Rugs on Display, Kathmandu Nepal, 1983
Bhutan In The Headlines October 21, 2016
It’s not often that you see a headline story about the tiny country of Bhutan, but such was the case when I picked up the Seattle Times a few days ago. In a way it was a heartwarming story – but also a sad one. The Nepalese are/were a minority community in this Himalayan Kingdom. But during the years we were there in the late 1980’s there were rumblings of expelling the Nepalese, even though they had been there for generations.
The headline story in the Seattle Times made this very personal. Here was a Nepalese/Bhutanese family – the family members had been separated for many years. They were among the more than 100,000 ethic Nepalis who were expelled from Bhutan in the early 1990’s (this was just after we left). In 1992, 15 members of the Biswas family fled their home in southern Bhutan in the back of a truck. They had sold their livestock and the land they had farmed for generations. They crossed India and found safety in a refugee camp in eastern Nepal.
Starting in 2009 waves of the family were resettled in Tukwila in South King County Seattle. The headline and feature article featured the last of the family to arrive here in Seattle from the refugee camp. A happy ending to a sad story.
For more details and pictures see the Seattle Times, October 17, 2016
I hope there is a happy ending for our many Nepalese friends we knew in Bhutan.
Memories of Nepal May 4, 2015
With Nepal so much in the news these past few days, numerous memories were triggered. Here is one which I will share.
My mother served in the Peace Corps in Nepal 1964-1966. She was a librarian and her assignment was to catalog the 9,000 books in the library of Tribuvan University in Kathmandu. A daunting task. The library was accessed by a winding somewhat insubstantial winding staircase. When the U.S. Ambassador, a man of some girth, was coming to visit there was some concern that the stairs would not prove worthy of the occasion. Nevertheless, all went well and all survived. I wonder if the library stairs survived the recent 7.6 earthquake.
Following is an article about the U.S. Ambassador who visited the library all those years ago. Note in the article there is a photo of the Ambassador and his wife greeting Queen Elizabeth when she visited Nepal in 1961. In 1961 Nepal was just opening up to foreign visitors. Prior to this time diplomatic relations were handled from Delhi.
A Few Photos From Bygone Days December 14, 2010
I continue to find photos in the various archives that I am sorting through. Here are a few snippets.
1985 or 1986, at my loom Glimokra loom which I had included in our shipment to Bhutan – this was a lovely spot for the loom in our house. Look at that sunshine, and note the sweater I am wearing – nice and warm, handknit from Nepal. ( The sweater was purchased for me by a friend in Bangladesh who travelled to Nepal and brought it back for me. It was only a couple of years later that I got to wear it in Bhutan) Our living room there in Bhutan was very big – and very cold in the winter unless the sun was shining or we were nestled near the Bukari, the woodburning stove
In London one time we were visiting one of the sons and we were wandering around in the Antiques Market in Chelsea. I saw a painting which reminded me of this one. I dithered about buying it – 100 pounds seemed like a lot and besides how could we get the painting back to Dublin. Alas, I didn’t buy it and I’m sure you can tell that I have regretted that ever since.
rugweaving, Kathmandu, 1983, note the cartoon of the dragon pinned up at the top of the loom – we bought several rugs in Bhutan that had that pattern so this workshop might have been where they were coming from.
I’m not sure – this workshop might have been a workshop for Tibetan refugees. Maybe someone can fill me in here.