What I am doing:

I am currently working with an organization called Peace Brigades International in Nepal. This organization does international human rights accompaniment work. I am assigned to shadow threatened human rights workers to act as a witness and deterrent to political violence. I represent both the implied and actual attention of the international community. Thus, my presence along with a great deal of diplomacy work with all levels of government and military functions to prevent violence directed at these people. If further threats or a confrontation does occur concerning the person I am accompanying, or myself, an Emergency Response Network is activated that puts heavy pressure on the perpetrators. This network extends from simple actions from people like yourself to high level diplomatic sanctions, pressure from UN officials, Pressure from other countries' governments, etc... This, along with other nonviolent forms of action work to protect these people's lives and allow them to do their very important work.

Friday, February 4, 2011


I am coming up on a year now lived in Nepal. I came here in March of last year and that anniversary is fast approaching it seems. The other day I went back to the SIT school here in Kathmandu at which I studied in 2007. I saw many of my old teachers and staff. In particular my dear Language teacher and friend Minaji. It felt good to see them again and to see her beaming as my Nepali has improved again since I've seen her last. I also met the new batch of students that had just arrived to start their semester abroad. They all looked so young and the big eyes that i surely had my first week in Nepal. But thinking back to that day when I first came her it seems ages ago. And it has allowed me to see all that I have learned, grown familiar with, and just grown as a person.
I have learned a great deal in terms of professional skills and experiences that will undoubtedly help me in my career. Many of the theories and case studies that i learned about in undergrad I now have practical experience that I have seen how these theories stand up to and where they fall short. I have learned to hold meetings with important and high ranking people as well as worked along side some incredibly impressive Human Rights Defenders. And I must say that the latter have inspired me to continue to work in this field. I already had quite a bit of motivation for this but it is certainly reinforced by their influence. I have also learned a great deal about Nepali culture and language in my time since i was a new student here. And what has allowed me to see my progress since I was in the shoes of those students the most is that When I think of my relationship with my work, living in Nepal, Speaking another language, etc.... is that I feel comfortable. Although Nepal will always be a foreign country and I will never know everything, or even a fraction, that there is to know here. I am at a place where I feel very comfortable here. Same with my language ability. I am not fluent but I am comfortable talking to most anyone about most everything. And with working as a Conflict Resolution Professional I am early in my career and have much to learn, but again i feel comfortable in this role. This tells me I am in the right place and in the right line of work. And that is a very comforting thought.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Well, My dear sister Kelly came to visit me in the begining of October and we had a wonderful time. She came to Gularia, the town i am working in, for a while and saw the life i am leading now. She and i spend a fair amount of time with my friend Surendra(in the photo)in the times that I was not working. And he even kept her company when i was on the job some of the time. We then went to the Bardiya National park for a weekend and stayed in a lodge and took a nice long day hike in the jungle. We say monkeys, impressive birds, dear, a family of wild boar crossing a river, a quick glimps of a rhino's butt, crocadiles, etc... we also saw many tracks of boath wild elephant and tigers! Then i took a few days off and spent them with Kell in Kathmandu. We went to see a few sights, spent the day with one of the families that i have lived with ("the best day ive had here" kelly said), and went to my old school that i attened back in 2007. All in all it was a wonderful trip and it did us both good to spend time with eachother again. And ill have you all know that we were serious and mature the whole time and did nothing wierd or silly or had any shinanagins.

And shortly after this wonderful visit and break from the stress of my job, I came home to La Crosse for my best friend Tyler's wedding. The day of the wedding was what everyone hopes it will be. The weather was wonderful, the cerimony went off without a hitch, mothers were crying, no one fainted, and we danced up a storm at the reception. (this particularly references me and my mother rockin it as we did the twist)It is allways such a happy ocasion to be at weddings and think about people just loving on eachother. I am not looking forward to going back to work feeling very rejuvinated and ready to put my nose back to the grind-stone.
Much love to all.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pictures below

Ok so i finally got some pictures loaded on here. And it took about 6 hours with the internet I have so I hope you enjoy them! =) The first one is of me and my homestay brother Dinesh, whom I became very close to. I went with him one day to AB News television where he works as a digital editor. The second picture is of me and Dinesh's son. He is incredibly cute and one of the two little kids who live in the house i stayed in. I played/parented him every day while i was there and just went back to visit them yesterday. The third one is of my homestay mother and father. There are actually 9 people in this family but seeing how long it takes to get pictures loaded you might have to meet them at intervals. And the last picture is of our "yard" during the wheat harvest. After much convincing they let me help with the harvest. After the wheat sat out in the sun (as in the picture) we beat it on a slanted rock until all the grains were separated from the stalk. It was quite strenuous and I loved every minute. Ok thats all for now

