The ups and downs of life under lockdown in Nepal
Nepal reported its first cases of COVID-19 in January 2020 and there’s currently a country-wide lockdown in place.
Our Voices from the Field Officer for Nepal, Mani Karmacharya, who lives in the capital, Kathmandu, reflects on the ups and downs of life in lockdown, the opportunity to spend more quality time with family and the challenges of staying creative at home.
Week one of lockdown: fun family time
The very first week of lockdown was completely fine as I was happy to be with my family. Usually I spend most of my time outside of the home, in the field, gathering content about the communities we work in. My wife used to complain that I should reduce the field visits so that I could spend more them with them, and because of the lockdown, now I am!
Like many people across the world, this is the most time I’ve ever spent with my family. It is fun to be with them all the time; cleaning, cooking, working, washing and watching movies together. I never anticipated this to happen in my life.
The challenge of staying creative at home
Today, as I write, we’re in the 44th day of the lockdown, and I’m a bit restless. I have started missing the field trips, interacting with people, experiencing new environments, photography, filmmaking and freedom. I feel like those were my best moments.
But there is an opportunity here to do something innovative. It’s very difficult to be creative with the circumstances and environment where you’ve lived for many decades. You tend to take everything for granted and see nothing special. I accept this challenge and continue to try and motivate myself to keep my spirit high and be more creative.
Nature is having its revenge
My wife has also started working from home like everybody else in the world right now. The window view outside attracted me to take her photo while she was deeply involved in her work.
It also got me thinking about how free nature is in the outside world since all of us human beings have been locked down inside our homes. Perhaps this is the revenge that nature is taking for us intruding into its space.
This cat roams around outside our house all the time. I like cats, but they're not commonly kept as pets in our area - people prefer dogs. Usually, when I see this cat it runs away, but this morning when I saw it from my balcony, it gave me a look as if to say, “look human, I am as free as anything and you guys are locked inside."
Distracting my daughter from her phone
Here you can see my daughter in the mirror reflection in our living room. She’s 13. Her school is closed for more than a month and like many teenagers, she passes the time on her mobile phone.
My challenge is to divert her attention from the digital device to some other creative things such as painting, singing, dancing and book reading, but so far, I have been very unsuccessful. It's likely that every parent in the world is facing this same issue during the lockdown as you cannot even tell your kids to go outside and play.
Witnessing the bond between my wife and daughter
This is my wife and daughter playing with their own shadows on our terrace. I get a good feeling when I see how friendly they are with one another. While I see my daughter growing, I tend to forget that I am getting older every day too. Thanks to lockdown I can spend a lot of time with my family and witness the bond between two generations.
Looking after my parents
Since the lockdown, I’ve been monitoring my mum’s blood pressure daily in case she becomes unwell, so I can explain her history to the doctor on the phone to seek the right treatment. My mum had a stroke about four years ago. She didn’t recover fully but at least she remains fairly independent, going about her daily jobs, which is something.
We have another living room downstairs where my parents live. You can see my father, 79, taking a nap while reading the newspaper. He’s been doing this a lot since the lockdown began because he can’t go outside. His daily routine has been affected a lot. Going out and meeting his friends in the neighbourhood was his daily routine, which he now can’t do.