The ups and downs of life under lockdown in Nepal

on
11 May 2020
"Kathmandu is a concrete jungle. In my childhood, the river and green paddy field could be seen from my terrace which are now covered with only houses. Over the last 4 decades I have seen Kathmandu changing rapidly. Hard to say whether it is for good  ...
WaterAid/ Mani Karmacharya

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.

"This morning when I woke up, I saw my wife working. She has also started working from home like everybody else in the world at the moment. The window view outside attracted me to take her photo while she was deeply involved in the work. I was feeling ...
WaterAid/ Mani Karmacharya

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 is the cat that roams around our house all the time. I like cats, but it is not common for them to be kept as pets in our area. People prefer dogs to cats. Usually, when I see this cat it runs away. But this morning when I saw it from my balcony ...
WaterAid/ Mani Karmacharya

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.

"This is a mirror reflection of my living room. This is where my daughter passes the time on her mobile. Her school is closed for more than a month and most of the time she is hanging around on the mobile phone. My challenge is to divert her attention ...
WaterAid/ Mani Karmacharya

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. My daughter is 13 and she has grown as tall as my wife. It felt nice watching them trying to create some shadow images playing with the light on our terrace. It is a good feeling when you s ...
WaterAid/ Mani Karmacharya

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

"This is the daily blood pressure record of my mum. Due to the lockdown, I need to measure her blood pressure every day. I am doing this in case she is not well, and I can explain the history to the doctor on the phone to seek the right treatment. My  ...
WaterAid/ Mani Karmacharya

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.

"This is another living room downstairs where my parents live. My father, 79, is taking a nap while reading the newspaper. After the lockdown began, he does this very often because he cannot go outside. Going out and meeting with his friends in the ne ...
WaterAid/ Mani Karmacharya

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.

WaterAid's global COVID-19 response

WaterAid Malawi distributed handwashing facilities + supplies to Bwaila Hospital and Lilongwe Main Market along with literature promoting proper hygiene to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 response. Malawi. April 2020
WaterAid