Even when there was a conflict going on, I always found people friendly and open during my years in Nepal from 1999-2004. Despite the warmth and hospitality, things changed somewhat as the government lost control over a large part of the countryside to Maoist rebels.
Norway was supporting the education sector but visits to rural schools became difficult as teachers and students were terrified by both the Maoists and the security forces.
Fourteen years later, Nepal has moved from war to peace. People can move freely, and children go to school without fear. On a recent visit, I saw no armoured vehicles on the streets of Kathmandu and no APFs checking cars at night. The police checkpoints now are looking for drunk drivers.
A palace massacre, a violent insurgency, the royal takeover, new constitution, earthquake and Blockade, all in a timespan of less than 15 years – it is really too much for any nation to cope with. Still, this is just what the people of Nepal have done, and they have come out more united and confident.
Read also: From royal to republic, Shreejana Shrestha
My friends told me that many wounds are not healed, that the victims feel forgotten, and that there is still a big gap between the class of rulers and those being ruled. This may hopefully slowly change, the commitment of many Nepalis encouraged me.