Returning to Nepal

Dear Friends,

I am en route to Nepal!  It has been quite a busy several weeks leading up to right now—learning of this opportunity, conceptualizing my vision and plans for my time, and preparing to depart to this far away country that has become my ‘home away from home’.  I will be continuing my work with a community from the Langtang Valley that was severely affected by the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal.  This work has been the culmination of serendipitous events—random connections that put me in the right place to help co-launch the ‘Langtang Memory Project’.  It is through this project, in collaboration with a Denver-based photography and storytelling nonprofit, ‘Picture Me Here’, that I was asked to return and continue our important work.  I am very excited to finally have the ability to share with you my plans and what I hope to accomplish in conjunction with the Langtang Valley community.

I will arrive in Nepal tomorrow and will likely stay through the summer, working on three broad goals: 1.) creating installations in the community centers in Langtang to commemorate the two-year anniversary of the earthquake, 2.) continued skill development with the community by means of photography and storytelling, and 3.) working on our proposed book project.  The special part about the content of these projects is that it is community generated.  By this, I mean that the community reached out to us to assist in cultural preservation and documentation and therefore, all of the photographs that are collected in the aftermath of the earthquake are taken by the community members themselves.  This project seeks to honor those who were lost, respect the process of healing, and create a space for new Langtangpa individual and collective identities to emerge.

My first mission will be to create the installations in commemoration of the earthquake anniversary.  My vision for creating these installations will not fully emerge without further consultation with the Langtang community.  The anniversary is on the 25th of April, and so my work on this piece of the project will be immediate.  So where will I be?  Here’s a map of Nepal:

map of nepal langtangको लागि तस्बिर परिणाम

http://gilesd-j.com/2013/02/12/langtang/

I’ll be landing in Kathmandu—the capital—and spend about a week preparing, meeting with community members, and printing the appropriate materials.  From Kathmandu, I will travel into the Himalayan mountains, into the ‘hidden valley’ known as the Langtang Valley.  It has been just over a year since the last time I was in Langtang.

As I continue to near my destination, I feel calm.  I am ready to continue again, renewed, with a more nuanced perspective of the situation, yet eager to continue to learn, eager and grateful for this opportunity.  I think back to my last trip to Nepal. I met people I never planned to meet; I worked on projects I had not planned to work on.  I am reminded of just how quickly things change, and how important each new connection I make can become.  I feel calm knowing that I have a plan, knowing that this plan will change and that’s okay.  I will share with all of you how my plans unfold.  I am on the cusp of a new adventure, a new piece of this project.  I look forward to see how everything manifests, and I look forward to sharing this with you.

Until next time.

Jennifer

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