Despite all the hardship, Laxmi’s children all do well in school Navaraj spent four months in the hospital with his mother and still became 2nd in his class. Sabita was in first position, and Gauri 2nd position. Wish the GSM kids could do as well. Even with all the tutoring and encouragement some of them still fail in one or two subjects.
The Doctor strike continues and I have been unable to take Laxmi to the hospital where she was treated previously. Instead, I took her to the local clinic to see the Tibetan doctor again, who gave her acupuncture for the first time. He told me to stay with her while he went to treat another patient. . After about 15 minutes looking quite peaceful, she lifted her head and muttered something then fell unconscious. I was glad that it happened at the clinic and not when I was walking her back to our home. The doctor came back in to revive her. It took a while though. He taught me a couple of techniques to get her to come round, when it happens again at home. (pressing and rubbing under the nose with a pushing up motion, and massaging above the hairline over the third eye).
He talked with her for quite a long time. “What’s amazing”, he said, “is that she doesn’t know what the doctor said about her condition and didn’t ask any questions. These poor women see a doctor in a suit and tie and are scared to speak, let alone find out anything about their illness. That’s another thing you can teach them, Beverly, a strong out-spoken woman like yourself.”
Will do Doc. Next month my lawyer is giving our trainees a workshop on their labour rights. When I asked my cleaning lady if she would leave the job if I beat her for making mistakes, she looked at me as if I was mad – “of course not,” she said. “If I don’t do my duty you can beat me!” As if I would!
While Laxmi was sleeping Ambika came in . I first met Ambika, six years ago begging at the Stupa, trying to make her five year old look like a baby by carrying her on her back wrapped in a shawl. Tourists tend to give more money to beggars with babies. I enrolled her in our paid training program, first the sewing classes for a year, then felt making and finally candle making. Unfortunately she was not able to learn much, or couldn’t retain what she did learn, although she was always good natured and willing to try anything. The thing she was good at was selling the candles we make so when I arrived I went looking for her as we have many candles to sell.
“ Mummy!” – she shouted in delight when she saw me at the Stupa – but a little shame faced because she was begging again. Come tomorrow, I said, and she agreed happily. I was surprised when she didn’t show up. She explained why when I saw her at the clinic today.
Last week her husband stole the little money she had, then beat her up and two of their daughters. She took a job carrying bricks and on her third day on the job she was knocked down by a motorbike. The driver stopped and gave her money to see a doctor, but the husband stole that too. Little wonder I had trouble getting to sleep again last night.
Makes me feel like the luckiest woman in the world.
Happy to report that Laxmi seems to be a bit better. She is more relaxed and her eyes don’t seem so glazed. I have told her that we will find her a room nearby so she can come here daily, as well as her children. Unfortunately the doctor strike continues and I have been unable to get her a cat scan, but will do as soon as I can.
We have been successful in getting Benita her birth certificate. Our Lawyer went to Hetauda with Auntie (our children’s supervisor) who showed the villagers a picture of Benita’s mother, who committed suicide by hanging herself six years ago. They all pointed to the same man and insisted that he was Benita’s father. The Village leaders were called in and he then had no choice but to put his name on the certificate. Now she will be able to get her citizenship, which she was unable to get before – this is really important in Nepal as many doors are closed if you don’t have citizenship.
We continue to look for relatives of our other children in order to either get birth certificates or death certificates for their parents.
Tomorrow Benita and Kamala sit for their School leaving certificate . If they pass this they can go to class 11 and 12 and then to college. They have both been studying non stop and I hope they will do well. The rest of the kids are starting the end of year exams on Sunday .
Noel arrived yesterday and the kids were delighted to see him.
After the robbery at our house in November I asked the International Rotary Club for assistance in installing an alarm system. They agreed as long as I could get a local club to co-operate with them. Happily for us the president of The Bhaktapur Rotary club, Mr. Shyam Dhaubadel paid us a visit and has agreed to help. Tremendous news and a great relief for all of us.
