A Nepali Girl’s American Experience

By Kanchan Burathoki
Saturday BlogDiary of a Nepali student

Every now and then some girls who take politics classes ask me about Nepal and express their sympathy, but I wonder if they really care…. On a recent bus ride, an American asked me, “I know you think we are dumb because we don’t know anything about other countries.” Sick of being undermined just because I am from a poor country, for the first time I dared and said, “Because you are.”

I work in the dining hall of my college twice a week on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 5 to 8. On Tuesdays I am the checker and the job is easy; just sit and swipe the students’ cards for two hours and at the end, clean up the salad bar and sweep the dining hall. Wednesdays, I clean up the “Pots”—literally huge utensils used for mass cooking. It is the most dreadful work, but well, I get paid.

Last night, May 4 2006, it was my turn to scrub the pots again and for the first time, those three hours of rigorous scrapping and stacking seemed to pass by in the blink of an eye. I had started to count the 3 by 4 feet sheet pans that I had to wash, but lost count after 31. Even the staff in the kitchen were apologizing for give me such a huge load. But, I was neither tired nor annoyed. All I had on my mind was regretting the fact that I had not stayed throughout my macro economics class that afternoon.

……………..

Amanda is white-skinned and her accent is British. She loves to play squash and hopes to major in Architectural Studies, like me. With six of us, she too works in the dining hall on Wednesday nights. But she also works on Monday evenings, the whole of Sunday and probably for rest of the week. We all gazed at her punch card. She’d almost done every shift available.

One of the American girls asked, “You must get a fat check?” I work only six hours per week and get an eighty dollar check at the end of two weeks. It was a solemn stare. “I have to take money back home,” replied Amanda and added with a forced smile, “Wish I was going to spend it all on myself.”

I knew too well what she was going through, although she went on giggling, “My mom wants me to get her toothpicks and razors from here, you know. It is so expensive at home.” Her words have been recurring in my mind since then. All I could say was, “Yeah, I know. I am taking drawing classes next semester and the pencils are so expensive here; I’ve asked my mom to send me some from home.”

Home for me is Nepal. Home for her is Zimbabwe.

……………….

There are five Nepali girls in my Intro to Macroeconomics class, including me, and in total about 40 students from different countries, backgrounds and ethnicities. The diversity of my class does make it very unique but if I ponder more, I see why international students are stereotyped as Economics and International Relations majors. More than half are international students.

As a part of our assessment for the finals, we are required to submit a six page report on the economy of the country of our choice. At first, I was hesitant on doing about Nepal because I feared I wouldn’t have enough data and material to complete a substantial six page paper. But when was the last time I’d ever checked on that? I needed to challenge myself.

Yesterday, I had to make a presentation in front of the class and as a huge procrastinator; I only began the night before. I got to the library after my checker job at around 10 pm and unwillingly fiddled with the mouse and googled, “ministry of finance Nepal.” One after another, I went on searching and was overwhelmed by all the articles that I had dug up. I read every business report, on the online archive of The Kathmandu Post, for the last 30 thirty days. It was 3 in the morning when I went to bed, unable to handle all the information. I pitied myself for having underestimated.

……………

“Nepal is sandwiched between India and China and it has its own disadvantages and advantages,” I began my presentation. I knew the girls were already impatient but I also knew that half the class had no idea where Nepal was. It reminded me of replies such as, “What’s Mt. Everest?” and “I went to Springfield once. It looks like a third world country; it has no direction boards on the road sides. Does Nepal look like that?” What is comprehensible to most Americans is incomprehensible to me and vice versa.

“It’s smaller than a sausage,” I explained and there was a huge roar of laughter, but I went on, “I mean the breads are bigger than the normal ones.” Okay, so much for the Americans who invented “hot dogs?” My mind was racing. All I was trying to do was say something that would remind my classmates about Nepal. I don’t know if they know now where Nepal is, but since then, my classmates have been smiling at me outside of the class.

I discussed the Maoist problem and was carrying on how the inflation had reached 8.8 pc in the first quarter of this year, how interest rate was recently raised to 6.5 pc to control the inflation by checking money supply. If necessary the CRR also might be manipulated in banks. “So, what are your suggestions for Nepal?” my professor asked me, indicating that I was running out of time.

