Nepal: The Project’s Future?

The intervention part of the program to create awareness of the need for better health measures to promote better outcomes for pregnant women in isolated and remote villages in Nepal has come to an end. The post intervention data has been collected and it is very pleasing to note that of the 1,656 people who responded to the original data collection, only 50 were not recorded in the post intervention data… they were away from their area at the time. This is an incredible response rate and their responses should give a true indication of the way the program was received by the people. Binod is now back in Newcastle, Australia looking at all his data… and that should be a very interesting read.


But the other indication of success can be seen on the faces of women visited!

So, it seems, that a very good start has been made in working towards a change in these villages which, over the years, have experienced awful maternal mortality death rates.

But, now that the ‘entertainment’ of the singing and dancing and social interaction of the intense intervention program is over, will the momentum be continued ?


Binod had prepared for this and, before the end of the program, 1,000 laminated posters were distributed to all of the houses to help the women, and their families,  remember the important steps to follow through the nine months of pregnancy. These are visual in content. They were highly prized and sought after by the families in the villages. Binod has translated them into English for us.


Months one to four.


Months five and six


Month seven.

You may wonder about the comment regarding carrying the woman on a man’s back to get the health post. As there are only tracks, often difficult and slippery, a pregnant woman, especially if not well, would find it difficult to walk down the hills… and up again. You begin to understand the reasons why they often don’t go to the health posts and why more  local health posts are needed.


Months eight and nine.


And, if all goes well, a smiling Grandmother with her grandchild.


And a smiling, healthy mother!


And a healthy baby.


So, for the long term hope of better maternal health care, these women need to work together to help each other, and their families; checking the banners that will hang in their houses; reminding each other of the messages in the words of the songs… and, hopefully, the songs will become a part of their village tradition.




The older women have really embraced these messages, wishing Binod had come earlier when they were of child bearing age… they know only too well the consequences!






And teachers, mostly men, need to keep reinforcing the messages with their students.


This intervention is particularly important for the mothers of the future.

These teenage girls are taking intense interest in the messages.


And so are these young fellows… the fathers of the future.


Teenagers, like this young man, are the future of these villages.

We hope they remember these health messages and employ them throughout their lives.


Maybe, by the time these little ones are grown up, the messages of today’s intervention songs will be deeply etched into the culture of their villages and society. Let’s hope so.

And that’s all for our WordPress for the time being. It’s time for us to prepare video presentations to share with others here in Australia and back in Nepal. The goal is to develop this intervention as a model for other isolated communities.


On behalf of Annie, Roger, Binod and David (photo above), thank you to those who have joined them for the journey to these remote villages in Nepal on their important mission to help abate the maternal mortality rate. If you have enjoyed these armchair travel posts, please pass our site on to others. And for those just joining, there’s plenty to read and enjoy in past posts.

I will add more of David’s Nepal photos to our flickr site as and when I have the time… so pop in there from time to time and enjoy.

More anon when David takes on another travel adventure!

Jennie (on behalf of David and Binod)


Binod will be updating his project site from time to time as well:

Our other armchair travel site is

Nepal: Taking the Message to the People

From the twenty eight songs that were prepared by the various members of the local communities and schools, six songs were chosen to be performed for everyone. 


This required hours of walking down and up mountain tracks so that no-one would miss out on the important messages embedded in the songs.


Every small cluster of houses was visited…


… every house…


…even the most isolated of farms…


… and in every school, across the two intervention districts.


It was a huge undertaking… all of it on foot… often on slippery tracks.


The team became something of a ‘wandering minstrel’ show!


At times, they sang as they walked.


They stopped to chat to women along the way.


There were impromptu performances where ever they met with people. 


Taking a break from working in the fields, these women listen to the messages.


Taking it all in!


At another impromptu gathering… the women joined in the dance.

These songs were for them… to improve maternal health.


Importantly, men also stopped to listen.


Older ladies wished this intervention had come in their child bearing years.


There were gatherings in small hamlets.


There were gatherings in every available gathering space.

This singing and dancing cultural intervention program became ‘owned’ by the community. With such involvement from everyone, it’s possible to expect some really good outcomes for improving maternal health in the area.


There was intense interest from all ages and genders.


And there was intense interest, especially, from the young ones. They are the ones who will take such cultural change forward. Hopefully, they will ensure that, in their lifetime, maternal mortality will decrease dramatically and no longer take such a terrible toll on the women and the babies of their remote, rural communities.

