For a clarification due to my "recent" post that I wrote back in October, the India/Nepal unofficial blockade has been happening since a little after September 20. That is when the Nepali constitution was adopted that India does not really like, in extremely simplified terms. There have been many talks, but so far all have failed to come to a conclusion. Petrol is becoming less available with black market prices for cooking fuel at about $70 (7000 npr) to be refueled where it used to be around $18-20 (1800-2000 npr). For vehicles, prices have gone up to about $12/gallon (450 npr/liter).
Buses have become extremely overcrowded because they are not running as often. Fares are also more expensive. Food is also more expensive and I have observed less lentils to none served at meals. I am at least getting more vegetables due to that even if they are combined with potatoes along with rice. PC had us come to our district capitals to be picked up for our MST (mid-service training) to ensure with all of us coming in that we would not be on overcrowded buses. For me, it is not an issue - however, for most volunteers the severely overcrowded transportation is from their sites to their capitals.
Once we arrived at our MST, a survey was passed out so PC could get more information at what we see around us. The original plan was to have them take us back to our capitals tomorrow, but yesterday the CD (Country Director) and SSM (Safety Security Manager) came at the end of our conference. They said due to our forms, they want to have all the volunteers (the 202s have come in for their IST or InService Training) together to talk about how things are looking in our districts and communicating that to PC. Afterwards, the 202s will go onto their training and my 201 group will stay for the weekend and a decision on next steps will happen on Monday.
There is a little bit of nervousness going on, but after talking with someone who talked with headquarters last night - the discussion has been positive in trying to have us stay in country. Nothing is guaranteed of course, but I have really appreciated being here where I have found more clear communication given. It is difficult to communicate things over texts or e-mails. Discussions so far have been that we may be driven back to site Wednesday with vehicles taking us directly to our doors. Monday we will know more.
Shortly after the news was dropped that we were not going back to site right away, the PSN committee (Peer Support Network) passed out folders and asked us to open them when we were alone. I came back to the hotel room to open the folder and examine the contents, after which I proceeded to begin crying. They had sent requests to people through Facebook asking for letters of encouragement to be given during our MST (Mid Service Training).
I couldn't make it through reading them all, I was so overwhelmed!! Thank you, everyone!!!! You have no idea how much of a blessing it was to read. When I came into the conference room, it was like we had no people left in our group. We started with 31 people and are now down to 17. The room looked very empty and with everything else going on, my spirits were down. My PST (Pre Service Training) group is the only one that has not lost a person. The letters were definitely a blessing and perfect timing for us to receive.
Another post will come soon. This one is long enough, but I wanted to communicate what is going on in country since my last post as well as my gratefulness for the nice e-mails sent. Thank y'all and have a Happy Thanksgiving! I have the best friends and family in the world!!! :-D