“Umm…Well, I believe that one of the components that Nepal can work on to pull up its aggregate expenditure is via exports. Its exports have increased with India but it really can do more by constructing a new international airport that is more centralized.”

I myself didn’t know where that came from and all I could add was, “It might sound as a joke but we have only one international airport.” I felt like a fool even in front of my Nepali friends, who though, made no comments about my rather incongruous suggestion instead of addressing poverty and other major problems. I did not stay in class for the rest of the hour.

……………

Amanda’s presentation was last, out of all Asian and African countries being presented yesterday.

“I made a fool out myself today. Anyways, how’d your presentation go?” I asked her that evening at work.
“Not good, I cried.”

I stared at disbelief. “What? You’re joking, aren’t you?” I yelled so that she could hear me through the loud running water on the stainless sink. “Why did you cry?”

She didn’t answer at first. The water stopped and she took a deep breath.

“I said that the inflation in my country is 913.6 pc and nobody in the class reacted. People are so insensitive here. That is my home, I was born there. You know how it feels when you have to listen to such news; my family is there. And people in class were “the inflation is very high, it is 4.5 pc as of last month”.”

It all came rushing out. Amanda and I had talked about this before. We’d sit outside the classroom not wanting to go in at all because all we were taught was about the U.S. economy.

Greenspan’s exit and Bernanke’s announcement to raise the interest rates by a quarter point. It was always The Fed this and The Fed that and how the cheap currency of China is a problem for dollars.

One dollar is equivalent to 101,195.54 Zimbabwean dollars while we complain about 70 rupees. A “single” two ply sheet of a toilet roll costs 417 ZWD. The inflation is predicted to soar up to four digits. All that is being done is print more money to meet hire wages than really solve the problem.

To my American classmates these are things way beyond their heads. “They haven’t been anywhere than this continent. Every hour a child dies of AIDS in my country,” Amanda was almost in tears. According to what we are taught in class the only economic problems in the world appear to be inflation and unemployment, which this country seems to have tackled all so well. They do not know what poverty and hunger are, what it is to stay weeks without water, to have load shedding for hours in a day, to see people dying in the roads each day?

“The people in the class didn’t even budge. It’s emotional for me. What’s wrong with them?”

My brother’s email flashed into my head.

Well, there’s gas shortage…fuel shortage..and bread shortage…sugar shortage…Sana ama’s are worse off than us rite now..coz they don’t have gas left…

oh…one very interesting thing..hehhe…haha…we actually found out that we’d all be drinking, eating and bathing water contaminated with feces… haha..it sounds funny rite now…tara when i saw the leakage from the sewer to the main tank i nearly puked… and coz of bandh no repairs in progess…i think it’ll cost around 90,000 (for tank repair-expansion and garage repair too). ama’s office is also opening, closing…like that…no vehicles…

It was hard for me to imagine how my family was living in Nepal and I cannot even put myself in Amanda’s shoes. It’s ironic that my brother was laughing about it. What else could he do?
Every now and then some girls who take politics classes ask me about Nepal and express their sympathy, but I wonder if they really care. They are busy thinking of the party this coming weekend and wondering what to wear. On a recent bus ride, an American asked me, “I know you think we are dumb because we don’t know anything about other countries.” Sick of being undermined just because I am from a poor country, for the first time I dared and said, “Because you are.”

………….

Amanda and I stood in silence because there was nothing to be said.

“I’m sorry Amanda, I should have stayed in class.”

She just smiled, “It’s not your fault.”

Former Kathmandu Post reporter Kanchan is undergrad first year student at Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts.

Published by UWB

Pioneering blog from Nepal...since 2004.

48 thoughts on “A Nepali Girl’s American Experience

  1. I am really impressed by the article by Kanchan. We have very good people in Nepal. Our problem is not at the bottom and at the middle but at the top. We have very bad people at the top of every section of our society. We have to clean from the top like Kanchan is cleaning the utensils. Then only we can do from our country.

    her anlysis is very balanced. But American education is mostly West oriented than for the benefit of the developing rather a least developed country like ours. It is only good for employment in the US.