More anon

Jennie, David and Binod

More about this project can be found on:

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If you are enjoying these posts please pass our site onto others.

more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

More of our travel photos are on

Nepal: Messages through Song and Dance

Singing and dancing are common features of everyday life in rural Nepal. The method of intervention for this project was to use that traditional way of passing on the mores of these rural villages. The local people of all ages prepared words about how to improve maternal health outcomes. These songs were to be sung to traditional tunes.


With a goal of just six songs to be prepared by local primary school children, like these, it was exciting to witness whole communities become involved in the preparation of songs, with twenty six songs rather than just six.


These were prepared by not just the young children, but also by adolescents, teachers, mothers, grandmothers, health workers and small family groups.

Here are some of the words that were prepared and sung:

“Let us ensure four check ups at the health post; First Natal visit in the fourth month, then on sixth, eighth and ninth month.

Let us feed the pregnant woman four times a day to save the lives of both mother and baby. Feed nutritious food at home. Fruits and meat are essential. Take iron tablets.

Care and support should be given by husband and mother-in-law.

Do not keep weight on your feet for a long time. Get rest by laying on the bed.

Do not let pregnant women engage in long and heavy work.

Inform health workers four weeks in advance. Arrange for money (to transport woman).

Let us make sure of a trained delivery.”

These are the translated words of just one of the songs.


And all ages became involved in the presentation of the songs to their communities.


The project became ‘owned’ by the community.


With such involvement from everyone, it’s possible now to expect some really good outcomes for improving maternal health in the area. 


It’s possible to hope that the current awful morbidity rate will be lowered and that many more mothers and their babies will live to be part of their communities.

Today’s photos were taken from David’s video of the project. We are currently involved in the process of preparing his videos for public presentations… and eventually to be shared with others on You Tube.

More anon

Jennie, David and Binod

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more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

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Nepal: Why the Need for Better Maternal Health?

Many of you have followed the Nepal series of posts over the last month or so about David’s trip to some isolated rural mountain villages to assist Binod with his project to heighten awareness of the need for better maternal health. Some of you have asked what were the underlying reasons for taking on this project. In this next lot of posts, we’ll explore the answers to that and the outcomes we hope to achieve. I’ll add some of David’s photos from the villages as we go. Today’s photos are of some of the women and their children … some of the ones who are at the heart of this project in the villages.


A healthy happy Australian mother and baby

In most communities, anywhere, the birth of a baby is held to be a precious event… a new life to be treasured… as it is in my own family (photo above). For those of us in our “developed western societies”, most births can be and are celebrated with anticipation and joy by parents, grandparents, friends and family. For most pregnancies, the new Mum will have had the knowledge and the opportunity to be cared for by professionals, before, during and after birth. Both mother and child have a good chance of going on to lead healthy lives. But this outcome is not the case for many women in the “less developed countries” of the world.


In general, the health situation for the women of Nepal is poor with maternal mortality being amongst the highest in Asia and one of the worst ten recorded in the world. That’s beginning to be addressed in the large urban areas of Nepal such as Kathmandu but in the rural areas, maternal mortality is at least double the national rate in Nepal… and probably much more. Many maternal and baby deaths occur at home in the village and many of those deaths go unrecorded. The little one above is one of the lucky ones.


In preparing for this project, Binod noted some of the factors that lead to this poor record of maternal and infant mortality, including; maternal age, birth spacing, malnutrition, poverty, lack of literacy and lack of knowledge about the reasons for problems associated with pregnancy. Health care and information are out of reach of most women in isolated rural areas.


The aim of the project is to educate the whole community so that far fewer women and babies die in child birth and so that many more women can enjoy healthy children and have good health themselves.


Most village women have little or no control over their pregnancy outcomes. In rural Nepal, when a woman marries she leaves her family and village to live with her husband and in-laws. And it’s the mothers-in-law who make the decisions about the daughter-in-law’s pregnancy related issues. So part of this project was to educate the older women of the need for better care and ways in which they could better help the younger women. Many of these older women really appreciated this intervention…and just wished it had come when they were younger and of child bearing age themselves. Many sad stories were told.


Older women are being encouraged to enjoy becoming Grandmothers and to enjoy their grandchildren… and many, like this lady, do just that.


A quizzical look from this little one… David would have been the first white person he had seen and the camera pointing his way was probably a new experience, too. And no, he hasn’t bumped his head… the red mark is the result of washed off traditional “tika”.


