The Peace Corps office in Washington, D.C., announced on April 29, 2015, that all Peace Corps volunteers and trainees would be “temporarily leaving Nepal and returning to the United States.”
Just before noon on Saturday, April 25, 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck with its epicenter in Gorkha district. You can get details on the earthquake from Wikipeddia’s article, April 2015 Nepal earthquake.
Anyhow, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions for us. Facebook put in touch immediately with family and friends with its brilliant Safety Check but then tormented us with a endless stream of horrible news and troubling reports.
Langtang and Sindhupalchok districts were hit hard by the earthquake. The latter, however, served as the training site in the city of Chautara for the return of Peace Corps to Nepal from 2012 onwards. Many host families who had opened their homes to Peace Corps trainees were affected.
Nepal PCV Ben Wagner has a collection of Peace Corps/Nepal volunteer blogs from groups N/199, N/200, and N/201 at Namaste, Nepal: Other PC Nepal Blogs.
Wagner hasn’t included his own blog in the list, so when you head over spend some time reading about his experiences growing mushrooms and whatnot.
I hear the N/199 group is doing well at the PST in Chautara, Sindhupalchok district. Very exciting. I am following a few of the PCV blogs with what I will admit is mix of admiration and envy. I said never again, but ah, to do it all over again—wait! no, I wouldn’t. I mean, I would, but I don’t have to. Never mind, doesn’t matter. Now I armchair quarterback.
I wish them well in their service and experiences. I hope I get to read some crazy shit, like about drinking jar for breakfast during training. Nonsense!—and I loved every minute of it.
I carried a box with me most places I went while a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal. Because we knew we could be evacuated from the country any day, when we would travel away from post it became normal to take with you anything that you wouldn’t want to leave behind. For me, that was a small box, smaller than a shoebox, that kept all my 35mm negatives.
After returning home, I sent that box of negatives to ScanCafe and a few weeks, received my negatives back with a couple DVDs with an intimidating amount of photographs to organize.
So (10!) years later, on my personal photography site, I’ve put up three collections of photographs from my Peace Corps experience.
In the experience, part 1, and part 2, I have collected what I remember in terms of photographs. And in the volunteers, I consider images I made of those I served with. The larger, unedited collection of my Peace Corps/Nepal photographs is on Flickr, too.
Well, it’s official: Peace Corps is returning to Nepal. Here’s the official press release from Peace Corps, published January 10, 2012. There was also a nice article by VOA about Peace Corps returning to Nepal, Return of Peace Corps to Nepal.
I’m excited. Every time I’ve been back to Nepal since I completed my service in 2004, I’ve wondered, “How fun would it be if I could run in to a group of PCVs?” And I’ve never had that opportunity. And now it looks like I will.
In January 2012, I did a short interview with Dinesh Wagle of Kantipur about my Peace Corps experience—one personal experience in particular, actually. The article is in Nepali. If you can’t read Nepali, then enjoy the photographs. (I’m in the red shirt with the bald head.) Enjoy: Peace Corps returns to Nepal.