  2. besides politics this is refreshing and as far as i can see an honest piece of writing..which is interesting as well as an eye-opener…..

  3. Very intresting monlouge.
    Keep it folowing …, This blog needs writers like you than who keep on flowing TOOM MUCH OF POLITICAL routines.

  4. You can’t expect a intro to economics class get into the problems of the developing world. Without understand the basics you economic threory how can you start anlyzing the problems in the developing countries?

  5. Kanchan,

    I really enjoyed your blog. I have visited Nepal twice, once as a student and once as a tourist. I have friends there and love and miss it every day. Nepal and Nepali people have given me more than I could ever pay back in money. Learning the language and the spririt of the people has made me a better person within my own society…although still ignorant about many other places in the world.

    I believe that one of the big differences between our “American” culture and that of many other places in the world, including Nepal is that we are brought up to treat everyone as equal and not to express any bias based on race, religion, etc. So I think many Americans feel uncomfortable approaching the subject with someone thay don’t know in order to educate themselves.

    Think about it this way…when an American lands at the one International airport in Nepal he is immediately and from then on treated as an outsider…by taxi drivers, beggars, and every Nepali he meets. Nepalis aren’t afraid to ask “what is it like in America?” But in the US it is not always like this. It is not polite for an American to assume that someone who looks asian or Nepali, or anything else is not American. We don’t want to offend anyone and so it is hard to bring up the subject. I have been thinking a lot about this lately because I want my daughter (who is now 4 years old and has been to Nepal once) to learn Nepali language, but we do not have a Nepali population where we live so when we visit cities or go other places and we see people who look Indian, Tibetean, or Nepali we always want to talk to them but it is difficult because I don’t want people to think I am ignorant or assuming that just because they look different they will be friendly or even speak Nepali or Hindi.

    Anyway I am rambling on but something to consider is that what seems like ignorance or lack of caring may just be someone like me, who has the utmost respect for you but doesn’t want to say so because by saying so I am admitting to a prejudice…which is taboo in American culture.

    KEEP WRITING! It is very inspiring.

    1. I am a nepali student in australia, as a matter of fact australian are also compassionate ppl, its a egalitarian society like US, i understand its difficult for foreign student to get that thing in their head, but one has to learn and grow!!!Respect the place where you are studying and working, respect the ppl and the culture, i know its hard “fitting in” and tiring but thats what you choosed!!

      IF YOU START THINKING LIKE THIS LOW LIFE JOURNALIST YOU GONNA GO DOWN AND BE DEPRESSED AND WONT BE SUCCUFUL IN THE WORLD!!!

      anyways kudos for comming up with honesty!!cheers!

    2. Thank you so much for your honest reply and concerns. Well written heartfelt feedback

  6. Thanks Kanchan for sharing ur life there.
    keep on doing so, when time permits.
    thanks again

  7. Dear bhudai,
    i am not talking about the beginners class. The whole system of American education system does not give you any insight into the problems of developing countries. That’s why it fits only for the people who want to work and live in the US.

  8. Dear Thuldai:

    American education gives people the ability to think and critically analyze. Once you have that learning the problems of the developing country can be done in a few hours. Just like the economics example in the above article. Once you grasp marcoeconomic theories you then proceed to understand the problems of the developing countries. For example if you don’t understand the theory of comparitive advantage and the implications of trade protections you can’t even begin to pick at the problems of developing countries.

    But its up to people like us to learn these theories and apply them to our context. To Americans its irrelevant and you can’t blame them for not teaching that. Besides this author I think is just jumping to conclusions on the basis of an intro class. Once you start taking higher level economics classes you start to get into problems in developing countries.

  9. Hi Kanchan,
    I fully agree with you in some respect and do not agree at all in others. I think you are right on your view about these people who have never seen how big is Ocean. They are living in a well from where they donot like to come out throughout their life. They used to say oh, i heard about Nepal in CNN or BBC or FOX news, because they want to show us that they are smart. But i feel pity to these people that they want to show themselves smart by telling piece of news. I wish i never had such felling about other countries how poorer this country may be.

