Nepal has imposed a nationwide lockdown from today until March 31st. Thankful that last week is behind us (and stocked up on goods), admittedly nervous about what the future may hold, and both excited and intimidated by the week ahead… figure I have some time to do a little blogging.
We anticipated the quarantine, and while we are accustomed to frequent hand washing, wearing masks, and a lack of toilet paper here in South Asia, spending the last week tracking down extra gas cans and filing crates with an emergency stock of rice, dal, oil, flour, canned goods and water bottles made everything feel so scary. This pandemic is leaving no community unaffected, and all across the world we are facing our mortality, our connectedness, our diconnectedness, our fears, idols, and uncertainties; I have certainly exercised taking every thought captive.
Nepal is still a developing country, and despite the talent within and natural resources surrounding, Nepal relies heavily on tourism, remittances and imports. Very little is produced locally, and with international travel shut down and the border closures, Nepal is at risk of a significant decline of resources if the current state of affairs is to remain. The government has ensured that the country has an adequate stock of essential goods and has warned that severe action will be taken against traders found to be hoarding or promoting black marketing, but that hasn’t kept residents from planning ahead. Just after the lockdown was announced our local shop was flooded with patrons. I suspect that only time will tell the reality and seriousness of the sustainability of available goods. In the meantime, we aren’t panicking by any means, but plan to consume cautiously. One of my Nepali friends was telling me that Nepalese are a strong and resilient people; they have lived through shortages, blockades, and crisis and they know how to make do with less. Our conversation put a lot into perspective and led me to reevaluate my initial thoughts on what the “essentials” are. As I was out shopping for extra, I remembered those who don’t have the luxury to fill their cupboards, let alone a second freezer, or to purchase an extra tank of gas. We purchased goods for our Did’s and for others, and instead of buying finished goods, I’m prepared to go “Little House on the Prairie” style and make breads and cleaners and hygienic products.
There is a park directly across from our home, and while not a sole is visible and the ordinary sounds of two-wheelers, children playing, the veggie guy, street dogs barking at passersby, and the sounds of work at the construction site down the road have all ceased; the warm sun and the peaceful air is inviting, and my kiddos spent the afternoon building a basketball hoop in our driveway (luckily, we had rounded up all the needed materials yesterday). I suppose this bliss will end and before the week is up they’ll run short on constructive pastimes.
Fortunately, we are mostly healthy. Though, there has been some funky something bouncing through our community since Nov/Dec. And while just a handful of our friends have been more seriously ill, we have only experienced a few low grade fevers, diarrhea, and coughs that we’ve been able to manage with a homemade syrup and oregano oil. Whatever it is, it’s lingered a long time however. Just as I thought we were in the clear again; We have some more coughing, and I had my round of tummy trouble last night and woke up with a headache and something in my chest that I’m trying to clear out with my handy oils and home remedies. Surly, it’s nothing serious, but I’d be lying if every time someone sniffles or coughs or anyone experiences any symptom of any kind I’m not a little bit fearful. I do trust that God is in control. Once again I’ve opened to Psalm 91; a rock that has been a peace and a refuge to our family through several difficult seasons, and one that speaks particularly to these present circumstances.
As the afternoon rolls into dusk, I’ll prepare 10 bbq and pineapple chicken burgers for dinner, give the kids another round of vitamins, and later we’ll settle into an episode of When Calls the Heart; And Lockdown Day 1 in Nepal will come to a close.