Life in Meghauli
Nepal is roughly the size of England, oblong shaped and land locked between China to the north and India to the south. Many people will think of Nepal as the home of Everest and the massive Himalayan mountain range. But there is another landscape, the Terai, equally as impressive but so very different. This is where our interest lies, in the district of Meghauli close to the Chitwan National Park. Here are plains and swamps, forests and jungle. The area teems with wildlife: elephants, rhinos, tigers, leopards, monkeys, deer, crocodiles and snakes.
Nepal has a caste system. Most people in Meghauli are from the lower castes and very poor. They speak Nepali, and Hinduism is the official religion. There are more than 10,000 people in this area, for the most part living of the land in isolated villages and communities with no electricity, industry, or money.
But Meghauli is changing. Health is improving, thanks in no small part to the work of the Friendship Clinic. Infants have kindergartens to go to, where they can be fed and their health checked. Schooling is basic, but functional. Most facilities are poor. The children learn to read and write English as well as Nepali; it’s essential if they are to go to university and find meaningful employment. They are encouraged to attend secondary school, rather than leave education to toil on the land with their parents.
Bizarrely for a population that live in mud huts, cook on open fires and wash under a pump, mobile phones have arrived and the internet is coming. Imagine medieval England with the internet and mobile phones and you’ll get the picture! It remains to be seen how the availability of information and personal communications will transform their lives.
Outside of the schools there is little in the way of organised activities for children or adults, so Scouting presents a unique opportunity and experience to learn important life-skills.
This is where we can help. Our project is to help the local village communities form new Scout Groups, and to support and sustain those that have started.