1st Post: First Impressions
Leaving the very modest international airport of Nepal upon arrival led to my first encounter with Kathmandu. The way from the airport demonstrated the poor condition of infrastructure in the capitol; seriously damaged roads without sidewalks resulting in a chaotic reality where motorcycles, old cars and pedestrians are constantly fighting to pursue their path. It appears that a great deal of Kathmandu is such and decent roads are not the only thing that is missing. Electricity supply is limited, and load shedding is in order. This means that electricity is supplied at specific time intervals according to
area, and public street lights are practically nonexistent in many areas. Extreme poverty and filth, in a magnitude that was quite unfamiliar to me, is an integral part of the scenery. One of its most striking realizations is the horrible condition of the Vishnumati River that flows through the city (see photo).
My few days in the city so far were largely spent on getting familiar with the Israeli and Nepali staffs of the NGO that we intend to evaluate its community-based agricultural extension program, and designing the study. That among other things involved meeting local survey companies to discuss the terms and means for performing a baseline survey in the rural hilly area of Ramechhap, where our study is to be conducted. Questions regarding issues such as relevant agricultural and nutritional indicators, good control groups and treatment variability keep us busy.
This morning we traveled to a different rural area, a couple of hours from Kathmandu, where a previous project is about to come to an end, while tomorrow I intend to travel to Ramechhap itself. I plan to tour the area for several days since good information regarding the exact location of households and villages is unavailable. Mapping the area, with our research needs and queries in mind, will enable us to better our study design and move forwards towards running a baseline survey before the upcoming monsoon season.