  10. Why are we so stuck up on this issue. Its the most pointless discussion. America itself is a huge country with so much news and information. Why the hell would they care about a small strategically insignificant country like Nepal? I mean you think the average educated Nepali knows what happening in Fiji?
    Lets just concentrate on improving things in our own countries instead of bitching and Moaining about how little American know/care about Nepal.

  11. Expressing a reality is not always easy. Once it is written honestly and courageously, it turns out to be beautiful, respectable, enjoyable, and informative.

  12. (Sorry for posting again…I forgot to paste the last paragraph 🙂

    Hey Kanchan,

    I just read your emotionally-stirring article and it did touch bases with what I have been thinking for a while too. Every class I have taken, economics included, here in the US, I find myself comparing and contrasting with what is happening back home in Nepal. I have written papers on prioritizing humans as opposed to some wild animals in the national park– for philosophy; education– demand, supply and scholarship– for economics, and China in Transition– Understanding Nepal through China.

    Every time I say something about Nepal in class, or try and connect things about Nepal to my assignments, I feel I might be pushing it a little too much and that these people might not really be appreciating what I am doing.

    My international relations class was entirely based on the US. This did annoy me a little bit, because I was not really able to understand things I wanted from the Nepali perspective. However, I would like to mention two things. Firstly, we are not doing Americans and anyone else any justice by generalizing. Just as there are many Americans who simply do not care and only do or say things to look and act smart, there are many others who are seriously interested in our stories and our sorrows and want to reach out and be a part of our lives. Secondly, as regards the focus on the US, I basically have given up in some regards and held on in others.

    I have come to terms to the fact that I have left my home and seeked temporary asylum of sorts here in the US and I have to accept their system. To an extent, it is justified that their education system focuses primarily on their interests. That’s what politics and policies and everything else is based on! Given that I am a Nepali, if I were studying in Nepal right now and taking International Relations, I would definitely want my class to primarily focus on IR as relevant to me and Nepal. This of course involves understanding other countries to an extent.

    Having said that, I come to my second point of how I am holding on in that I want to use this system and hopefully do more papers and projects that will integrate a Nepali perspective. While the American education system does not provide me a platform directly for understanding with a Nepali perspective, it provides ample space to bolster our ideas the way we want.

    On that note, I would like to thank you very much for writing such a powerful article. You have expressed your thoughts with such clarity that I felt you were almost talking to the readers in person. I hope you keep writing and addressing these important issues in the days to come.

    [UWB: First comment removed as the writer has added extra lines on the same.]

  13. Why, I most definitely think so myself. It is an easy task to comment on someone else’s hard work and be critical about it but no small matter to involve oneself in assessing our values and our societies and write an original piece about it. While I do have opinions on the article, I still believe the author has done a wonderful job that deserves praise.

  14. Interesting article. Having studied in the US of A for my Bachelors, I can understand the feelings of a Nepali student there. One thing though- maybe it’s just because of the recent political change in Nepal or maybe its due to the rather long time gap between now and when I studied there, about 12 years- many students in US didn’t even know that Nepal as a country existed then! I had to actually show a world map to some of the students to tell them about Nepal. Anyways.. just wanted to share this..

  15. You people are getting sensitive for nothing. Who cares for Nepal in America ? Some latest imigrants may be homesick for a few months if not for a year. That much. No one lives his/her homeland for the good of his/he homeand. Have you ever seen people leaving mothers for good of their mothers? After 5 years if Kanchan comes back, she will come here not stay here but to settle matters family matters. No Americans, who colonized it, returned to Europe.

    One request. Will not be it better if we declare our present residence country in our comment?

  16. So lets see here…
    we know/have seen how it is to be poor. but, do we have enough commitment to go back home and do something? We talk about coming to US, coming from Nepal with all the bad memories. What purpose does that have if you can’t do any good.

    Great article but i hope u’ll find ways to help out the conditions at home. Like someone pointed out, critical analysis is an important general lesson you are taught in here. And we are expecting the US to teach us about Nepal. If you are really interested then approach your professor about issues and he’ll b willing to help you. Btw, do we learn US policies, system in Nepal at all or for that matter that of India?

    Nicely written article in itself but ppl stop whining about stupid things..

