TheoEco’s first mini-documentary: “Piles of Bricks–Patan/Lalitpur” features some of the hardest hit areas of Kathmandu from the 2015 mega-quake and introduces a rich panoply of survivors, both people and structures (piles of bricks), many of whom we will see again in our future mini-documentaries (we are planning 10+ in 2016 – each about 10 mins in length) including the Nepali family of Christians. We are treated to a behind-the-scenes interview with the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust and others who tell us a bit of what is going on with the rebuilding efforts.
Lalitpur (also known as Patan though most from the area seem to prefer Lalitpur) is a district of Kathmandu and a distinct kingdom in its day. It is Hindu mostly, with a fair helping of Buddhism, with little Christian influence on the surface—Hindu temples and Buddhist shrines are even more numerous there than churches on Main Street in the U.S.A.
That said, there are a growing number of Christians and we get to meet and follow a family of them, as well as their brothers and sisters (both literally, as they have a large extended family, and figuratively, as they refer to their fellow Christians that way): The Nepalis. This includes Amit Nepali, our primary contact who is also the editor, associate producer, translator, music producer, guide, and much more, for our documentaries. We also see his wife and mother in the background and are very fortunate to be able to interview their precious little girl, Prashma. Amit’s father (Prashma’s grandfather) is Reverend Shyam Nepali, an Anglican Priest and rector of Golgotha Church, who we interview in the shell of his former home. We will see much of he, Amit, and the others in our videos as they lead us into the far flung villages of their ministry. We also meet briefly the patriarch of the clan, the grandfather who was a cook at western hotels in his day and a former Christian who reverted back to Hinduism after a conversion to Christianity years ago (his son Reverend Shyam referred to it as “backsliding”; most of the Nepali extended family is Hindu). They all seem to get along quite nicely in the family home/complex where many of them live in the downtown area and have for generations.
We also briefly meet Reverend Rinzi Lama of the “Nazarene Church,” which is also home to 46 children (at last count) who are cared for by Reverend Lama and his wife. We will see more of all of them in future videos as well.
The first part of the documentary provides a great backdrop to what the world sees when it thinks of Nepal as we get a tour of Patan Durbar Square—a UNESCO World Heritage site—which is home to Patan’s Royal Palace and many other temples and monuments. It is a short walk from the Nepali’s family home. Here we are led by Ravi Darshandhari and also meet Raju Roka, the manager of the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust’s Lalitpur office, a New York based organization largely in charge of the rebuilding of the monuments in conjunction with the Nepali government. Here we get a close look at Nepal’s rich cultural heritage and some appreciation as to what is at stake and what will go into the rebuilding efforts. We also get a sense for how well all the different religions live together as we see and meet Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians, all quite seamlessly. As an aside, we met no Muslims in our travels as there are relatively few in Nepal, again a largely Hindu nation.
We invite you to view the mini-documentary, explore our website, and share what you see. We will bring the rest of the mini-documentaries out about once a month as we take compilations on the film festival circuit. We believe it is important to share these stories to the larger world as there is much that they have to share with us.