Friday, December 7, 2012

Kathmandu Poverty

In 2012 Kathmandu's population stood at 1,006,656 for a density of 19,500 per km (less than a square mile -- how is that possible?)  My home town of Langley is exactly one square mile and we have 1,000 residents.  Langley is not crowded, by any stretch of the imagination, but to add another 20,000 or so folks, bogles the questioning mind.

As the most important industrial and commercial centre in Nepal, Kathmandu serves as the headquarters of most companies, banks and organizations, not to mention a very important tourist industry.   Yet, poverty surrounds and permeates the city.  It can be seen everywhere -- the homeless children, run down city parks, crowded streets, and an unreliable electrical system.  Neighborhoods have rolling electrical blackouts daily.  From what it looks like, the city cannot keep up with its population as more and more people move in from the villages.  

Life is  difficult in Kathmandu and although that difficulty is masked behind smiles, the people suffer from hunger and life-on-the-streets.  It is humbling.   As the full impact of Kathmandu hits -- people's heavily burdened backs; filthy streets and streams; crowds and crowds of moving people; an unending sea of cars, trucks, made-from-discarded-parts vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles moving, always moving, always honking; wandering goats, cows, scratching chickens, packs of dogs, cats;  make-shift shelters or only a street corner as a bed -- all combine to make me feel blessed, even very rich.


Yessi and I are off to get tickets for the bus, our permits, and fuel.  We will be running around all day.  Staying here in Kathmandu again tonight.  


This photograph is of kids loading a pile of old packed garbage into an already too full truck.  They had to use a pick to get it apart then handed it up in plastic crates.

Dirty Work 

This stream needs a little work.

Dirty Water

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