  17. Honestly impressive. Keep on writing and I am looking forward to reading your articles.

  18. Uh, I really did not get the point of this article. Is the author trying to say that the Americans are insensitive to the problems of other countries? In that regard we Nepalis are probably worse-most of us Kathmanduites don’t even care for Nepalis who live elsewhere. Or is the author trying to say that we should look at countries like Zimbabwe and feel better? That’s a losing game if you ask me.

  19. A good depiction and particularly refreshing perspective of the same old same old. Bravo!

    There is another side to this story, or where it heads to in one way or the other. Its when you get back here. The American education that teaches you to think scientifically, critically and logically faces a headlong crash with the way things are in Nepal.

    There are two options- you either become a part of the system or make your own way. Consider these facts:

    -We have plenty of people educated from the States and elsewhere in the West, Australia and Canada holding important positions in kathmandu, who have been going to study abroad on Colombia Plan, Fulbright, Chevening and so on and so forth.

    – Foreign aid began pouring into Nepal since 1955. Where has all of it gone?

    – There has never been any mass starvation or natural calamities or a situation of totally debilitated economy in Nepal like Zimbabwe.

    Bottomline: A country needs an attitude, come through adversary and then luck. America was built to what it is today by through years n years of nationbuilding. The crash in 1929 debilitated the country- most countries I believe have to go through one form or the other in which the economy grinds to a halt- Zimbabwe is going through the same (hopefully after Mugabe things will be better). And as for luck, a country endowed with minerals and all sorts of resources has a chance to do well too.

    A totally unused resource pool of hydropower and hence no luck in that, lack of any drive or the attitude to build this place and not yet having been through hell n back (the conflict is yet to debilitate the country, although we are almost there)are reasons why Nepal is not Zimbabwe yet it is almost there. Perhaps if we pass Zimbabwe someday (introduce 10,000 rupee notes to begin with), and reach to Rwanda or Sierra Leone, maybe then the Nepalese psyche will rise up.

    As someone who has not joined the system after returning home from abroad, some fight on to make their own space for change and betterment without letting the thought creep into the head that its nothing compared to the rot that is around.
    Keep writing

  20. Hey Raj,
    Sometimes, people do leave their countries for the good of the country and leave their mothers for the good of the mother. *Leave* alone says nothing of the love for what you *leave*. One way of showing your love to the place that you leave is by sending your earnings back home to your mother. Of course, going back is all about settling your family matters and your social matters; these are the incentives that take us back home, and I see nothing wrong with that. Besides, would you not consider leaving your mother at an early age to broaden your education doing good for your own mother? If students leave Nepal, get educated in the US and go back home and apply their knowledge, is leaving not for the good of the country?

  21. interesting point ‘concerned nepali’. see, the geopolitical network involves the suffering countries like rwanda, zimbabwe and may be Nepal. But think about it, a current doesn’t flow along the wire when two points are at same potentials. difference keeps motion. i feel it is sadly a true law of nature. it is then up to small nations to rise up against the inevitable control over them.

    At the end of the day, everybody, every nation and state is going to look for incentive to do sth. Why should US help Nepal (or to an extent of teaching US students about Nepal in an Economics class !? ) other than to extend the geopolitical network. Wake up ppl, u have to fight yrself and find a space. yr space your family community and then a nation. for that, we need to change our attitude, we know changing and shuffling ppl and power hasn’t helped much. do we have the attitude? we will see that…

    and shrochis… yea theoretically, it is great that the young students are leaving Nepal for good. wait.for whose good? for their good. are they going to look for good jobs in US with big money or go back to Nepal to find your space in a career defined by chaotic politics. i hope they find ways to go back home and bring the change. i hope i can do the same.

    unless u rock a**, your space is but a dream. first go find yr worth and fight to make a space for u for yr community. that’s it. gandhi said. to see a change around u, u have to b the change. can we?

  22. Of course we can. I mean, someone has to be the change right? There is no reason why you and I cannot be that change. The author of this article, but a teenager, has already made a difference in making us think about such serious issues through her article. Is that not a change?
    I dont think Nepali students going abroad is good only for the students. When each Nepali does something good, s/he spreads goodwill for Nepal as well. Coming to the US alone might not be a good thing for Nepal in itself but if we try to, we can all make it a good thing. The only obstacle is our own choices, and if we want to, yes, we can make a difference, each one of us!

