i had so many witty and interesting things to write... quips about my pre-travel preparations and my "roommate is moving in while i'm gone" preparations... deep and insightful thoughts about my upcoming trip (i leave tomorrow!!)...but all of that has taken a back seat to the email that i received a few minutes ago from nepal. there is a political strike going on that has lasted 18 days and has blocked off the western region of nepal (the area where i'm headed) from the rest of the country. the roads are blocked and nothing is moving up or down the mountain. i am headed to kathmandu and from there, i will try to see if there is a way up to dadeldhura. i desperately want to visit the area that i'm called to serve. i have had to walk by faith and not by sight for so long now...i can't bear the thought of getting that close and not getting to "see" where i'm going! i will do my best to remain flexible, though, and just pray that god has me where he wants me and where he needs me. the hospital is running out of diesel fuel to run the generator. here is an update from the medical director at the hospital there:
Please pray with us. We are on day 15 of a bandh (general strike) here in the Far West of Nepal. There have been no supply trucks coming in from the lowlands – where most of the food, and all of the fuel, medicines, and supplies are brought in from. Vehicles have not been allowed to be on the roads. Starting a few days ago, all of the shops and offices here have been shut down as well. Usually bandhs do not last this long and are not this severe; but because the deadline for the Nepali constitution is coming up in a couple weeks, various political groups are staging bandhs across the country (to put pressure on the government).
Patient flow at the hospital has dropped significantly due to the roads being closed. The hospital has a back-up generator for when the power goes out (which happens for hours every day here), but since there have been no supply trucks to bring diesel up here, we will only be able to run the generator there for an hour a day. No one knows when this bandh will end – it might last for another couple weeks. If the protestors do not allow supply trucks to come up the mountain soon, we will eventually run out of needed supplies at the hospital.
Our family is okay for now – we still have food in the fridge and in our pantry, and some greens growing in our garden. But most people here do not live with that kind of margin. There is some local produce grown here, but not enough to sustain the whole population here for very long. Because of the bandh, many people have not been able to go to work and earn money to feed their families. Given that the average yearly income in the Far West is less than $200, being out of work for a few weeks hits many families very hard.
Please pray for Nepal and that this bandh will end soon. The situation is not violent here, so we do not fear at all for our safety. But tensions are high across the nation as the constitution deadline approaches. God only knows how many people have suffered because of this. We will try to update you all when we can.
so- tomorrow i head out to see my future. my prayers are that i get to see it up close and personal, and not from half a country away. bon voyage!