Video by @renan_ozturk // A new friend from a recent trip to Nepal.
Words by @jetbutterflies - Shewa Roka stands with her back to her home. She is 52 years old, but while we sat with her and shared a cup of fresh moonshine she seemed to be simultaneously both older and younger than her age allowed. ~
The hamlet of Dule, where Shewa lives, is in Nepal’s isolated Rukum district. Dule is home to about a dozen people, scattered across a handful of rough stone and mud homes. This is the last outpost before the steep and dry hillsides give way to steeper mountain ranges, punctuated with wild crags and chasms, stretching all the way up to the Tibetan plateau. ~
Without any prompting, she told us about an afternoon well over a decade ago that she still can’t seem to shake. This was during the height of Nepal’s civil war. Without warning, police paramilitary forces stormed through her doorway. They immediately opened fire and fatally shot five men who were huddled around her humble cooking fire. The police claimed the men were Maoist rebels, something Shewa denies. The bodies were disposed in the forest nearby, and Shewa and her family spent the next few years caught - quite literally - in the crossfire of a brutal and costly conflict. ~
We left Dule the next morning and trekked deeper into the sharp and snowy mountains. Still now, weeks later, we can’t shake her smile and her generous spirit - clear and strong like moonshine, like everything we who have experienced so little still strive to understand. ~
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