by email?"

During the past week I have had my replacement staying with me at the flat so we have been able to chatter away about work. I am not sure which one of us talks the most - me probably! Although she was not able to go on "the village stay", a memorable time for Roshan and I three years ago, she and I have really been able to use the time to catch-up and start the process of handover.

Much of the time these days I go to and from the office sitting with window seat on a government bus, with colleagues from other offices chatting, whilst I switch off for 40/50 minutes trusting the driver to take me though all the jams and queues for fuel until safely back in KTM, when I then walk for 10 minutes home. However, this evening was different. Firstly my bus was not in its usual place (fuel shortages again apparently) so joined those on the only government bus (usually 3 large and 2 micra) that was running. Before we left our office it was full with three people to a double seat and aisle full but then it continued to fill up at two more sites!

So a cheerful but noisy ride back into the north of the city where I transferred onto a white micra (mini) bus, only to find that a couple of hundred yards down the road traffic police stopped us and sent us into a small side street. All those going to my area got off and began to walk home. As so often here, I was immediately joined by a young man from the bus concerned that I knew where I was going, keen to talk about his family, studies and job and with an invite to call in for tea and meet the family. Later someone suggested the traffic stoppage was not related to this week's fuel problems but was very localised, connected to the ongoing dispute between Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff, whose "fate was (yet again) to be decided today", and interventions from supporters of the chief from the Radisson casino!!

Wednesday 29th

Having agreed that I should work from home today at 2pm I took a break and walked past the British Embassy expecting to see retired Gurkhas outside and thinking I would stand for few minutes in solidarity for the ongoing fight for staying in the UK, but all had gone by the time I walked by. So, I went inside to ask Ramesh, the ex-Gurkha who manages the Stirling Club in the Embassy.

He said that two groups had been outside earlier, I assume with petitions. He stressed that all had been calm and dignified and I suspect from the way he spoke, also very moving. Unlike, he reflected sadly, so many now in Nepal who demonstrate and get noticed by damage and hurting people and throwing stones. A depressing but unfortunately reality. Whilst the the club was empty he was watching BBC World News and I was very glad I had gone in and talked with him.

And even more pleased when on Thursday morning I woke up to email from Josie:

breaking news - MPs just voted against govt settlement plan for Gurkhas


Right, I’d better get on with work - home again today as probable traffic bandh and threats of demos later (but I might pop back to see Ramesh again to reflect on announcement and time lunch with a quick charge on laptop battery!).

Best wishes to all and I'll see some of you soon!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

A bit of a break

Sorry for the lack of updates, all left to me now and I’ve been away from Nepal as Josie and I met up for a few days holiday. We met in Kochi and spent time with Roshan's step mother Pauline, who has lived there many years. As her house is not in centre of the town we stayed in a hotel where we had great views. Pauline joined us each day and we spent most of the time chatting and enjoying being together in Kerala. Girlie fun – lovely!

Great to see the sea again too!

From Kochi, Josie and I went to Singapore. Easy direct flight and Silkair had promised good service and we got it and Roshan was waiting for us at Changi Airport with a wheelchair-friendly black cab to take us into the city. A bit surreal but the best accessible vehicles there apparently!

And then a week of lots of walking, exploring, socialising and for me fish eating. All very enjoyable although poor Roshan was up to his neck in work.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

A funny old world

So there I was in Kathmandu just getting to know the new VSO partner organisation I was going to work with and I get this e-mail from an old friend. "Need a Finance & Ops person in Singapore for 3 months, can you start next week?" Really difficult decision to leave VSO early but delaying until May, when we were due to finish, was not an option. Sheila thought I would need a new adventure post-VSO so encouraged me to say yes - I think the prospect of some time in Singapore blinded her to the reality of being on her own in Ktm and having to pack up the flat with no assistance from me (what's new she said). My bosses at VSO said they would be sad to see me go - although the Country Director's first question was "Will Sheila be staying?" - but understood that there is life after volunteering. A crazy 2 weeks finishing up in Kathmandu then 2 weeks ago today I arrived in Singapore.

As this is an interim job (the guy they thought they had recruited decided not to take up the offer), no gentle introduction back into the corporate world, I have been thrown in at the deep end including 2 days last week in Vietnam. Although I have no idea whether my new employer has a policy on blogs, it's probably not appropriate to tell you more about the job than it's finance & ops back in my old world of private equity (but not with 3i). After the first week staying with my friend/boss and his family, I'm now in a serviced apartment just 20 mins walk (pretty steamy even at 8am) from the office and close to plenty of late opening food courts. I'm on the 28th floor with a great view of the Padang and ships at anchor in the bay, I'll try and get some photos up soon.

My rapid departure from Nepal saved there being too many emotional farewells. There is no time now for reflection on 3 years in Nepal but I'm sure when I've finished 3 months in this dramatically different world, my memories of the place, the people, the work, the whole experience will remain hugely positive and continue to have an impact on how I view life - thank you Nepal, thank you VSO. I'll leave Sheila (with help from Josie) to keep up the great stories and pictures - and coping with load shedding, bandhs and packing up the flat, I'm sure she'll make me pay for this in due course!. For me, its not goodbye Nepal just
pheri betaula (see you again).