In the morning light I tread to work each day, gloves on and scarf tight around my neck. It’s my favourite part of the day. The stark cold is a welcome contrast, it helps my brain to feel a little more sharp and alert somehow. The cobbled alleys are dotted with temples and people going about their morning rituals. Women tend the street markets with their fresh produce, wrapped up in brightly coloured woollen scarfs to keep out the cool bite of the winter air. In the distance I can hear the sounds of a musical group that circles the streets with symbols clanging in a spiritual rhythm. As they fade into the distance their music is replaced by the sound of sculptors tinkering away in their shops, tapping out a steady beat on brass.
The streets seem so busy with activity, despite the difficult winter this year. The recent earthquakes haven’t been forgotten and more than one in ten are still coping with damaged or destroyed homes. There is a fuel shortage that’s been gripping Nepal since October, testing the resilience of each family in it’s own way. The crisis has forced them to find creative ways to survive without electricity, fuel or gas.
More than ever, the streets are obscured with smokey air as mothers revert back to cooking over open fires. In the evening some will make small braziers on the streets to keep warm. Bicycles bustle past carrying market goods, buckets of water from the well and other loads as they go about their normal day with what means they have. On every corner groups of men sip their chai reading the newspaper. Each man has his own guess when the political stalemate will ease and this crisis end. For their sake, I hope it will be soon.