Nepal ranks amongst the poorest countries in the world. The people who earn their living by collecting and re-using rubbish in their living shelters by the Baghmati river in Kathmandu symbolise this fact. The migrant workers of the brickfield factories near Kathmandu spend long hours on physically demanding work. They build temporary homes from the same mud with which the bricks are made. Many of the children do not register for the local school where the headteacher tries to provide worthwhile education with a minumum of equipment and rooms - a stark contrast with numerous private schools. Women seem to do much of the hard work. Portering may pay comparatively well but huge loads (up to 80kg) are carried and sometimes unstable loads lead to serious, sometimes fatal, falls. Social security does not exist. The tailors in Dunche belong to one of the lowest castes and will still be shunned by many. It is far commoner to see men sitting and talking or playing than women. Men too will meet together for sport and competition as in the 4-day long archery contest in Manang taking place to the insistent rhthym of drums. Nepal has little real experience of democracy, so it was interesting to be present for the first major elections for a number of years. In what appeared to be a well-ordered and peaceful voting process the Maoists gained the highest number of seats to play a role in leading the country. The children were a constant delight - what the future will bring for them remains to be seen. To see the photos click here.