These were two married comrades (please forgive, I only briefly met them and didn't record their names). He was tending to their child while she was studying for her School Leaving Certificate. They are representative of many in the camp. Many of the people i spoke to were studying. As Many members left school to fight and join the PLA, many of them are now not qualified. Alternatively, many others just simply didn't have access to any real sort of schooling.The PLA is now like a university- everywhere peoples are studying something.
This is also a common scene in that the men often spend allot of time tending to the children. In fact in my time there i saw no division of labour based on sex, women could often be seen axes and saws in hand to go off and cut wood while the men stayed back to cook, clean and care for the children.
Their interview of me went for at least as long as my interview with them. Once they found out i was a progressive journalist they were full of questions about Australia, the struggle here, how strong the socialists are, our government, our governments relations with Nepal and with America, the nature of imperialism, and what the conditions for people in Australia. Many journalists come to these camps and here political talk from people who were previously peasants and write it off as brainwashing by some evil party. These people are often uneducated, but they are not stupid. They know exactly what they are doing and why. They are thinking things through, and they crave information. People who want to write off the "simple" people of Nepal- do so at your own peril.
Women with guns. Enough said.
I will add that in this brigade it was made up of a little over 20% women, which is below the average for the PLA. But while women were a minority, and are still underrepresented in the higher ranks, they were in my experience much more serious as a general rule. Some of the male comrades were sometimes a little hazy, but the women were often the most political and well read. Men on guard duty would often talk to me if i asked, while on duty the women would direct me on to someone else.