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Double Narration

“Let’s go inside”, Mingyur insisted. “I want to show you the film that we made last year”. Mingyur had brought a TV set from China, the solar batteries were charged, and the screening could begin any time. Unexpected entertainment on a chilly September morning in Tugling, Limi, near the Tibetan border.

Mingyur put the DVD into the player and we started watching the new documentary made by members of the Limi Youth Society. It was an ambitious project and an impressive accomplishment. On the one hand, the film makers worked hard to present an unbiased and comprehensive insider's view of Limi; on the other hand, the film was meant to promote the valley’s stunning beauty and sheer remoteness as an asset for tourism development. A young American woman spoke the narration.

While we were watching life in Limi according to Limi youth in Kathmandu, the satellite phone rang. Somebody had expected the call and began reporting on the current state of affairs. Ko Tsering’s truck was stuck in the river and Mangal had gone to help pull it out. They had already tried yesterday but the hook had broken off and the truck was still in the river. Yes, the diesel had arrived from Tibet but the oven was not here. Some of the goods had fallen out on the way. Yes, they would go back and find them tonight.

The reporting, adding a second narration to the film's sweet soundtrack and American voice-over, was calm and honest, without the slightest sign of being worried about any of the things that had gone wrong. These were all small problems, frequent but minor obstacles, in the larger scheme of things.

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