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Thank you Nepal

Saturday, August 1st, 2015
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e8sKxBHPeregrine Frissell

Like many international travelers, I had made my plans to come to Nepal well in advance of the quake. After 25 April I was discouraged by many people who knew of my plans.

Stuck in the pall of assumption and misinformation, they encouraged me to stay home where they presumed it was safer. They thought I was trying to be the hero, swooping in after the disaster to lend my infinite wisdom and guidance as a 20-year-old college student. Everyone claimed to know that the last thing Nepal needed was for me to go.

I wasn’t alone in that situation, and the result is too many people didn’t come. That defeatist attitude continues to sap Nepalis it is intended to protect. The economy of Nepal and the livelihoods of many individuals I’ve spoken to over the past two months rely on tourists. And those tourists are missing out on an experience of a lifetime when they cancel their plans here. Nepal doesn’t need my infinite wisdom or my guidance. It needs people to come and witness its majesty, serenity, and resolve in the face of a rebuilding process many in the West can’t even contemplate.

Everything is being rebuilt, not just buildings. Politicians are rebuilding their reputations as well as the country’s potential by working on the new constitution. Writers and journalists are rebuilding the national image. But it’s the ordinary, working citizens that present a tenacity that’s inspiring to me. The women dressed in beautiful traditional clothing and the men in flip-flops and shorts tossing bricks from a monstrous pile to the back of a waiting truck. The children helping to cook under tents in the middle of a chaotic city, or gather food in the high mountains of Rasuwa, journalism was not even a speck in the vast expanse of the mountains of Nepal.

However, if I had been able to read the words I myself have written in the last two months while here I would have been much more confident in my decision to come. That is worth a lot, and I feel proud to have been able to cover Nepal’s recovery process.

That message isn’t breaking news to anyone here, but it’s the beginning of a piece of the long-term transition back to normalcy. Nepalis are proud of their country, and as I move on in my education and career, I will never stop encouraging others to come too. And of course, the adage has proved true: visiting Nepal once is never enough.

Until next time.

Peregrine Frissell was a summer intern at Nepali Times.

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