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Home thoughts

Friday, March 12th, 2010

IMG_0558Visit any part of the world, and you will be certain to meet a Nepali these days. They all have stories of hopes and struggles, of being driven out of their homeland because of the lack of jobs and prospects. Excerpts of conversations with some compatriots I ran into on a trip this week.

Prakash S, Saptari at Kathmandu airport security check
“I am on my way to Kuwait. I paid Rs 80,000 to a dalal to get a work permit and ticket. They will send us to a shop and we have to do factory type work re. I will be paid Rs 8,000 a month. Maybe with OT I may even get Rs 10,000. The first year I will have to pay back the rin I took. After that I think I can start sending money home. I am going with two friends from Saptari and there are six others going to the same shop. Yaha kam chhaina. You will be lucky to get a job that pays Rs 3,000. People who have gone before say it is hard work, but you can save Rs 100,000 in three years. I can take care of my family with that.”

Gita K, Gaurighat at Doha airport transit
“I was a management graduate, I looked for employment in banking and insurance in Kathmandu, but they were clerical jobs and paid only Rs 10,000 a month. Now I am at the passenger assistance desk, and I get paid 2,300 riyals (about $600) a month. This is much better than some ketis  from my college. They are graduates but work as maids because they can’t afford to send their children to boarding schools in Nepal. I am lucky. I got this job because my English is good. If Nepalis learn English, or get some other sip talim before they go abroad their amdani can double. Most Nepalis here, even at this airport, are doing cleaning or manual jobs. My supervisors are from India, Bangladesh and Philippines and they are managers because they are better educated.”

G M, Tanahu, returning from Dubai
“At the moment things are really bad in Dubai. Lots of Nepalis have been laid off, especially in construction and other unskilled jobs. Many had their contracts terminated and they went back with any savings. I was lucky because I came to work in the information technology section of a petrochemical plant and help with data processing, and there haven’t been any layoffs and the earnings are good. Mero kamai mahina ko $400 jati chha. I am going home for a vacation after three years. I am really happy to be going back after so long. I am the only son, and my ex-serviceman father takes care of my family so I have been able to save quite a bit. I don’t know what I will do with my savings yet. Bihe? Khoi. But tell me: is Nepal’s economy ever going to improve? Will our netas be able to agree and write a new constitution?”

Sarad L, Jhapa, houseboy at Doha hotel
“I am really enjoying it here. I earn much better than I would in Nepal, where I worked as a waiter at a restaurant in Thamel. I get to meet new people, the hotel is very well managed. If you say you are Nepali in Qatar the guests in the hotel are very nice to you. Ramro bebahar garchhan. I earn quite a lot from overtime and tips–more than my salary. I will go home next year and I am sending about $100 every month to my family in Kakarbhitta. I don’t regret coming here, but I wish I had a college degree and could speak English or Arabic, because I could get promoted.”

Dipak, yellow cab driver,  Manhattan
“I came here 18 years ago, went to a good college and graduated in computers. I got a job, but got laid off in the current recession. I sat for the taxi exam. It was pretty easy. They test your English and you have to memorise the street names. Kamai ramrai chha, but I am embarrassed that I am driving a taxi. My family back in Nepal doesn’t even know. You aren’t going to write about me are you? If you do please don’t reveal my name. You are my first ever Nepali passenger. My Bangladeshi friend used to make nearly $10,000 in two months driving taxis in New York every summer. He invested it in a construction company in Dhaka and is doing a big business. But with the recession these days, earnings from taxis are down. Tara kamse kam jagir ta chha. I am definitely going back to Nepal someday. This is no place to live, especially for children. I don’t want my daughter to forget about our culture. I want to start a business, and maybe live half the time in Nepal and half the time here. What is happening to the dual citizenship proposal? I wish the rajniti back home would settle down, and the economy would improve.”

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9 Responses to “Home thoughts”

  1. Sam on Says:

    All of these stories speak of a simple truth. Nepalis, whatever they do and whereever they are, are very hard working people who are very loyal to whomever they work for. How nice would it be if someone could find a job that pays them Rs 10000 so people like Gita could stay home.

  2. Arjun Neupane on Says:

    Its my personal request to Mr Kundan Dixit to be here in Singapore and write what the overseas nepalese thinks about their country, economy and the leaders. What is their optimism and patriotism. Whats their opinion and how does it matters to our nation. Is our very own future linked with the peace and prosperity of our nation?

    We just need your help to make our voices audible to the ordinary people that “we have a common dream as we are from the same nation. The agendas that matters will definitely matters us”.

    Hope to welcome you in singapore very soon.

    Thank You

  3. Sam on Says:

    I am of the personal opinion that Nepalese do not have to go to overseas to find menial jobs. Nepal itself has great potential in many areas like tourism, construction, hydropower, construction, and many others. But we need to build basic facilities like water, electricity, good governance, security to attract investor from India and other countries. But the core of the issues is that our political leaders are not interested in creaing such enabling enviorment. They are only keen is minting money by hook or crook.

  4. PrashaN on Says:

    All the well-educated people in Nepal should get into politics. I am not studying anything related to politics, as a matter of fact, it is accounting, but I wish to join Nepali politics. How bout you, Mr Dixit?


  5. DeadNationalism on Says:

    easy to put the blame on the leaders.. but we fail to realize that they are mere ‘actors’ of our collective attitude. nepal doens’t need a political revolution. a ‘cultural revolution’ (please disregard the Maoist connotation) is what we need. changes in the way we think and form opinions .. however trivial it may be.

    neither imported political doctrines nor ethnopolitics is the answer to our multi-faced turmoil.

    escape from this predicament lies in ourselves and ourselves only.

  6. Portlander on Says:

    Nepali, USA – “I came to US to get my bachelor’s degree. I finished my schooling in 4 years with the help of scholarships and 3 on-campus job. I then started working in the US. It has been 9 years now”. Now I am going back home to get started on a new adventure. I had spent a couple of months in Nepal after three years ago when I came to get my work visa. I felt good about being back home. People complain that Nepali is polluted and all other things. I feel that people are they way they are because not everyone is educated. I was the same way before I came here in the US. Now I have learned better (may be) and need to take this learning back home and share.

    I am making my journey back with a hope I can do something. Create employment, educate the youths, build innovate and hard-working group to re-build Nepal, strengthen farming and healthcare, bring the correct and right technology…….I feel like I am jumping into unknown space although I grew up in Nepal. I think I need to face the challenge and ready to give it a try no matter I fail or pass, the effort will be worthwhile. As for politics, I will try to say out of it, but I know I will have to deal with it to get my paperwork moving………..

    My parents, my motherland, my people……….. I am coming back and I look forward to working with you all.

  7. May on Says:

    God bless you Portlander! Welcome home. And wish you all the best in your new adventure. I am sure that you will find it fulfilling in every way.

  8. Portlander on Says:

    Thank you May……….. I sure will give it a try. I have nothing to lose. I just do not want to have a regret in life about my decision to stay and settle down abroad. I admire the effort people make to go back home to try out something after all the education and the experience they have attained.

  9. vortex on Says:

    This comment has been removed by the moderator.

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