pictures from the village

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July Update

I have been trying to upload pictures here,but I just cant seem to find internet fast enough here to get it to work. I will keep trying though and hopefully get some visuals to you guys. I hope you are all doing well. I am doing fine, myself. I am back in Kathmandu for some training and a bunch of meetings. It is the monsoon right now and all of our partner organizations are busy planting their rice patties and doing little Human Rights work so we took the time to do this further training. It is nice in some ways to be back in Kathmandu, mainly weather and visiting people, but i miss Bardiya already. I was just starting to get settled in and make some friends so I am eager to return. The work is challenging but good. I cant write any details on here for security reasons,but I have done some personal accompaniments, lots of security analysis, written lots of documents for various people and things, met several people both Human Rights Defenders and authorities in several places in Nepal. Mostly we work in the Midwest around Bardiya, but i got out to take a field trip to a district in another region recently. I am really enjoying getting a new view of Nepal by spending so much time outside of Kathmandu.

Thats all for now, but I will try to add pictures before too long.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Nepal Situation Update

The political situation in Nepal is at a heightened state at the moment. The new government has promised to draft a new constitution by May 28th but the parties are currently at a deadlock. Because of this the Maoists are holding massive protests in Kathmandu. There are several hundred thousand people who have flocked from the rural parts of Nepal to the City to join in this protest. The Maoist leaders have said that the purpose of this massive protest and Bhund (enforced stopping of all vehicles and closing of many shops and businesses)is to pressure the government into writing the constitution as well as the current Prime Minister stepping down. They have declared an "indefinite" bhund and strike. So what will happen in the coming days is uncertain. The protests began two days ago and have thus far been peaceful. there has been some Cadres demanding "donations" of food or money from people.
PBI is monitoring the the demonstration, but as I am still in the language training portion of my job I am staying in a village outside Kathmandu. THe village is not far from the city but from here you would not know anything is going on at all. My organization required us to stay in the village the first few days to see how severe of a threat the situation would be to our partner organizations and us. But after the first few days of peaceful protest they have lifted our restriction somewhat. So although tensions are high the current situation is a relatively peaceful one for Nepal and even more so for me, safely tucked away in a village. Although I have to say it is difficult to not be working in the field right now. But for now I can only just focus on my language which is coming along quite well. I will keep this blog updated on the situation as often as I have Internet access until it dissipates. Love you all.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

At home in the Village

So these days I am staying with a Nepali family in a village studying Nepali. I have a few more weeks to get my Nepali language on track to use it in my human rights work. And I feel I am on track to to just that. I am staying with a wonderfully warm and very large family. In one house I have a grandpa, a mother, father, two older brothers, their two wives, two nephews, a sister (who visits and stays there often), her two small sons, and two cows. luckily the cows do not stay in the house though. it is most defiantly a matriarchal household. Every mealtime my mother sits with pots of delicious Nepali food around her dolling it out to each family member and pestering us all to eat more to no end. Sometimes I must resort to defending my plate from her loving addition portions of food.
I have gotten close to both my older brothers. Dinesh is 29 and we speak at length in Nepali about everything under the sun in the evenings. We sit outside as the sun goes down talking and complaining about how our stomachs hurt from eating too much of mom's food. This time each night does more for my language improvement then anything I think. My other brother Manoj and I joke around a lot and are always picking on each other. His son, Susant, who is 6 often joins in too. Manoj often takes me around on the back of his motorbike to places I would not otherwise find and introduces me to many of his friends and extended family.
The village itself is full of cows and goats and fields surround it. It is on a hillside so the fields are terraced with the jungle reaching up the mountains behind us. And it is true jungle mind you. No one goes out at night because of the jaguar. I am eager to begin my work, but this family is so wonderful and life in this simple, farm based village suits me so much I am already feeling reluctant to leave even though it is not for some time.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I have a bit of time here in Nepal before my contract with PBI officialy begins. I am spending that time readjusting to life in Nepal. I am currantly staying with my Nepali homestay family from my study abroad here two years ago. It feels like coming home in some ways. I spend alot of my days with my homestay brother who is my age and many evenings playing on the floor with my 4 year old nephue. Who has lost none of his cuteness since I last saw him when he was two. Very wild and laughing all the time. I am most likely not a good influence. =) My Nepali has come back to about 85 persent of what it was and I think by the time I begin my language course on April 4th I will be back to where I was,or better. I have been hiking in the mountains arround Kathmandu, visiting temples and monistaries, and visiting old friends here. In fact I am off to meet the director of my old study abroad program for some tea when I finish this post. I had a meeting with PBI yesterday and met the Kathmandu team, my language teacher and got alot of pre-deployment material. So now I have some homework to keep me busy. I am enjoying my freetime but am itching to begin this work that I have been preparing to do for so long. Farewell for now. Much love to you all.