A Delay, A Shock, A Journey...
So another trip to Gaathi was slightly delayed, (I'm sure I've said that before...) as Geraint and myself were locked out our room by a suspect lock and had to spend the nights in different rooms before they hammered the lock off in the morning.
This was an ominous omen, one that maybe we should have heeded, (the benefit of hindsight...) as the bus journey was one I'll never forget. I'll try and tell it as impartially and objectively as I can here, however my personal reaction was far from. After about 2 hours into the journey an argument began between a young Nepali lady and boy, the essence of which was that the boy had attempted to sexually harass her. After the words blows were struck by both sides, (I did not see his, but was informed later) until myself and several other Nepali boys restrained the boy. The exchange continued in a a very ugly and unpleasant manner with words I rarely hear in Nepal. They separated and we thought it was the end of the matter, I neither saw the incident but I was surprised the police were not called...I couldn't fully comprehended the potential of the situation to escalate at the time.
At the next bus stop, the boy was nearly lynched. The girl's family had arrived and stormed the bus. None of our efforts were met with anything other than the threat of violence to ourselves, if they had managed to drag him off the bus or out of the window I'm certain he would have been killed. I got off the bus to try and attract some official and saw the boy trying to hang out of the window to protect his head, only to see an elderly man nearly cave it in with a wooden log. He looked through me with a cold clear precise rage, one I fully understand if your grand-daughter had called after being subjected to that treatment. After a female family member struggled the club away from him I stood in front of the window to try and at least get in the way should he try again but in reality I know there was little I could do except become a target.
After I made several attempts to call army officers and soldiers on bikes over the police were called. Both the girl and boy were taken off the bus and detained. Nobody on the bus admitted to knowing or seeing anything, as the police would likely have removed and detained them as well as witnesses.
I've never been so close to someone with the genuine threat of violence to their life, and after checking the state of the boy before the police arrived I can only say his fate's uncertain, his left eye was unresponsive to light, he could barely walk and struggled to talk. I'll be looking for his story in the papers.
The rest of the journey passed as normal, we caught the end of a landslide being cleared away but to be honest that's become so regular I'm no longer surprised. We arrived at Bara-Bhise late, bought vegetables for the host family and caught a jeep up in dark, in the unusually heavy rain along a road that I'll never travel along in the dark again as long as I can live if I can help it.
But, I couldn't stop thinking of the stop after the incident, the new passengers who would have no idea of what had just happened, of the violence they had just missed. Of where the dry blood stains on the back seat came from...
I'm not really sure what photographs to attach to this, what tags are appropriate or whether I should have even relayed this story, but it happened, it's part of our journey, and this is a reality in rural Nepal.
There is a huge issue globally with the respect for women's bodies. The strangest thing was that before the incident the TV in the bus played music video after music video that followed the same plot: Boy meets girl, girl isn't interested, boy 'convinces' girl, girl becomes convinced.
After the incident, they put the TV back on and the videos kept playing...