I finished reading the book I brought with me a couple of days ago titled “Station Eleven.” The book deals with a pandemic and the subsequent fallout of modern society. I found the contrast between the different lifestyles in the book, that of before and after the pandemic, especially compelling when compared with my own experience living in the Nepali village of Balamchaur. That’s not to say that the village appears post-apocalyptic, quite the contrary, but I found the way in which this relatively remote, agricultural community interacts with each other to echo similar themes of companionship found in the technology free settlements in Station Eleven.
There is a quote repeated throughout the book that states “survival is insufficient,” the premise being that it’s not enough for a society to live simply for survival. I found this hard to reconcile with the agricultural community I found myself in at first because at first glance the lifestyle here seems to solely be about growing food, eating food, essentially just surviving. I discovered quickly that I was missing the message, though, that not only was there an incredible culture and people built upon the survival framework but that I was missing the point the book was trying to make. Tight-knit agricultural communities have foundations of trust and companionship that are not often found elsewhere. It is evident in the book, it is evident here, and It’s a lifestyle I never would have encountered elsewhere.