Some French and Spanish trekkers who were in the mountains when the lockdown was announced have decided to stay on in Pisang in Manang. A dozen or so European, American and other nationals are said to be chilling out by the lakeside in Pokhara and relaxing in the rustic charm of Bandipur.
A survey of various Kathmandu-based embassies this week showed that about one-third of staff are still in Nepal, but most with families have gone home. Foreigners working for bilateral agencies have kept only essential staff in Nepal.
“I was in India when all of this started happening and got back here by the skin of my teeth on the last day. I was so happy to be back,” says Gloria Jones from Canada who is an adviser at a monastery here. “I have friends and family in Canada and no one’s trying to convince me to go back. I think they’re a little jealous of how happy I am here.”
Douwe Kiran Soeting has been in Nepal for only three years but considers the Himalayan nation more of a home than his native Netherlands, and has decided to stay back helping at the Khagendra New Life Home where he supports 75 people with disabilities.
“While here, at least I can keep people informed, help them stay positive and make sure they have enough funding for food,” says the 41-year-old.
Cesar Morales was invited to train Nepali tennis players preparing for the forthcoming regional championships and the Olympics. He was supposed to travel to Spain and Italy before flying home to Chicago.
“Nepal is still one of the safest countries to be in right now and people here have been wonderful. Flying with so many people and with multiple layovers back home to my parents who are 65 is a risk I cannot take,” Morales said from his flat in Satdobato.