May 27th brings us back to Kathmandu following four days at the annual VSO conference, at a venue in Godavari, an hour or so’s drive away from the city. This is also the date of Buddha Purnima, the worldwide celebration of the 2554th birth anniversary of the Buddha. Of significantly less global importance, it is also the birthday of a certain johnnyc1959! Sometimes fate deals some interesting cards….
On the eve of a still as yet unresolved constitutional situation, there may yet be a bitter irony in celebrating Buddha Purnima in Nepal, the country of his birth, at a time when wisdom, compassion and skilfulness appear to be in short supply amongst those who would run the country.
As of now (6.30 pm: 27 May 2010) the security situation from VSO’s perspective has improved and I (along with the other volunteers from the current cohort) will be traveling to our placements on Wednesday 2 June. I have met with representatives from the two partner agencies that I will be working with,(Sakriya Plus Nepal and Nava Deep Jyoti), both of whom deliver a range of services to people with HIV/AIDS in the Kavre district of Nepal. Hopefully my next blog entry will record the fact that I’m in situ, and begin to unpack some of what it is I’m going to be engaged in. However, as most of you will by now have realised, a week is a very long time in Nepal, and the latest news from the Himalayan Times is not altogether encouraging…
“Unified CPN-Maoist on Thursday decided not to extend the term of the constituent assembly unless Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal steps down.
A meeting of the party’s standing committee concluded at Paris Danda reiterated that the party would never support extending the CA’s term in the status-quo situation. Maoist spokesperson Dinanath Sharma said UCPN-Maoist would cooperate with the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML to extend the CA term only after the resignation of Prime Minister Nepal”
(Online update: 27 May 2010: 4.58 pm).
…and so Nepal waits.