A day of celebrations today in Nepal

Maghe Sankranti is a very welcome day in Nepal as it is a festival that primarily welcomes the return of the warm weather.  Today is that very day!  Night-time temperatures have ‘warmed up’ to 5 degrees in the capital and up to 18 degrees by day.  I can even feel the relief from here!

I have fond memories of such a day when I lived in Lok’s place in Banepa two years ago.  I even wrote a blog posting which you can check out here.

Magghe Sankranti breakfast (from left clockwise): hard boiled egg, til ko laddu with ghee, deep fried puri, pancake with fennel seeds and sakhar-khand curry.

Maghe Sankranti breakfast (from left clockwise): hard boiled egg, til ko laddu with ghee, deep fried puri, pancake with fennel seeds and sakhar-khand curry.  Photo Credit Kate Coffey

However for a better description of the festival itself from those who know, take a look at the blog posting written by friends of a friend of mine, Sonnia.

Also being celebrated today in Nepal is National Earthquake Safety Day to commemorate the 1934 magnitude 8.3 earthquake epicentred in Okhaldhunga that killed 10,000 people in Kathmandu Valley.  Not that the Nepalese need reminding of the effects that large earthquakes can have, after experiencing the April 25th and May 12th earthquakes last year.  The troubling thing is, last year’s earthquakes may not have been the Big One that was expected.  Take a look at what Kunda Dixit, Publisher of the Nepali Times, has to say about it.  Note the ongoing tips on what to do in the event of an earthquake, on the Nepali Times banner, top of the page.

SIRC ran a Disaster Preparedness Planning Training session yesterday.  They did such an awesome job last year when the two large earthquakes struck, you would think they would be experts by now.  But much has changed, there are new staff as well as patients come and go, so it’s important to keep the awareness going and Be Prepared!

Some SIRC staff hard at work during a group breakout session at yesterday's training

Some SIRC staff hard at work during a group breakout session at yesterday’s training.                      Photo Credit SIRC

The training was facilitated by Dr. Aashish Shrestha and Dr Sumana Bajracharya from Patan Hospital and included a simulation exercise to hone the staff’s skills on disaster response.  You can never learn enough really.

Kudos to SIRC for continuing this important practical training – it will save lives.

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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