  23. Couldn’t stop following this discussion.. which means its refreshing from the normal political discussions we’ve been having..leaving Nepal to study abroad should be taken positively. Mind you, only a limited number of students from Nepal can actually afford to go O/S to study. So there is this monetary factor involved- money spent is not towards Nepal but goes to the country where student is studying. Would it then be ok that the same student should earn back some of the amount O/S and bring it back to the country? Or is it better to come back asap once (s)he finishes to share the knowledge? I guess what I am trying to say is that the person should eventually come back- that’s probably the best for Nepal.

  24. I dont agree. It depends where in US you are. Go to DC or Balto and most people know where Nepal is. When i was in PA very few people knew about Nepal but in DC almost every other person knows it. Plus they have more important things to do than dig for Info on Nepal, well now-a-days they know more because Nepal is on the headlines, im sure if Nepal was more on the Headlines they would know more about it. It’s not like most of the nepalese here are making a name for our country either, unlike kanchan, most are busy trying to be American rather than study and support their parents.

  25. Oh the way America went through their down trotten times and came up, they had depressions and droughts and wars. they have won and surprised because the when the time comes they act, not react. remember they are almost a continent, not a single state. if desired and willing it is much easier for nepal, but it doesnt have even have the infrastructure. The other one of my friends finally graduated from Gtown, i asked him if he wanted to invest in Nepal, he said he rather burn the money away, atleast the americans invest in their own country.

  26. i somewhat agree with you culture. that dark picture is real. i know a ‘friend’ of mine who finished his bachelor’s degree in 7 years and now works in a gas station without any dreams, any hopes of making anything out of him. For those ppl who think ppl from Nepal make positive impact after getting abroad then just luk around the baltimore DC..Dallas,etc community and talk with all the ppl and hear their stories. The only good thing: they are better off here and good for them. Do you think they are going back home to help their communicties or help bring their families in US? But definitely i agree that there are ppl from Nepal who have made small and big contributions. i don’t hear them as often but i quietly hope that there are ppl in the ivies or somewhere in maine, Boston Berkely…

    Again back to the point of the article…why don’t ppl know about Nepal. Do ppl in Nepal know what’s happening in East Timor? It’s not that far, is it? Why? For US, the media iteslf is so controlled.. and why would they need the ppl to see horrible pictures of Nepal..other than encouraging them to voluntarily leave US for the good of Nepal!? I think the bigger question to ask is, how do WE make ppl here and around know about Nepal.

    The writer in the article surely sounds like she is on her way and i hope her frustration (that’s all i get from the article) boosts her performance in the future.
    sorry fr the long comment.
    Peace!

  27. Many Nepali students face the same problem as the writer writes on her article. During my undergraduate studies, I also went through the similar situation several times. One time I talked to my professor about why they have no interest at all when I present someting from my country. He said,”you should relate your topic somehow to US related things that they are familiar with”. I followed his advice and in my public speaking class I presented about the Mount Everest. My opening statement was “How high is 8848m? If you think the tallest building, Sears Tower in Chigao, put another Sears Tower on top of that and another one on top of that and do until you have a stack of 25 Sears Tower. Then that becomes the height of the tallest mountain in the world which is 8848m. That tallest mountain is the Mount Everest and it lies in Nepal.” In my this presentation everbody seemed pretty interested and curious.
    I hope this piece of advice might be helpful for your future presentations.

  28. Nice article Kanchan … keep up the spirit and dont lose hope.

    I studied in Delhi University and have been working here for the past 5 yrs. Throughout my career here, I hardly came across any Nepali colleague. I was in the middle of hundreds of Indians and believe majority of them are worse than Americans or anybody when it comes to racial discrimination (In one of my company, I worked directly with Americans for 2 yrs). Many Indians think it would mean stooping low even to acknowledge good work of a Nepali. I have gone into depression, I have left jobs since I could not fit in and I have had even had fights with some. But I have also had one of the most fast track career than my Indian colleagues. Only because of my performance. Outside, your influence doesnt work. If you want to be acknowledged and get what you deserve, you’d probably have to work 10 times harder than your counterparts. Believe me, America is not as bad if you compare it with Inida.

