Saturday, September 6, 2008
When I first trolled the internet and went into the Multnomah library to research Tharu culture for my second novel, I felt discouraged. A couple sites about tourists passing through left more questions than answers. I questioned myself in writing about a culture I know less about than Gurungs who I lived with in Nepal. But, I enjoy a research challenge. Besides, Nepal is a country I know. There are people I know who live in Nepal, work in Nepal, and still visit Nepal regularly. Many of my friends stay informed. So, as I researched the Tharu culture, I sent out two e-mails. Just two to a listserve of PC volunteers and to someone I know who lived in Nepal and still works with Nepalese artists. The response showed me, again, why I chose to write about Nepal. I'm still getting e-mails of photos, stories, titles of books, names of articles, and even documentaries. There is a monsoon of information out there, and people who want to talk about their experiences, who want to share.
This is Damian Jones' site. As written on his site: "Aid Through Trade™ was founded with a desire to bring the artistry and craftsmanship of Nepali designers to a western market, while at the same time improving the social and economic status for the artisan groups involved." His is one person I met in Nepal who never let go of the concept of "service".
Another person whose involvement in Nepal has been lifelong, and whose opinion I respect is Laurie Vasily. Laurie is a member of UNMN and is still actively working in Nepal.
Though I haven't gotten anything from Ravi Vadlamudi yet, I need to mention him. Ravi was my neighbor in Nepal and has been like a brother to me. He and his family just moved to Kathmandu so I'm sure I'll be picking Ravi's brain. Here's an article about Ravi's clinic in New Orleans. He's in the photo in front of his clinic.
Finally, Cora Clark. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer with me in 1990. Now she lives an hour away and has been a great sounding board. Here she is still talking about the Peace Corps.