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Cat? Man, Do...

Arriving back in Kathmandu, to the same sights, smells and general confusion was starting to feel like coming home. I was kindly picked up at the airport by one of our UK volunteer's brother in law and stayed at their family home that evening. After their excellent hospitality they took me to get a new Nepali phone, via 2 ATMs, (guess why....) then I returned to the double edged sword that is Thamel.

The first few days have been full of meetings, all positive with plans set in motion to begin field visits this week, and launch programs the week after, (more to follow). The first trip will, as usual be straight to Gaathi today, then to Sothang to visit the site of this years Trek again. Following that a trip to Dang to work on project proposals with BASE, then to Ghandruk to meet a Women's Group then to Baglung to review the project site and inspect a new potential trek route. We're hoping to squeeze in a trip to Okhaldhunga but to be honest at the moment, it all depends on the weather... However, it wasn't long in Thamel before the first quirk of another day in Nepal presented itself. A young kitten, the mother absent had got itself into a bit of a state, an eye-infection, (apparently not that uncommon post birth) had affected one of the kittens that had been hiding in Beebal's room. I found it mewing in the corner of Beebal's patio...

Follow 1 trip to a bemused chemist with a kitten in my jacket pocket, 1 x 12 hour course of antibiotic eye-care to an unhappy kitten, no sleep, and several attempts at feeding until Beebal's magic touch and return to what smelt like home allowed us to finally feed it... Apparently you can make kitten milk from egg yolk, condensed milk, yoghurt, and gelatine powder...oh and you can also feed it water from boiled rice... The quandary we find ourselves in now is...what do we do next? By our very interference we have taken on a responsibility and impacted the 'natural order'. We may have alienated the mother, our smell may make her reject the kitten. She may have already abandoned it due to it going temporarily blind. However if we leave it alone for 3 days it may very well starve or freeze...or the infection may re-occur leading to total blindness.

It was not without a sense of deja-vu that these choices presented themselves. I've said many times before much of development work is two steps forward two steps back. There are costs to every action, positive and negative impacts. Very few actions are entirely constructive, you cannot always predict the reaction when social forces are in play, (and it's hard enough when they're natural ones). Balancing this amongst commitments made and responsibilities acquired is part of the puzzle of development work, both in the West and the East. There are many ways to skin a cat as they say, but let's hope it doesn't come to that...

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