Weâ€™re in Nepal! After a grueling 32 hours, we arrived in Kathmandu safe and sound. It was definitely a pleasant surprise to see Professor Iyer waiting anxiously for us in the airport, amongst all the cab drivers and young men trying to help us with our luggage in exchange for â€œAmerican money! American money!â€.
After a good nightâ€™s rest we took off on our first day in the field. Getting out of the hotel and seeing the city for the first time was greatâ€¦ the bus ride was exceptionally amusing since everybody had their faces stuck to the window as they cried out the new and exciting things they saw.
Although hopefully I will get into more details later, we had a chance to meet several important organizations today. We started out early in the morning with Peace Brigades International, followed by Advocacy Forum â€“ a short break for lunch â€“ then met with the President of Victims Society (definitely more on that later!) and Lawyers Forum for Human Rights (LAFHUR), and finished the day with a Alliance for Peace.
Slowly, the pieces of my research are coming together. I am growing more interested in a particular subject, which I believe will be my concentration throughout the trip: the Security Sector Reform (SSR), more specifically focusing on the integration of the Maoist Rebels into the now Nepalese Army. This has proven to be one of the most difficult tasks to achieve after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed, where two armies who were immersed in an armed conflict for ten years and who still remain politically and ideologically divided, have to now act as a cohesive and unified front.
For now, I must leave it at thatâ€¦ Jetlag has got the best of me!