Towering mountains, majestic temples, and colorful cityscapes are all characteristics that I had expected for Nepal. I wasn’t disappointed. Driving into Kathmandu, the myriad of exotic colors, shapes, and smells truly ignited my senses and the sense of respect for tradition and gracious hospitality unsurpassed.
Something I didn’t expect was the sense of liveliness on the streets and the industriousness of the people. This is especially evident amid challenges in infrastructure, connectivity, and constraints such as the lack of electricity for up to 9 hours a day and a noticeable lack of quality roads. In spite of this, there were numerous shops selling all kinds of goods and services dotted around the city creating a palpable sense of entrepreneurship and energy.
23 year old Sushant Shrestha is one such innovator. He works in a clothing shop with a few of his friends in the lively commercial district of Thamal. While looking through their products, I was very impressed by the creativity and quality of their silk screen on shirts. They create exclusive and customizable designs to suit every type of customer and then embosses them on the spot. Adeptly running his fingers through the sewing machine, Sushant creates designs that are distinctly Nepalese, attractive, and of exceptional quality. With themes ranging from the Himalayas, Yaks, to Tibetan flags, I couldn’t help but to pick up a few for my friends and family.
Nepal faces a number of challenges in strengthening its development imperative including improving infrastructure and governance. However, with people like Sushant among others who are using their imaginations to create and deliver tangible value while improving their own livelihoods, I had a feeling that this creative energy would be key to unlocking the country’s future.