Jon Crispin's Notebook

Dogs / Thanks / Home

Posted in Animals, Dogs, Jon Crispin, Travel, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 05/06/2017

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I walked Cris to the World Ed office every morning, and back to the hotel at the end of the day.  Kathmandu has a lot of street dogs, most of whom don’t seem attached to any particular person, although the ones we  regularly saw were in the same areas every day.  You would never want to try to pet them, and they mostly ignore you anyway.  We got used to seeing this pup twice a day near a shop, and she was one of the few leashed dogs that we encountered.  She clearly belonged to someone who cared for her.

Thanks to everyone who passed along good wishes in regards to my eye thing.  I really appreciate it.  We are home now and I see my retina guy tomorrow morning; I am really eager to see what he has to say.  The huge black blob is beginning to resolve a bit, which is encouraging.

More suitcase uploads coming soon.  Thanks for following.

Back in Nepal / Eye

Posted in Institutions, Jon Crispin, Medicine, Travel, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 31/05/2017

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Cris and I are back in Nepal where she continues her work on the UNICEF funded early grade reading project through World Education.

It has been an interesting trip.  I developed a problem with my right eye when I landed in Dubai, and by the time I got to Kathmandu last Tuesday evening it was clear that something was really wrong.  Cris took me directly to CIWEC travel medicine clinic where they set me up with an ophthalmologist early the next morning (Wednesday).  Dr.  Meenu is a cornea expert, but she wanted me to see the retina guy at the Triphuvan Teaching Hospital. She immediately put me in her car and drove me there.  Dr Pratap examined me and saw two spots on my retina that were torn and bleeding.  He immediately took me into the laser room and repaired as much of the damage as he could.  I saw him this past Monday for a follow-up and he was really happy with the results.  Since this whole thing started I have had huge black floaters in the middle of my right (shooting) eye, but they should begin to resolve in the next few months.  It was all a bit unsettling, and I am so grateful to Dr. Pratap for caring for me.

Nepal / B.P. Koirala Lions Centre for Ophthalmic Studies / Teching Hospital

Here he is on the left with some of his students.

Nepal / B.P. Koirala Lions Centre for Ophthalmic Studies / Teching Hospital

And with a patient.

Nepal / B.P. Koirala Lions Centre for Ophthalmic Studies / Teching Hospital

I learned pretty quickly that Nepal has a great reputation for eye treatment in the developing world.

Nepal / B.P. Koirala Lions Centre for Ophthalmic Studies / Teching Hospital

Dr. Pratap’s notes.

Nepal / B.P. Koirala Lions Centre for Ophthalmic Studies / Teching Hospital

Here’s the clinic.  Officially the B.P. Koirala Lions Centre for Ophthalmic Studies.  Note the  word “Lions” in the name.  The Lions Club is famous for it’s support around eye issues, but I had no idea their reach extended as far as Nepal.

I debated with myself a long time about posting this.  Blogs like this are by definition self serving and ego based, but I have always tried to steer away from having it be about me, per se.  But weird things can happen when one travels, and I wanted to share my good fortune in getting such prompt and excellent treatment, and to give thanks to all the people here who have helped me.  Cris has been a brick through this whole thing and so patient with my worries.  I also really want to thank Peggy Ross for getting on the phone and setting up an appointment with my ophthalmologist in Springfield soon after I get back to the States.  Her skills at getting through bureaucratic systems are unmatched.

Monkeys, Monks, and Shrines

Posted in Animals, Birds, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 27/06/2016

Nepal / Kathmandu/Pashupati

Before heading out to the Achham, we had a day to wander around Kathmandu.  It is always exotic to see monkeys in an urban area.  This little family hangs out at Pashupatinath.

Nepal / Kathmandu/Bodinath

This fellow was standing at Boudinath the whole time we were there.  He never moved from this spot.

Nepal / Kathmandu/Bodinath

These little shrines are everywhere in Kathmandu.

We are back home, but I will continue to post about the trip.  Thanks for following.

Camp Hope / Kathmandu

Posted in Travel, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 25/06/2016

Nepal / SEEP classes at Camp Hope

Last week I went to another temporary housing site in Kathmandu.  This one though is very likely to be temporary.  It is supported by the Dwarika Foundation and I was told that by autumn the residents should be moving back to their village.

Nepal / SEEP classes at Camp Hope

I was again accompanied by Shanti Thapa Magar who works for World Education Nepal.  She is amazing and helped me so much on all the visits to the Pourakhi projects that I photographed.

