Making do with alternatives: Youth talk about their struggle with the crisis

YouthsKathmandu / January 16: Despite the trying times of these past months, life has not come to a standstill. Now that the border blockades are reaching the four-month mark, we asked some young people to talk about how they’re coping today and to share their views about the blockade.

Rupak Parajuli, 23
Tech Blogger

Life has definitely changed since the blockade started in September last year. The difficult times of the initial months are somehow no more there. We are not inundated with rumors carrying false hopes of the blockade lifting soon either. I feel that if only we keep our patience intact we can get through this harrowing time. Of course things are still hard to deal with. I was in the middle of constructing a shop in Thamel when the blockade started and we’ve had to deal with a lot of hassles. My work has also been hampered because the Internet service providers have issued notices saying that the service might be interrupted due to their own problems. The black market is flourishing which is really bad for the development of our country. But I’m a positive person, and even though many of my friends are planning on going abroad, I plan to do my best in Nepal.

Ankita Thapa, 21
Graduate of Bachelor’s in Social Work

The first month after the blockade was probably the hardest and I didn’t know how to deal with the crisis. People thought the blockade won’t last more than a week, but months have passed and there’s still no sign of this blockade being lifted. Over all these months, people have gone through denial, panic, frustration, and helplessness, but as dealing with every other crisis our country has faced, we’ve finally accepted and somehow made peace with the situation. People have been dealing with the crisis in their own ways. My mom made use of mud stove to cook meals for the family when our cylinders ran out of gas. Traveling was a nightmare since all public vehicles ran stuffed with passengers way beyond their capacity. But slowly, we got used to the crisis just like how the many aftershocks following the April 25 earthquake stopped bothering us after some time. That said, however, I feel like we’re moving back in time. The country is in a sorry state. Gas and fuel are easily available to those who can afford to pay double or triple the original price, thanks to the flourishing black market, and we’ve seen inflation like never before. Is but is this the way a nation is supposed to function? We tell ourselves to remain patient, but until when?

Depti Chalise, 22
Graduate of Bachelor’s in Business Studies

The first two months of the blockade was extremely difficult. We were simply not ready for it. My family members had to queue up for hours for cooking gas but we didn’t have any luck. Traveling in public vehicles was a nightmare for everyone involved. I still remember how I struggled when I had to go from one place to another. Our main topic of conversation was the blockade. I would read up continuously on it and look up anything that suggested the blockade would be lifted. Nowadays life is much easier. I think it’s because I’ve become so used to the idea of the blockade and the hardships we’re going through. Like many others, I’ve just become more accepting of the situation. There are still difficulties like having to cook our meals on firewood. But traveling has become a lot easier than the earlier months. I know that the blockade will definitely ease up but I have no hope that it will happen soon. As for having faith in our leaders, they weren’t able to do anything effective these past months so what will they do now?

Upen Shakya, 28
Business owner from Chitwan

The situation has definitely eased at present, but the first few months were really difficult. Running a business during the time of crisis was extremely frustrating. To be honest, as I run a business in Tarai, the blockade had little effect on the initial days. I could only imagine the gravity of the situation by reading about the crisis being faced by people in the Capital. I remember how confused and depressed people were when the biggest Hindu festival Dashain was approaching and people’s supply of basic commodities was running dry. Thankfully, the situation is not that bad right now. Supplies have eased but the market price has soared really high. The government is being held responsible for everything, but I also believe that we as citizens have our duties, too. We can at least play an active role in discouraging black market. Hopefully things will come down to normal soon.

Akanchha Karki, 24
Psychologist

The sad truth of our current situation is that we have become complacent. We are aware that the problem is not solved but we’re simply overlooking it. I believe because we can’t stop our lives and in order to move forward, we have to manage somehow. All Nepalis have this ability to move with the flow which is a really bad trait. People have found alternatives for the solutions. The black market is flourishing but it might provide for some people’s bread and butter so what can we do about it? I think this has been easier for the middle class and upper middle class families in Kathmandu than for the rest of Nepal. During my work I come across children from affluent families in Kathmandu and when I ask them how this blockade is affecting them, they say they haven’t been able to enjoy pizza and chips as much as they’d like to. I don’t believe that the blockade will be lifted soon but when it does, it will happen without a great deal of excitement on the part of the citizens.

(Source: Republica Daily)

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