Travels in Nepal # 52 Troubled Nepal
A town under siege
As we entered Lukla on our return from the trek, we were aware of the many soldiers and police in this small town. There had been many incidents throughout the country over the previous few months and the authorities were very much on edge. The airport at Lukla is a strategic importance, not only for the local economy but for the protection of the tourist industry which relies heavily on the income derived from trekking and mountaineering.
The army barracks were quite close to the airstrip which was next to our lodge, so we were able to watch them training and on guard. There were a number of bunkers with heavily armed soldiers only a few metres from where we sat eating our lunch. I was careful not to aim my camera in their direction.
While several of the trekking group were playing cricket in the lodge garden, the little boy featured in the photo above came to our rescue and threw the ball back over the fence. I was able to take this photo as a poignant illustration of the troubles in this emerging nation. Framed by the barbed wire he so much wanted to join in our game, but was prevented by the barricade. The troubled nation of Nepal is desperately wanting to join the twenty-first century world, but the internal political turmoil is an effective barrier to progress.
Hope for the future
After we had left Nepal the situation came to a head and the king handed back power to the elected government. While the unrest is still evident some ten months later, it is a far more settled nation now than earlier in the year. There is hope for the future.