Written by our Nepal Team
Life in Lockdown.
Nepal announced the first round of lockdown after the first case of COVID-19 on 23 March, 2020 and it is still going on with the extension until 14 June. The COVID-19 cases have reached 2,643 with 10 deaths as of today’s record and are increasing drastically since last week including Dhulikhel.
The lockdown has restricted people’s movement, banned the social gatherings, sealed the international border between India and Nepal and suspended the internal and international flights which have severely affected daily life activities. There are reports in the newspapers of increasing cases of mental health, suicide, stress and anxiety due to lockdown in the country. The situation seems quite upside down and full of uncertainty. People are losing their jobs and business, many people from Kathmandu and other major cities are walking miles to reach their homes in remote villages and the death news of pregnant women and children due to inaccessibility of timely treatment are some pathetic situations.
However, people in Dhulikhel are trying to cope with this unpredicted situations by following the guidelines of the government. Some people are working from homes, small shops are open during morning time for certain hours and vegetable sellers are seen on the street selling vegetables.
Despite having fear over coronavirus, the weather is quiet challenging now in Dhulikhel. Last week, it rained heavily with storm and hailstones resulting in power cuts and slow internet for few days. In addition, the heavy rainfall has damaged the water pipe causing the scarcity of water in households in Dhulikhel. It is still under maintenance.
Nevertheless, it has taught many people to self-educate themselves about the importance of health and personal hygiene, family life and sustainable environment.
Partner Schools Update.
Schools across the nation have been closed since March 2020 due to lockdown. Some private schools, however, in Kathmandu and Dhulikhel have engaged their students through virtual classes. The government schools are out of online classes as most children have no access to internet and technology.
The Nepal hub is in a regular contact with its partner schools to know the situation of students and to help them if they are in vulnerable situations. As per communications with teachers/principals, most students have gone their homes in remote villages and are out of contact with school staff because most parents of children at our partner schools are migrants and from low socio-economic backgrounds.
Now, the local government in Dhulikhel is taking steps to start distance learning through radio and FM to the students of government schools. However, there are questions regarding the feasibility and accessibility to the e-learning or learning through radios and other media with the students of our partner schools.
In June, the Nepal hub is planning to have virtual meetings with teachers from all our partner schools through Zoom/Google Meet to learn the situation. Also, we hope that we will get the ideas from teachers/principals if they want us to assist the kids during this lockdown and after the lockdown is shifted. Besides, the Nepal is planning to develop the curriculum and homework packs for our partner schools which will be used after lockdown.
Air Quality improves under COVID-19 in Nepal.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the public indoors for several weeks now in Nepal, it has improved the air quality in one of the most polluted cities in the world, Kathmandu. The environment experts argue that ‘as the movement of people and vehicles have been stopped and the industries are not allowed to operate, the air quality in Kathmandu has improved significantly.’
Fox news reports that coronavirus lockdown in Nepal has reduced pollution and even Mount Everest is visible from Kathmandu which is over 120 miles away. The streets in Kathmandu are clean, the flower trees on the pavements are seen blossoming and weather is clear without thick fogs over the Kathmandu valley for the first time in many years.
Neeru’s lockdown experience (Community Coordinator).
I am working from home now and can’t wait to meet with people and listen to their experiences once the situation get normal. During this unprecedented time, I have seen lots of changes in my surroundings. The best things, I have ever noticed during this situation is people are very much concerned about their health and safety as well as making an effort to make the lockdown more productive by engaging themselves in creative works and making sure that the surrounding is clean. It feels really good back home with clean road and fresh air. In my spare time, I am learning to cook and getting to know the name of different spices which I have ever heard.