Monsoon is over and the dry season begins. Along with the dry season comes the power outages- starting out at a few hours a day then creeping up to almost 16 hours a day without electricity at its worst.
Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Branka Pavic, who has raised over $3800 from two Rotary clubs in Italy, along with money donated from fundraising parties held by Bill Boland in Arizona, and Colleen Boland in Ithaca, New York, we are now able to move forward with the first stage of our Solar Back Up Project. Once this is up and running, we will no longer have to worry about how our children are going to study in the evenings, or how we are going to pump water and cook our food. Many thanks to Branka, Bill and Colleen and all their friends who donated to this project.
Our young cook Deepak has become a father. Last night we received a call from him after dinner. Could we come to the hospital quickly as his 22 year old wife, Asha, had just given birth a month early, and they had nothing they needed for the baby, and no money for medicine and no food to eat. The power had gone and the roads were dark and menacing, so our guard walked us to the main road. We picked up Hem (our co-manager) on the way along with his wife and three year old daughter. I couldn’t believe that a hospital would allow such a young child to visit a newborn baby – but I was wrong. When we arrived the ward was crowded with visitors and not a nurse in sight.
In hospitals in Nepal, the patient has to have someone with them at all times to take care of their every need. Fetch medicine, cook food (yes in the wards if no one is bringing them food) change beds and whatever else is necessary. The baby girl weighed only 2.5 kg and was wrapped in a blanket, being held by a friend of the mothers who had arrived before us. She sat cross -legged on the bed of the new mother who was still wearing the clothes that she had arrived in. I am chuckling to myself as I picture the face of an English Matron doing her nightly inspection, but the situation is far from funny. Asha, who had given birth two hours previously, was paying no attention to the nine visitors she had and showed little interest in the baby. She was still on a drip, and had not held or nursed the baby. We had brought an old sheet with us to be cut up for diapers, and I asked when she might be going to nurse the baby. This was going to be difficult for her as her dress had a high neck and there was no privacy on the ward, which was noisy and crowded. Her bed was across from the bathroom and the sink – which was still not in use ( I had been to this hospital two years ago when Bimala was hospitalized after her home delivery, the bathroom was overflowing and the sink didn’t work then).
A foreigner in a hospital ward is great entertainment, and I became the focus of everyone’s attention. People stared and giggled when they heard me speak in Nepali, and giggled when I spoke in English. They whispered among themselves when I held the baby and when my doctor friend read me the information on Asha’s chart. We only stayed about half an hour but no medical staff came to check on her during that time, or even looked at the baby, who by the time we left was swaddled in enough blankets to battle the elements at the top of Mount Everest.
15 month old Puspa has just been adopted by a couple from Vermont. Her new daddy is here with her but has to leave on Saturday after a two week visit. He is worried about the conditions in the orphanage she is currently staying in, three young girls taking care of 20 babies, and the baby already had a badly broken leg at 9 months, possibly due to rough handling. The problem is she has not yet been given a U S Visa because the U S laws have recently been changed so he is unable to take her home. Many families are in this same predicament. Ghar SIta Mutu has offered her a temporary home and she arrives today.
I heard yesterday that all the bus fares have risen because now it is Dashain and everyone who can goes to their village to visit their family. Every town or village they go through charges a tax, so the poor get poorer and the rich get richer!
Two boys, aged 15 were kidnapped on their way home from school. Parents couldn’t pay the ransom – and one boy was found beheaded. The other parents paid but the boy not returned as yet. In another shocking case a boy was beaten so badly in an orphanage he died. The manager tried to fake his suicide by hanging him from a beam in his room. WHAT IS THIS WORLD COMING TO! When will all the violence end.
The other abducted boy was found dead two days later, even though the parents paid the ransom. What is also shocking is that the Western Command in Charge of the Tarai, along with a head constable were involved, and the chairman of the management committee of the school masterminded the abduction and killings. A rights activist was also arrested for taking the ransom and assuring the boys safe release.