Asia | South East Asia | Singapore – Escape to Singapore
Nepal Report Supplemental – I know it has been a while since you have heard from me, but there is good reason I assure you. Attacks on schools, school closures and illness led me to leave Kathmandu for a bit of a recovery period.
First, on the 8th of May, two Kathmandu schools were attacked by revolutionary students. The first school was raided in the early morning hours. The female principal was covered in grease and dragged across the grounds, while her car was set on fire. The second school, which is not too far from my own, was attacked a couple of hours later. This school was also run by a woman. The revolutionaries, wielding big knives and iron rods, began smashing up the school. The principal was kept in her office as it was destroyed. The attackers then doused the office and the principal with petrol and started the room on fire. Luckily, the woman escaped before she too caught fire. The Kathmandu Post quoted a parent as saying that their daughter had come home saying that they had tried to burn her Madam that day. This is the state of education in Kathmandu.
After these events, our school continued to teach, but the revolutionary students who are tied to the Maoists demanded the closure of schools as of the 14th of May. As the government would not give in to the students 15 point demand list, the decision to comply with closure was made on the afternoon of the 13th. As of 5:00 pm the same afternoon, I had purchased an airline ticket to spend some time with my husbands parents who live in Singapore. I was doubting my decision until later that evening when these radical students came running down my street with flaming torches yelling protest slogans. At that point, Singapore seemed like a damn good idea.
I left my hotel at 5:30am the morning of the 14th and went to the airport. I had to purchase a re-entry visa for $25 US as I am planning to return shortly. It took a ridiculous number of 5 immigration officers to look at, touch and then approve my visa application. Anyway, I arrived in sunny, sticky and best of all CLEAN Singapore that evening. I had been experiencing intestinal problems on and off for the last 40 days in Nepal, but it kicked into high gear once I was in Singapore. My mother in law pointed out the fact that I had lost a good bit of weight over the last month and a half since I had last seen her. I hadnt really noticed until I looked at myself for the first time in a full-length mirror. She took me to see a doctor and I was so happy to see the clean sterile offices so unlike those in Kathmandu.
As it turns out, I am not suffering from a bacterial or parasitic problem, but from a build up of toxins. I had been poisoned!!! This shocked me at first and I remembered that a Norwegian girl that I had become friends with had also been ill. We had spent the past week together and ate all our meals together so if I was poisoned, then that must be why she was also so sick. I had recently read an article on the adulteration of food in Nepal. It seems that up to 44% of cooking oil was found to contain a potentially deadly (depending on how much you actually ate) form of mustard seed oil. While real mustard seed oil is safe, it has a cousin plant which is far from safe for consumption and this is what the safe oil was mixed with. I hadnt thought much of the article at the time, but here I am in Singapore trying to clear the toxins from my body.
I know that those who know me are now shaking their heads and thinking, Only Beth could manage to get robbed, run over and poisoned in one months time. I must say in my defense that I have met many who have been robbed, 2 Canadian girls who didnt get run over, but were in a taxi that ran over a motor cyclist and at least one Norwegian who has suffered the poisoning. Thus, it is not just me I swear!!!
I have been recently informed that my school will open again as of the 21st of May. I now have to decide whether to be faithful to my students and return that day or whether I should be faithful to myself and wait for the next flight on Friday to give myself a little more time to heal. I am still not clear of the toxins and I fear a relapse if I return too soon, but either way I will be back in Nepal soon with plenty more stories to tell. Until then, I shall be here in Singapore enjoying some good rest, clean food and the incredible hospitality of my mother in law.