Water, equality, and poverty

Wandering around Kathmandu I passed numerous wells that were in continuous use.

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Over in Bahktapur, it seemed that there weren’t as many wells throughout the town. Instead, everyone lined up their containers to fill from three spouts of a fountain. It was a relatively social affair, but with water tickling slowly out of the spouts, the lines were long.

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People waited as patiently as they could while those at the spouts hurried to gather as much water into as many containers as they could carry.

The only men in the crowd were a couple of teenage boys who had clearly been sent by others, and an elderly gentleman. I’ve read that access to easily accessible clean drinking water is a major determinant of female education and gender equality around the world. Gathering water is often seen as women’s work, and Nepal is clearly no exception. The longer it takes to collect water, the less time that’s available for other activities. Judging by the numbers in the lines, girls are missing out.

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While the vast majority of people in Nepal are poor by any common definition of the world, people seemed to be getting by through sheer determination and hard work. The vast majority of people I encountered looked genuinely happy. That’s why the occasional signs of sheer destitution stood out even more.
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