The early origins of Buddhism aren’t well-known. But a preservation effort in Nepal may have stumbled upon new clues on the earliest roots of Buddhism.
These photos are from The World’s Sonia Narang, who photographed these sites in Lumbini, Nepal, in August 2013 with support from the International Center for Journalists.
Behind the Walls Of Nepal’s Women
The World’s multimedia producer Sonia Narang is wrapping up a three-week trip to Nepal where she’s been reporting on the difficult lives of women who still abide by centuries-old traditions.
Narang takes a particular look at Nepalese pregnant women who are required to work long hours in the fields, and oversee the household chores.
It’s a very challenging life for women in general, but especially for pregnant women. I spent some time in a village in a neighboring district called Dolakha, where it’s a tradition for women to work - they have a lot of responsibilities. And even as they approach their seventh, eighth, ninth month of pregnancy, they’re doing manual labor.
Plus, in order to see the doctor or go to the hospital, they have to walk for hours up and down steep hazardous cliffs.
To get to the nearest clinic or hospital, they have to walk for hours down these rocky cliffs. You know, it’s actually considered healthy. It’s a tradition for women to work in the fields, because for centuries, the Nepalese believe that the harder a woman works while pregnant, the easier the delivery will be.
Januka, 28, due in October, spent the day working in the fields, taking care of her daughter, cooking for the family, and a worked on a side business making benches.
Narang has been posting her photos on Instagram. One of the goals of her trip was to follow up on the country’s Kumari–a girl chosen as Living Goddesses. These girls are revered and are not allowed to interact with the public other than offer blessings.
Fortunately for Narang, her frequent visits to the Kumari paid off. She was given the rare opportunity of being invited into the home of an 11 year old Living Goddess whom she met almost two years ago.
I was able to watch a Living Goddess behind the closed doors of her room, doing her homework, learning math, learning English, and today, I started showing her pictures on my iPhone.
I asked her to play the sarod, that’s a stringed instrument. And she sat down… and started playing for me. I was the first outsider to really get a look at this life behind the closed doors of her room.
Source: SoundCloud / The World
Spent the past 2 days filming Januka and her husband in a Nepali village. They’re expecting their second child in October.
“If Januka wants to see a doctor, she has to walk an hour down a steep, rocky, mountainous trail, even around her due date. At the bottom, she then boards a bus that will take her on a bumpy hour-long ride to visit the nearest hospital. She can barely afford the $5 ultrasound.”
The World’s Sonia Narang is sharing her photos and takeaways during her three-week trip to Nepal to report on maternal health.
Donna De Cesare’s ‘Unsettled: Children in a World of Gangs’
Photojournalist Donna DeCesare’s new bilingual book chronicles the lives of Central American gang members on both sides of the border. It’s called “Unsettled.” DeCesare teaches journalism at the University of Texas, Austin. http://ow.ly/jN7x7
Photo of the Day: Nepalese women take part in a protest against what they say is an increase in violence against women, outside the Prime Minister’s official residence in Kathmandu.
The women demand the government to implement stronger laws and take firm action against violence on women, after a series of rapes and assaults were reported over the past couple of weeks from all over Nepal. (Photo: REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar)
Photo of the Day: A man smokes a cigarette as he chews qat, a mild stimulant, at a market place in the Old Sanaa city. Qat dominates life in Yemen, where most men spend half the day chewing it, even at work. Experts say it is ravaging Yemen’s frail economy and sucking up precious water. (Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)
Photo of the Day: A woman holds a child in Marka’s main hospital in Somalia. Responding to several reported cases of cholera and dengue fever, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF sent medical personnel to Marka to assess the main hospital’s facilities and general health needs. (Photo: REUTERS/Tobin Jones/AU-UN IST)
Photo of the Day: Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who is also the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), leaves a news conference at his party’s election headquarters in Tokyo.
Japan’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) surged back to power in an election on Sunday, just three years after a devastating defeat, giving ex-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a chance to push his hawkish security agenda and radical economic recipe. Voters had expressed disappointment with Noda’s DPJ, which swept to power in 2009 promising to pay more heed to consumers than companies and reduce bureaucrats’ control of policymaking. (Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato)