We returned to Chuchepati camp the day before we wanted to screen, just to check it was ok, and were greeted enthusiastically by a group of kids who remembered us from our first visit. After meeting one of the teachers there who assured us it would be fine to screen the next day, we were taken on a short tour of the camp by some of the children who wanted to show us their tents – and wanted sweets! Seems Pam’s handing out of lollies after the last screening had set some high expectations, we managed to leave the camp only after assuring the kids we would bring sweets the next day.
We had many willing hands helping us set up the next day, everyone was clearly excited to have another screening. A short session of singing and a couple of short films got everyone settled; the audience ranged from 100-150 over the evening, including a large percentage of adults! Under a glorious full moon we screened our favourite programme – The Red Balloon and How to Train Your Dragon – both went down an absolute treat, with the audience in thrall until the very end.
I spent much of the second film in conversation with a woman called Kalpana, who is a similar age to me. She told me a lot about her life before the earthquake, and her feelings about living in the camp – she says she is often hungry and cold, and also scared as sometimes people come into the camp to take drugs. Also that she prefers having a boyfriend to getting married, but if she ever does she wants a big white dress rather than the traditional red Nepali women wear!
We had a visit from the police during our conversation, though I didn’t realise until they told me afterwards as he was in plain clothes but had a walkie talkie. Apparently he was just checking up on what was happening, and was fine with us just screening, but wanted the women to call him after we had left safely. Kalpana mentioned an incident where some tourists had arrived at the camp and started giving out blankets and food – she didn’t go into specifics but the implication was that it had gotten a little hairy, understandably the police want to avoid further occurrences of this. Giving out the sweets after the screening made us realise how that might happen – the kids went wild, crowding around wanting more and more – if they had been adults it would have been pretty frightening!
We left on a high note though, with a bit of a sentimental goodbye – everyone was asking when we would be back, we were pretty sad to have to tell them we wouldn’t be able to return as we now have plans for screening in Bhaktapur, where there are still upwards of 30 camps spread throughout the city. It was a great evening though, we felt like we’d really made an impact on the people of Chuchepati camp.