My sojourn in America has turned out to be an exploration in itself. I’ve been learning things, meeting new people and tasting new foods.
Ah, talking about food, there is very little I really like but I’m gradually discovering that I can develop taste for new foods. Lack of Nepali food initially drove me nuts but things are getting better now.
Yesterday, we went to a restaurant called Front Page. Old copies of The Washington Post hung all over the walls. For a moment, I felt like I was inside Newseum. The dinner was part of familiarization with mentors who have come to Washington from various cities of America. We will go to our respective newsrooms with each of them Sunday.
So, the real-life experience as a journalist in American newspaper is all set to begin. Yesterday afternoon, I had a good time with my mentor Greg Victor, an Op-Ed and Forum editor at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. We went to nearby Starbuks and discussed story ideas, politics back home et al. He has brought a few copies of PG and I was very happy to go through them.
On Sunday, Greg and I are flying to Pittsburgh. I’ve been hearing a lot about Pittsburgh’s beauty. I am sure that it’s not going to match my country. But, I am dying to explore the city. Yesterday, we had a training plan session at National Press Foundation. I had a couple of ideas in my mind which I shared with Greg. I’m glad that it worked out. I’m planning to learn Multimedia reporting. But, I would also like to hone my feature writing skills. Though, I’ll be hopping from one section to another at PG newsroom, my focus will be these two areas.
On Wednesday afternoon, we attended a two-and-half an hour program titled “Training to Share.” Deborah Potter of Newslab talked both about our traning expectation as well as the needs of our newsrooms back home. We got some pearls of wisdoms from her.
The other day, Hari Bansha Dulal who frequently writes opinion columns for The Kathmandu Post, invited me for a lunch at his World Bank office. The lunch was delicious. After the lunch, we went to attend a talk program organized jointly by East-West Center and George Washington University. Among the speakers were two Nepali scholars and an American anthropologist. I also met Govinda Bhattarai, a student there and my former teacher in the postgraduate classes at R R Campus, Kathmandu.
Saubhagya Shah, an associate professor at Tribhuvan University, sounded quite pessimistic in his presentation whereas Mahendra Lawoti, an associate professor at Western Michigan University--a self-confessed optimist--portrayed a positive image of Nepal. His main agenda was social inclusion. Saubhagya pointed out that the translation of Shanti Samjhauta to peace agreement in English was incorrect. “Why is it translated in English as peace agreement whereas it should be peace compromise?” he said. He had a caveat to seven party leaders: "The changes that may look radical are only cosmetic. Like in the post-1990 Nepal, the political bickering has again started which can derail the peace process."
So very true!