Nepal / SEEP classes at Camp Hope

Here is another SEEP class sponsored by Pourakhi.  The fellow on the lower left is Kundun Gurung who is the facilitator  of the class.  He is a great guy who studied for a time in London, and is now back in Nepal teaching.

Nepal / SEEP classes at Camp Hope

These pups and their mother kept wandering into the class.  The students would shoo them away and they would quickly walk around to the other side of the tent and come back in through a different opening.

Nepal / SEEP classes at Camp Hope

I have come to really like the dogs around Kathmandu.  You definitely don’t want to approach them, but sometimes they come up to you to say hi.  This little guy kept smelling my legs.  I’m pretty sure these trousers still had Olive’s scent on them.

Nepal / SEEP classes at Camp Hope

Tea is almost always offered in Nepal.  It is very sweet and always welcome.  I like this little cup.

Nepal / SEEP classes at Camp Hope

This is Kundun on the right with Manju Gurung who is Chairperson of Pourakhi and another facilitator, Sanjin on the left (sorry,  I can’t seem to find his surname in my notes).

Nepal / SEEP classes at Camp Hope

After the classes, Shanti took me around to some of the tents and introduced me to a few of the residents.

Nepal / SEEP classes at Camp Hope

Bivi Sherpa is a knitter who is making hats to sell.  She gets 100 Rupees per hat and sells them to a dealer who picks them up for resale.  I offered to buy one, but she politely declined, as the buyer has a deal with her to get everything she produces.

After photographing various Pourakhi projects, I have been really thinking about a way to raise some funds for the organization.  They do phenominal work, and are really unique in the services that they provide.  I will speak to the folks at World Education to see if there is any way that they can be a conduit for them, and since I will be coming back here later this year, it is always possible that I can just collect cash, which in many ways is the easiest way to support this type of organization.  I will post an update sometime soon with details.

Nepal / SEEP classes at Camp Hope

In the taxi on the way back from the camp I was pleased to see that the driver had some of my favorite Hindu gods on the dashboard.  Looks like Krishna, Hanuman, and Ganesh (who is my absolute favorite as he is the remover of obstacles).

Nepal / SEEP classes at Camp Hope

As we were heading back to the World Ed office, Shanti stopped by her house to introduce me to her son.

Huge thanks to Helen Sherpa at World Ed for connecting me with Shanti, and for making arrangements to get me into the camps.

We are flying back to the US late tonight, and I will begin editing the photographs from our trip to Achham.  I hope to get a post up about that trip very soon.  Thanks for following.

Pourakhi Nepal

Posted in Community, Health, Travel, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 22/06/2016

Since my last post, I have been busy shooting, and  just got back from 5 days in Achham District (more on that later).  I didn’t have my computer with me out there, and as we just got back late last night, I am only now getting to an update.

Nepal / Various Pourakhi projects

I am really grateful to the folks at World Education Nepal who connected me with a wonderful organization called Pouraki who are doing  work with Nepali women who have been exploited and abused as workers in foreign countries.  I spent some time on Thursday photographing at the shelter for women who have managed to return to Nepal after suffering serious abuse abroad.  Most of these women arrive at the Kathmandu airport late at night with nothing more that a small carry-on, and many of them have only temporary travel documents.  This woman did manage to still have her passport, but not much else.  Pourakhi have people meeting these late flights who screen for women who are in an obvious state of distress.  They are then taken to the shelter where they receive attention relating to their physical and mental health.

Nepal / Various Pourakhi projects

In addition, once they are settled, the women are given vocational training which helps them get back on their feet and eventually return to their families, if that is possible.  Because of the nature of the shelter, and the stigma that is attached to this issue, I can’t publish faces of any of the women, but the shelter is totally amazing and I am so grateful to have been made to feel so welcome.

Nepal / Various Pourakhi projects, Temporary Housing camp at Chuchepati

After the shelter, Shanti Thapa Magar who works for World Ed took me to a temporary housing camp in the Chuchepati area of Kathmandu.  It is basically a tent city in the middle of a large open area. Pourakhi is running SEEP classes for the residents.  The Self Employment Education Program helps those who have been displaced by the recent earthquake.  We dropped in on a math class, and this fellow was really happy to have a bit of an audience.

Nepal / Various Pourakhi projects, Temporary Housing camp at Chuchepati

Here’s the class, who were nice enough to take a break and come out for a group shot.

Nepal / Various Pourakhi projects, Temporary Housing camp at Chuchepati

After we left the SEEP class, Shanti took me around the camp and introduced me to several  residents.

Nepal / Various Pourakhi projects, Temporary Housing camp at Chuchepati

I was amazing how open people are in the camp.