    So keep your chin up and dont lose hope. These are not even problems. There are bigger problems people like you and me have to tackle for the sake of Nepal.

  29. Once you prove yourself, people who matter will be more approachable and some even ask about your background – thats when to talk Nepal.

    For rest – dont worry about them.

  30. oh, come on, guys. why should americans know where nepal is? we are a huge country sandwiched between mexico and canada. we have many spanish speakers. we probably know a lot about europe. but nepal? that’s like asking a nepali person if they know where burkino faso is! do you? probably not. just because many americans don’t know about nepal should not make you feel bad. and, yes, it is not always considered PC to ask someone in the usa about your country. We are a melting pot, and are inclusive, not exclusive.

    As for the comments about nepalese in the usa,most of the ones i have met came over as students and never went back to nepal. That is such a shame. they are the elite of nepal society, the ones who can afford to attend university in nepal. yet, they taste the cushy life in america and don’t want to return to help their countrymen. I remember hearing Dr. Banskota of the B&B Hospital talk one time in the USA (in Denver, at the ANA convention a few years ago). he did a talk practically begging nepali doctors to return. He even had a slide show showing his huge home and swimming pool in Kathmandu. His point was, you can have a nice life in Nepal, too, and WE NEED YOU. Later, I spoke with him and he said that he got almost no response. I found that very sad. Dr. Banskota is a very good man. I wish more Nepalese who go abroad to study would return like he did.

  31. hello everyone

    i was not aware that this article had been published here until a friend of mine was talking about it with me out of nowhere and i was surprised. i really appreciate all the comments and criticisms and am welcome to more.

    whoever posted it is from kathmandu post, i am sure of that…and i really really wish that he’d informed me once…but still thanks a lot.

  32. I guess up there in Massachusetts you never made it down south in the U.S… or to any major ghetto in any major city, or out in parts of the Midwest – where there is nothing but ghost towns and sad stories – factories closed – people all gone because there is no work – some left behind – just surviving – schools closing – because there is no money. Kids that live in trailer parks catching rats to eat. In all these American places there are poor people having kids that can’t get a proper education – and will ultimately grow up to be just like their parents – poor, uneducated, unemployed, or forced into crime to survive. How dare you criticize all Americans in this regard, how dare you lump us all into this single category. You have seen what you wanted to see. And in your blindness have missed the poverty and devastation that exists in the U.S., which is equally unfortunate. I have been to Nepal. I have lived in an orphanage where children have been placed because their parents are in prison or dead. You have had the opportunity to go to the U.S. for an education. What percentage of Nepal’s children are so lucky? What percentage of Nepal’s children can escape child labor? What percent of Nepal’s children can escape the slave trade? I think you are as closed minded and selfish as the Americans you wrote about. This world is unfair and unfortunate. You should consider yourself lucky and grow up. Open your mind and heart. You have a chance, probably more of a chance than many Americans.

  33. I agree with Leigh Williams.

    I am here in USA since 1999 and somehow or other I found Americans are very down to earth, quite aware and they do not need to know nitty gritty of all the countries as we do not keep record of whats happening in Ethopia on day to day basis, do we? I found common Americans are compassionate but they detest those who do not follow rules are very forgiving when they understand that the person is new to the country.

    I have worked in Manhatten NY, Silicon Valley CA, Energy Co. in Houston, TX, projects in MI and somehow I met good Americans.

    See the author is disturbed about the fact that Americans have no sensitivity about the poverty in their country!!! but do anybody discriminate anyone because of it… I know in Nepal itself people coming from rural background are called ‘Pakhe’ and those coming from hills are called ‘pahade’…. and the people in the remotest places of Nepal are definitely not exposed to the modern amenities and technology and thus named. Do you know there is discrimination at every level in Nepal? How does a rich nepali treat a poor nepali? How do nepalese treat those hawkers of Indian origin? Do you know how hard a upper class nepali tries to portray that they are something above everyone?

    Atleast Americans do not! And do they complain how the world looks at them. Do they say anything when there is anti-american slogan taking place at your country? I agree to Leigh Williams that they just do not speak so that you might feel comfortable. I think that is why America is so developed. Its a privilege to be able to learn in USA.

