How covid-19 is affecting Nepal- an interview

Friday, March 27

Never in my lifetime has the entire world been up against the same obstacle at the same time. Corona virus is on everyone's minds and is drastically shifting our daily life no matter if you live in San Francisco, Lisbon, Sydney, Jakarta or Timbuktu.

In an effort to make the world smaller and bring us together as friends and neighbors, I am excited to start a series where I interview people from all different countries about how they are experiencing this situation! 

Today, I am interviewing Ashleigh Matto who has lived in Kathmandu Nepal for the last 5 years with her Finnish husband and their three kiddos.....

1) Where do you currently live and what brought you there?

We live in Kathmandu, Nepal. We are here working with a faith based INGO and working in the development sector. We have projects in many parts of Nepal working in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). We are also working in education. And we work in livelihood, which is helping people see the opportunities to create livings. We moved here in 2015 after the earthquake.

2) What do you love most about where you live?

This is a hard question to answer. We have lived in Kathmandu for 5 years and the first two and a half years were really hard. If you would have asked me then, I would have answered with half a smile and told you that I thought the mountains were beautiful or something vague like that. But God matures us and that’s when change in our mind happens. Today I can honestly say, ‘Yes, I love the mountains and the nature that Nepal has. And I love the people who are beautiful and hospitable and so different from myself.’ But what I love most…is such a small thing….I will try to explain. Nepal drinks tea…chiya to be exact. There are small (think small) tea shops everywhere and …this is what I love….the shop keeper will carry a few cups of tea across the street to the neighbor shop. And that’s what I love.

3) How has your city and country been affected by Covid-19?

Its March 26 and as of now, Nepal has been hit only barely by Covid-19. But the feeling is that it’s the calm before the storm. We are a country sandwiched in between India and China. How can it be that there are only 3 known cases so far? But on March 24, the country made the decision to lockdown. We have joined the world and are waving to our neighbor from rooftops and balconies asking and hoping that all are healthy.

Nepal is a social country. I mean, who isn’t? But this country thrives in community, in ‘village’. Social distancing will be hard and I’m sure there will be resistance after we are in lockdown for longer.

4) How have you personally be affected?

We are in lockdown. Both my husband and I are trying to work and homeschool our three kids (8,6, and 4). It takes a lot of energy as so many families are experiencing right now. It’s funny how you can be home all day and still go to bed exhausted. But personally speaking, the daily change of events has had an effect on me. Just last night, I went to bed and my heart was racing. Anticipating what ‘new’ tomorrow would bring. The big questions of ‘are we going to leave?’ or ‘what happens when it gets worse here?’ are things I wish someone else would answer for me. There just seems to be a lot of question marks right now and the unknown is hard to put your foot into.

But I’m also really thankful. It’s given us time to work on the kinks we have in my own life and in our family. We have to address them, right? You grow patient in situations where you can choose to be patient. And joy…it’s the same, right? Lockdown is going to be a good place to grow some fruits of the Spirit!

5) How have you seen God work in the midst of this time?

I have seen how my friends, who don’t live in relationship with the Author of Peace, worry and allow fear to take over. But Im sure thankful for the truth that Jesus is with us and knows clearly the whole picture and it doesn’t scare Him at all. We can trust Him. I have seen that (besides last night when my heart was racing, ha) I have had another level of ‘ok-ness’ in this upside-down time and it can only be explained in Jesus.

6) Any last things you want to share?

I love what Mother Teresa has said, “God has called us not to be successful, but to be faithful.”

This time is tough and uncomfortable. But sometimes we aren’t called into amazing, successful, beautiful, pointed at your giftings things. But we are called to love Jesus and love the people around us anywhere. We are called to be faithful to that.

So beautiful Ashleigh, thank you so much for sharing! 

Friends, I hope this gives you a little glimpse into what people are experiencing in Nepal!! Please leave any encouragement and love for Ashleigh:)  I will be sharing more interviews from around the world and I hope you'll join me for them:) We have the beautiful capacity to love and encourage and pray for others, so let's press into that in this season! 

Have a great weekend, and if you're on IG, come follow me @hope_engaged where I will be sharing lots of pictures from our travels, as well as travel itineraries in my stories!! looking for a super fun give-away soon!! Can't wait to share with you!! xoxo 

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