THE INVISIBLE ENEMY: At the entrance of Masa: Galli, Kathmandu, a security guard stands with a thermal gun in one hand and a bottle of sanitizer spray in another. Ram Basnet*, 29, is from Jajarkot. He moved to Kathmandu seven years ago to take the civil service exam. After a fourth unsuccessful attempt at passing the exam, Basnet decided to move on.

Today, he and his wife rent a room in Kirtipur where they live with their baby daughter. His wife runs a general store. Basnet walks about 90 minutes each way to get to his work every day as there is no public transportation available due to the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. His days are long and he is trying his best to be safe, “I have all these gears that go with the uniform, and I wear the mask, it gets hot out here,” says Basnet.

What used to be a teeming market Masa: Galli is now quiet and deserted. Basnet was hired to ensure the safety of shopkeepers and shoppers. He says he has to monitor and make sure everyone is using sanitizing agents. As he talks Basnet pauses for a second and chuckles, “They hired us to protect against crime, but now we are all fighting this disease, this invisible enemy,” he says.

*Name changed

Text and Photos: Sabrina Dangol @sabrinadangol
Edit: Mallika Aryal @mikaness

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