  34. If the author were from America, she too would not give a F&*k about Nepal. There’s just too much going on here to be worldly. If I were to travel to a foreign place, I would certainly do all I could to learn about it. But without that need to travel, I’m much more concerned with making it well enough to financially help my mother as well as pay off my ridiculously high student loan payments.

    Poor foreign people live in a climate in which it is easier to learn things and can appreciate the niceties of life when/if they get them. Good for you, poor people! Just know that, while an education can make you sound smarter, it won’t make you more interesting. Seeming more interesting is far more important than knowing a bevy of facts. And that’s the American way.

  35. Hi Kanchan,
    Will look forward to reading more of your articles. It was a little stereotype to generalize saying “Americans know this and Americans dont know that”. I am an Economic student too and every week I get chance to discuss about economic issues. I always talk about issues about our country “Nepal” and its not the same response that I get from my class mates as you’ve said. They know much about Nepal and they are very keen to listen to every single facts. When I started with my first discussion I felt that whole class was so much into what I was talking I started bringing out Nepal’s issue every week and I must say hearing their view points and opinios and their knowledge about Nepal was pretty much impressive; and I should not forget to mention that all of my classmates are Americans. I am the only international student in my class. Nice article. I loved reading it.

  36. Royal Nepalese Army men as US guinea pigs

    Associated Press
    • Vaccine tested on 1,794 soldiers • US Embassy defends it

    Boston, March 1:

    The US Army has carried out a promising early test of the first vaccine against hepatitis E, a form of the liver-attacking disease that sickens many in Asia and can spread to other Western visitors to the region.
    The vaccine, made from moth cells infected with an engineered virus, was 96 per cent effective for Nepali Army soldiers who took all three doses. However, the disease wasn’t widespread even in a group without the vaccine: only 7 per cent got sick.
    The two-year test on 1,794 soldiers — almost all men — was reported today in The New England Journal of Medicine. The study turned up no major side effects.
    Though rarely fatal for most people, the disease can cause nasty stomach symptoms and pose special danger to pregnant women.
    The study was funded by the US Army and National Institutes of Health.
    The researchers conducted the study in accordance with good clinical practice guidelines, the provisions of the Declaration of Helsinki, and regulations of both the US and Nepal, the journal said.
    The institutional review boards of the Nepal Health Research Council and the US Army approved the study protocol. The study was designed by the US Army with GlaxoSmithKline.
    However, ISN Security Watch reported on its website that medical researchers are questioning whether the vaccine experiments, conducted on Nepali soldiers from 2001 to 2003, were ethical.
    After a safety test on 88 US volunteers and 44 Nepali civilians in February 2000, the Walter Reed/AFRIMS Research Unit Nepal (WARUN) announced it would test the vaccine on 8,000 Nepali civilian volunteers in Lalitpur. However, the attempt triggered an outcry by Lumanti, a Nepali NGO working with the urban poor, some municipal officials, and the media. The volunteers were said to be mostly poor slum dwellers.
    The ensuing protests forced WARUN to instead test the vaccine on the Nepali soldiers. The experiments were concluded in the army hospital in Kathmandu in 2003. A group of medical researchers in the US is now asking how ethical it was to use as “guinea pigs” the Nepali soldiers. Also, there is no indication how the vaccine will benefit the volunteers or the community. ISN Security Watch quoted Dr Mathura Prasad Shrestha, a former Nepali health minister and chair of the Nepal Health Research Council, as saying that the test on the soldiers “violated international ethics”. “Trials should be conducted only on people who are fully in the know, understand the implications, and have the option to say ‘no’.”
    However, the US embassy in Kathmandu strongly defended the trial, saying it was conducted in compliance with international practices. “The military population was selected because they were known to have many cases of hepatitis E,” the embassy told ISN Security Watch.

  37. I like your sentiment and attachment to your past. It was a awesome expression from the part of your heart.

  38. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my website thus i came to
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  39. Having read this I thought it was very enlightening.
    I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this
    informative article together. I once again find myself spending
    way too much time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  40. That was a very interesting story. I pray for your happiness. Live Long and Prosper.

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