Earlier in the week we took Laxmi to a Tibetan doctor who liked the idea of bringing her here to Ghar Sita Mutu to give her some kind of break from the tension she was facing. He told me to give her simple tasks to do to keep her mind busy.
When she arrived we looked at her medical report, hard to read of course, we think that some veins in her head were crossed after carrying the heavy load (NOT SURE of this) but it also says she has paranoid delusions, so I am a bit out of my depth. I was thinking in future to rent her a room close by so she could come here daily and get some moral support and the children could also come for support after school. She was very isolated. Her room was quite far from here so it would have been hard for her to walk every day as she moves really slowly. She is months behind on the rent so we will pay that for her and collect her things. One of the problems is maybe that she thinks she will never get better so am trying to keep her positive. She took care of her paralyzed father in law for years, so maybe she thinks that will happen to her.
One problem is that it is not helpful to her if she becomes too dependent on us, in case she just gives up. We do not have space for the family permanently but she will stay with us for a while. I plan to go back to the doctor tomorrow and see what he says. Have to admit it was pretty frightening for us as we live far from hospital and have no vehicle. None of us have medical training either. She started shaking all over and then collapsed and was really cold afterwards. We got a taxi to the hospital that she was treated at previously but they refused to see her because of the strike. At the next hospital she became aggressive and they gave her an injection. After checking her vitals they just told us to leave because it was not a mental hospital.
Today I gave her a colouring book and she focused on that for a while and seems a bit better. Her son Navaraj said that she collapses like that often. He stayed with her at the hospital when she was there for three months (in Nepal a patient has to have someone with them to buy and collect and administer medicine and cook food for them) but he still managed to pass his exams. Her two daughters were at home alone. They all seem pretty relieved to be here.
Hoping the doctor strike ends soon.
This week we took Laxmi Sapkota and her three children into our home as Laxmi has been ill for a long time. She suffered a brain injury whilst working as a labourer carrying bricks. Her son had been looking after her (he is 14) and the two girls were pretty much left to fend for themselves for the few months she was hospitalized.
Last night she collapsed and we took her to the hospital where she has been treated in the past – Kathmandu Medical College. We were turned away from there due to the strike and sent to Teaching Hospital where they also tried to turn her away. Rajina shouted at them (good for her) and finally a doctor took a look. Deciding it was a mental problem they refused to admit her. I thought doctors took an oath to help people! Not sure how to proceed from here, but thanks to Kanani and Lou for their help in supporting this family.
On my first day here I went to visit another organization for mentally disabled boys – Maitri Griha – as they have requested some help from us. They want us to teach candle-making to two of their young boys and their staff. It is a small and very happy, caring centre for 7 boys, with a day program for other needy children. We are happy to share our skills and will begin teaching them in the next few weeks.
So much happens in a day here it is hard to keep up. We are currently in the process of hunting down relatives of our children as we need to get birth certificates for them and death certificates for their parents, in order to get the children citizenship. Great stigma and shame here if the parents are listed as unknown
It is a really hard task. We found the father of one of our girls (Benita) in Hetaura, about six hours away from us. Unfortunately he has refused to accept her as his daughter. His neighbors, however, told us that he was indeed the father . Apparently his wife, (now dead after committing suicide) was mentally disturbed, and when pregnant ran away to Kathmandu (where I found her a few years later). Tomorrow our lawyer is returning to try again to persuade him. The problem seems to be his new wife, who is scared that in the future Benita will try to claim his small shop. Power about to go, so end of post. Goodbye.
March 6, 2010. Hello from Ghar Sita Mutu – House with a Heart – in Kathmandu. My name is Beverly Bronson and I am founder/director of this home for abandoned and orphaned children. We also try to help impoverished women and run a free skills training program for women as well as literacy classes. 30 children who cannot afford to go to school attend our Learning Centre. I am starting this blog at the request of friends. Hope you enjoy reading about our family.