Nepal has one of the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world and the third highest child marriage prevalence in South Asia after Bangladesh and India. 5,000 – 15,000 women and girls are trafficked annually to India for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. Two studies ordered by the Supreme Court and conducted by the GoN in 2008 uncovered that there were nearly 1,200 massage parlors, dance bars, and cabin restaurants in Kathmandu alone; employing nearly 50,000 workers out of which 80% were women aged 12 to 30. Approximately 50% of them suffer from some form of exploitation, including 9,000-15,000 of them who are underage.
They were evicted from the forest when they were in their early 20's. Even today when they enter the forest they stop and pray to the forest gods to watch over and protect them from harm. Uganda Wildlife Authority ( www.ugandawildlife.org ) organises day treks into the forest. The 8km trek commences at Muhavura, winds through thick forest and ends at the Batwa Caves. The cave served as the home to the leader of the Batwa community while they were still living inside the forests. For 80$ pp its a steal. The trek is conducted by 5-6 Batwa pygmies who keep you entertained with the stories and songs from their lost life.
Zanzibar wouldn't have been what it was had I not met Rajab, a local from Uroa village. His calm and friendly nature coupled with his selfless desire to showcase his island to an outsider speaks volumes about the people of Zanzibar. I visited the island in the midst of its elections and Rajab ensured that I got into no trouble. Having him by my side, as I roamed the island, capturing images, gave me a sense of safety and comfort. I left the little island in the Indian Ocean with a promise to him that I would be back soon. 'Karibu whenever you are back'.
Nairobi. The last week of October 2015 saw me holed up in Hotel Kipepeo, on a shoe-string budget, planning a trip across three wildlife reserves of Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru and Amboseli in Kenya. The hotel is located on the very congested River Road. A bang for the buck, Kipepeo offered wifi and breakfast at 30$ a night. The loud music from the local bars on the street below added to the flavour of being in Africa. No fans and yes, no aircon. Light sleepers beware, the music runs deep into the night and on weekends is only replaced by the bustling traffic early in the morning. Welcome to Africa.