The young people of Sibuje


Young people in the village are extremely hard working. A “normal” day in the life of a villager is very different depending upon the season. I (Glen Young) have experience in the village in early winter. These days began around 6am when it was still dark and cold outside. A member of the household- usually a young man- would take a flashlight (if they owned one) and walk off into the woods. He would return around 9 or 10am with a pack basket full of wood hanging from a tum-strap across his forehead. While he was gathering wood, a woman of the household would prepare a breakfast of potatoes and salt-tea using firewood collected the previous day. If there were young girls in the house, they would feed the cows and chickens with scraps from dinner the night before, and gather water from the stream at the far side of the village using buckets. The late morning and afternoon was spent drying and processing grain and gandruk, which generally refers to mustard greens. Dinner was prepared on a wood fire, and bedtime was around 9pm- long after dark. This regimented and uneventful lifestyle means that young kids are excited about almost everything, and are eager to help with and be a part of anything new in the community.


Access to education is difficult and expensive for locals, and attending school does not create more opportunity for those living in the village. As a result, it is very unusual for villagers to received anything beyond a 5th grade education. There is no medical clinic in the village, so relatively simple medical issues sometimes result in death of the patient. Youth get very bored, so many leave when they are teenagers. This makes it challenging for youth who stay in Sibuje, since there are few young people for them to connect with. There is almost no monetary economy in the village. All money must come from outside, which requires travel to other villages or, more commonly, to Kathmandu. Those who travel to Kathmandu are often forced to live in tiny apartments in dangerous parts of the city, since they cannot afford anything better. If they are unable to find enough work, they become homeless, or are forced to take work in brick factories and other industries with low pay and adverse health affects.