Participant Blog Day 6 – Rona H
Today I felt very privileged to have attended a Tikka with the whole group. We met Aama, Hari’s mother, who , at 88 years of age, blessed us all with the Tikka. This is the festival of Dashain, their last day, after the celebration of 9 gods, so the last day is celebrating the victory of good over evil. We received Aama’s blessing , a roti with potato dish in a sal leaf bowl, and some money.
I peeled away from the group with David, John and John L , together with Kevin – son of Peter and Beryl, founders of Clinic Nepal. With Surya we headed to Khem’s house, son of a Gurkha who is a Trustee member. We met his mother who gave us a second Tikka blessing on arrival. We were invited into a Tharu house and met Rayan, 6 year and his family. His Mother was diagnosed with cancer in pregnancy who was supported throughout her journey by Clinic Nepal. We then saw women cutting rice in the paddy fields and many men fixing a broken down truck.
The jeep then took us on untarmacked, bumpy roads to the Byaghari region, to the primary school and kindergarten of the Dalit people (lowest caste and marginalised sadly). There were dignitaries, head teacher and scout boys and girls, posy’s of flowers locally grown.
600 ladybird books from Bristol and Plymouth were presented to the children. The speeches were typical for the Nepalese and most surprising was the beautiful patience of each and every Scout listening.
I met with Chunmaya, a midwife apprentice and first aider at the school. A foetal heart rate monitor, blood pressure equipment and stethoscope were donated. Chunmaya attended to 3 patients who had arrived. The children mingled, quite a different experience with no attention to confidentiality. Terribly moving however as it cannot be a given that she can go on have investigations and scans as the patient has no money. I understand that Clinic Nepal can help her with referral to the hospital.
The children became more confident, asking my name and laughing at my many years. The eldest Scout had beautifully braided hair and on complementing her insisted I have mine done too. Consequently I left looking much tidier!
The boys looked keen to interact so they showed me the kindergarten. This is a one room building to the left of the Shore Pavilion, where toilets and showers are housed, adjacent to the Library – a room currently empty with no books but a bookcase recently assembled to house the Ladybird books being donated. The boys delighted in showing me the Kindergarten. It had decorated walls, numbers , ABC in both languages but was unlike any other nursery that I’ve seen. Only one slide. No toys, no games, no tables, no colouring pens, nothing else actually. The children regarded Kevin with a loving attentiveness and respect. Kevin gave consistent advice and encouragement to the children; make learning fun and learn English. Evidence of the Project was everywhere with clean, happy children with gleaming white teeth. So clean running water, Chunmaya’s guidance to promote health and hygiene and school education are probably the major factors contributing to this. Hopefully in addressing the deficits at home for these Scouts will effect change for the next generation.
My whole day is probably best described as humbling.