PERSONAL STORY 3
"My name is Asmita, I am from Nepal and I am currently working as a program manager and youth coach/trainer in Kathmandu. The foundation I work for 'my Quest', organises youth talent training for Nepali youth and Dutch youth. I work mostly with the Nepali youth, but also communicate with the Dutch youth. This is why I have heard and seen a lot from the Netherlands. The training includes a several day trip in the mountains, where personal and motivational training is given. The training is inspired by a book written by Otto Scharmer - a popular writer for training in the personal developmental sector. The goal for the participants is to understand what they want to become in the future and have a goal in life.
Right this moment I am staying home, staying safe, like everybody in Kathmandu. With the NGO we are trying to make an online platform for the youth that is also required to stay home. This platform is especially made to decrease the loneliness a bit and maybe help with their mental health. The lockdown has affected us mentally, because we have not been able to socialize or live a normal life. The online platform has helped a lot to stay in contact with the youth. We are accepting the new normal. In Nepal the health and the economic crisis is at its worst, because we don't have enough measures in our hospitals and enough well-paying jobs in the country.
For me, the situation has not affected me much mentally, because of the online platform. The NGO has an online meeting every week, but I have gotten a bit bored. I consider myself lucky, because there are people around me that have lost their jobs. I don't go outside much - if I do it is for grocery shopping and small walks. Generally, walks have been prohibited by the government. I live further away from the roadside, so the police are not patrolling as much here. Since a week the police have gotten more strict and have been stopping more people even in my neighbourhood. This is probably because people with ''important'' jobs were able to go out more and then the numbers went up rapidly.
We take precautions by wearing masks and keeping distance. Quarantine is not fun, so we follow the guidelines hoping it ends quickly. Another reason is that the healthcare system is not good. I am not that scared of the virus, but more of the insufficient help in hospitals. The people who need to go in quarantine don't have the proper facilities and there is not enough nutrition. So they get more sick by staying in the hospitals (Busunke, 2020)."
Before the lockdown, MyQuest organized hiking expeditions for Nepali and Dutch youth (MyQuest Foundation, n.d.)
"Nothing much has changed in the past few weeks - I am still working from home. The number of cases has risen, but people are still taking it lightly. Some shops have reopened. People are suffering economically - they have lost their jobs and the government has done nothing to help them financially. In the middle of Kathmandu it is easier to open shops, cause there are less police officers or they are a bit more lenient.
Not every NGO is doing good. The NGO's in the health sector are providing aid, such as medication and/or supplies. The development sector has come forward to help people in financial crisis by providing them with food and supplies. The quest does not get any governmental help. Our NGO is mostly focusing on the mental health of our youth and social workers right now through a virtual program.
The children in the youth homes are still staying home, the help that they need is related to stress and their school exams, cause the question remains if they can go to college next year. We provide brain training and sometimes we simply listen to them. We do online sessions with the Nepali youth about mental health and the situation they are in. Furthermore, we have a lot of online meetings to keep in touch with colleagues.
When it comes to a prevention plan we should follow the measures that are in place right now - I believe that if people really follow those guidelines the number of cases will decrease. The lockdown has not helped much. If the government gave precaution rules for the entire country, the complete lockdown would not be necessary.
The main reason why the numbers are still rising is because we are a land locked country, between India and China. A lot of people work in India and some Indian people work here in Nepal. So a lot of people go in and out, without proper testing. The border cannot be closed, because we are dependent on the supplies, trades and goods from India. The border should have more control and only allow people to travel when absolutely necessary. We need to put the immigrant workers who return from India in quarantine. The government is not doing that right now and this is causing much more cross infection.
(We asked if she knew anything about people in camps and getting shot for escaping as heard in a previous interview) I don't believe that happens. There are a lot of news sources, some bad and some good, I am following the right sources. But if people are not following the quarantine rules, they could be locked up for a little while. The government should provide more healthcare, for example the corona virus check-up. They have not invested money in the right equipment. The hospital doesn't have the right equipment and the private hospitals charge more if you are in a serious situation (Busunke, 2020)."
Busunke, A. (2020, May). Personal story COVID-19 from MyQuest Foundation (Y. Wilts, M. Bakker & N. Soumauh, interviewers)