Nepal / Various Pourakhi projects, Temporary Housing camp at Chuchepati

People were curious about seeing me walking around with a camera, but were so nice to chat with.

Nepal / Various Pourakhi projects, Temporary Housing camp at Chuchepati

Here is Dhalak Kumari Dotel with her grandchild, standing outside of her family’s tent.

Nepal / Various Pourakhi projects, Temporary Housing camp at Chuchepati

And here they are inside where they live with her son and daughter-in-law.

Nepal / Various Pourakhi projects, Temporary Housing camp at Chuchepati

Here is Shova Khadka sitting outside of her tent working with wool. /  A vast number of Nepalis lived in villages that were more or less destroyed in the earthquake, and many of them are now living in these temporary camps in Kathmandu.  The day after I shot these photos, I went to another camp in a different part of town.  I hope to get a post up about that visit by Friday.  Tomorrow, Shanti and I and another World Education staffer are off to Sindhupalchowk to photograph an area where over 95% of the houses were destroyed by the quake.

Walking and Bricks

Posted in Cities, Construction, Dogs, Landscape, Rivers, Transportation, Travel, Uncategorized, Water by joncrispin on 15/06/2016

Nepal 14 June 2016

I have been spending my afternoons walking around Kathmandu.  Whenever I see bricks (and there are a lot of them here) I think of my friend Richard Pieper.  He loves bricks.  It is nice to be a photographer as it is impossible to ever be bored.  I see bricks, I think of Pieper, I see motor scooters and I am interested because I have a Vespa, I see people giving water to a stray, injured dog and I am touched, I see rivers and I think of Peter Carroll’s brother Alan who worked on water quality here a long time ago, and I see young children reading and I think of all the work Cris does in helping kids become literate.  I see these things, but I don’t always photograph them.  I am a bit self conscious about poking a camera into the lives of people who are just going about their days.  It always takes me a while to be comfortable, and the only way I can do so is to engage with the people I see.  It is a bit more difficult in a place where many speak only a bit of English, and I speak no Nepali.  But after today, I am beginning to see things that I want to photograph, and I know I will eventually wrap my head about how to go about it.  So today I am showing you bricks.

Nepal 14 June 2016

And another representation of Krishna.

Nepal 14 June 2016

Here is the Bishnumati River.  I almost didn’t take this picture,  and I almost didn’t post it here because it felt exploitative in a way.  Coming to a place like Kathmandu and pointing out what we Westerners think of as being messed up largely misses the point.  Water quality is a huge issue here.  This river is everything from a sewer to a rubbish heap and then some.  It is easy for me to say it should be cleaned up.  And it is easy for governments and NGOs to put money into doing just that.  But it is not easy, and there are a lot of people putting a ton of effort into sorting this problem out.  I just wonder what it will take.  Somewhere at its source this river came out of the mountains clean and pure.  Along the way it became this. I’m not really sure how to end here, but it is important for me to be a little optimistic, which I guess I still am.  Maybe someday.

Durbar Square / Hindu Gods

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

Cris starts work tomorrow, so today was a day to walk around a bit.  The earthquake damage is very obvious with piles of brick everywhere and scaffolding around many buildings.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

These shots are all from around Durbar Square.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

Cris would gasp just about every time we turned a corner in this part of Kathmandu.  She came here first in 1979 as a Peace Corps volunteer, has subsequently come back to work in Nepal on a regular basis, and is really familiar with the city. It is really shocking to see the devastation.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

As we were walking back to the hotel I started noticing pictures of Hindu gods that were about 3 feet off the ground and which were spread out about every five yards along a huge brick wall.  They are evocative in the odd way that things that attract my attention are.  I began taking pictures of them when I saw this next guy, who looked much more contemporary than the rest.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

These next two are Krishna.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

He is almost always depicted with a cow and a flute.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

And often a milkmaid.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

This sign was higher up on the wall and Cris was looking at it and smiling as I walked past her.  It is amazing to come to a place like Nepal with someone who speaks and reads the language.  It basically says, don’t piss or shit on the wall.  Which is why the images of the gods are placed just about the height at which a man’s stream would fall.  It seems a pretty effective deterrent.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

The issue of public defecation is something that the current government has begun to work on (for obvious reasons).

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

We like Ganesh as he is the remover of obstacles and the patron of the arts and sciences. For some reason, we have always associated him with travel, which is something we do quite often.  Finally, here is Hanuman, the monkey god.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

Thanks for following. We are a bit sketchy on Hindu lore, so please pardon me if I have gotten anything wrong about the gods.

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