Hillside Refuge


Which day of the lockdown is it today? I’m not too sure, where I am, it’s easy to lose track of time.

My partner and I have been staying at our house, which is located in a hilly rural area of Nepal, approximately one hour away from Kathmandu. It’s a quiet place, surrounded by nature and stunning scenery. Covid-19 does not seem apparent here. The farmers who live nearby don’t wear masks and no one is visibly practicing social distancing. They continue their usual farming chores – right now it’s the perfect season for corn plantation. However of course, what is not seen is in fact, very much felt. By local children who are unable to return to school; by migrant workers who have not only lost their jobs but are also experiencing an arduous journey back home; and by the majority of households in this area, which rely on informal labour and remittances. The effects of this crisis are sparing no one, but some have felt it more than others. Crisis always deepens existing inequalities, specially in Nepal.

Here in the hills, away from police checkpoints and the underlying tension felt in an empty Kathmandu, it’s easy to experience the lockdown from the outside, like an observer watching these events unfold. 

Amidst the confusion and sense of helplessness, we have been finding comfort in the small pleasures of life: sharing homemade meals with loved ones, learning how to take care of plants, and contemplating ever-changing clouds in the sky.

The simplicity of these comforting moments amidst a very complex crisis, gives me certainty that humans need meaningful connection. We don’t belong in isolation. We belong in community, be it in global ones or a local ones. These simple but fundamental moments of solidarity and connection will keep us going until we get through this.

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