When my father announced that those over 70 years old in the UK were required to self-quarantine for three months, I was horrified. “Three months! That’s ridiculous!” was my reaction. Oh, if only I had known!
Now that those over 70 have reached their 12-week mark, my mother is looking forward to visiting friends and sitting in each other’s gardens for coffee. The Scottish government may have other ideas but, basically, my parents have ‘done’ their three months.
Meantime, over in Nepal we are now entering our 12th week of lockdown. But unlike in Scotland, there is no end in sight. Neither are we updated daily (not updated at all) on what the future plans are, nor are we encouraged to ‘keep up the good work’. And good work we have done. Certainly in Kathmandu we have pretty much behaved ourselves and stayed at home as directed. We, citizens and others, who live in the country, did our part. But where are the authorities? Aren’t they supposed to do their part too?
As mentioned, unlike in Scotland, we are not updated on what is happening around the country, what the current plan of action is, or what future plans are. We were not even told the lockdown could be expected to go on for some time. Treated like children, we were give a few hours overnight to prepare for lockdown (well how could we?) and told it was for a week. Repeatedly told ‘for another week’ and then ‘for another two weeks’. Treat people like children and you are likely to get childlike behavior I would say. Thankfully those in Kathmandu did not revert to their early years, but who would blame them if they did?
The past week or so I have been following someone based in the Karnali Region who has her finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the west of the country with regards to returning migrant workers. Interestingly although she gives much credit to local volunteers, village grassroots committees, and local level government bodies, the driving force behind galvanizing people to come together and telling us what is really happening is not a Nepali. No, she is American.
I don’t really have more to say. We know many gaps exist, which are hurriedly being filled by civil society. We are being put in front of smoke screens to keep our focus away from the main issues. Nepali citizens are not children! They are mature adults with a desire and ability to understand the real picture, given the chance. Now, and next time—and there is always a ‘next time’ catastrophe in Nepal—there should be honesty and accountability.
This affects your life and the lives of those you love. So, raise your voice. But do it while staying home