Part of the intervention program was to encourage men to be more aware of the needs of a pregnant woman… and for fathers and grandfathers to take a pro active role to pay for the help needed by a pregnant woman and to take a role with the children as they grow. For, although the older women can play their part, it is the men who hold the purse strings and make the financial decisions. If a pregnant woman is not working in the fields or grinding flour etc, she’s not adding to the family coffers; going to have pre natal and ante natal care in the towns below costs both time and money; medical intervention costs money. So it’s important for all members of the family to have much greater knowledge and understanding of a pregnant woman’s needs.


As you can see from this photo, the intervention was well received by all generations.


So it is for women of child bearing age, like this one, that the project was begun… and it will continue by being a model of working with and for rural communities to provide much needed knowledge, to work towards changing unsupportive cultural practices and, in the long run, to provide better professional maternal care for women. That’s the dream!!!!!

More anon

David, Binod and Jennie

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

the project site is

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

More of our travel photos are on






Nepal: More Video of Village Life

Today let’s share another couple of Binod’s videos of village life in the remote rural region of the Ramja Deurali area of Nepal.

The first one shows Binod working with the men and trying his hand at ploughing with the buffaloes to prepare the rice paddies for the planting.

The second one is of the women milling the rice grains it in the traditional way.

More anon

David and Jennie

Video by Binod and the intervention team

Some of David’s Nepal photos and more of our travel photos are on

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

Nepal: Video of Day Eight of the Intervention Program

David is safely back in Australia from Nepal… tired but very happy that he was part of such an important program to raise awareness of the need for better maternal health in rural villages. We have just begun to sort his photos and video clips … as well as moving and preparing our old house for the spring sale market! So, because time for writing is a little short at the moment, we thought we’d add a video taken of the intervention group visiting isolated villages and farms to present their important messages in song and dance… even in the pouring rain!

More anon David and Jennie

Video by Binod and the intervention team

Some of David’s Nepal photos and more of our travel photos are on

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

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Nepal: More photos from the Villages

As I prepare this post this morning, David is winging his way back home from his month helping his Nepalese friend (and PhD scholar at the University of Newcastle), Binod, with an awareness intervention program to improve maternal health in rural mountain villages in the area of Ramja Deurali and Chitre, north west of Pokhara in Nepal.

I know that David has fallen in love with Nepal and the Nepalese all over again… he worked in Nepal 37 years ago on a tree planting project. He’s sent some more photos of the people and the scenery that he will miss when he gets home to a very different scene in modern day Australia.


Scenery on the walk to Chitre. David was particularly pleased to see the number of community planted trees. These assist with soil erosion around the terraced rice paddies as well providing a sustainable source of firewood as cooking is done on small wood burning stoves. (See video link at the end of this post)


A smiling Hari on the stoney track on the way to Chitre School. Great gum boots!


At the end of the intervention program, items bought for use in the program were handed on to local schools for their use. Here David hands over the printer to the Principal of Chitre School.


Dandapani, who’s been part of the program, poses with David at a shawl embroiderers stall. I know that David will miss all of the team… they have all played such an important part in making the project such a success..

And speaking of the team, here’s a happy snap of them “all tikad up”… David’s description! Front row, Binod and David with Roger (Binod’s UoN supervisor) and his wife Annie.


A path can suddenly become steep, often slippery, steps in this part of the world.


Walking these steep paths is part of everyday life for the locals. here a couple of young men carry ‘dokos’ full of cut herbage for tethered animals at home.


Most of all, I think David will miss the interaction with these hard working women who were so very appreciative of the intervention program. Here, a group sits in their corn field watching an impromptu concert of songs and dances about the importance of their health.

Older women like these commented often that they just wished that a program such as this had happened in their younger days. Too may women and their babies have died from lack of knowledge and assistance. But now they will help the young women of today… mother’s-in-law caring for daughters-in-law.


And of course, he’ll miss the children like these… a serious sister, a smiling brother.


And just as David will miss the people he lived with for a month, I’m sure those like his little shadow, Gani babu, will miss their experiences with a foreigner from Australia. I have a feeling that one day David will return to see how they are all getting on in life.

As David wings his way towards Australia, I’m sure he’s looking forward in many ways to being at home. And being one who loves to cook, he may well appreciate even more his modern cooking facilities. Let’s finish today with a video of Binod cooking his meal in the village in the traditional way on a small wood fired ‘stove’.

More anon   Jennie (for David)

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

The project site is

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

More of David’s Nepal adventure photos are being added to our travel flickr site:

The project site will be updated by Binod

More of our travel stories and photos can be found on


Nepal: Final Days in Pokhara

Excerpts of emails from David…

At the beginning of the day….

I was up and about a bit later this morning as there was a big lightning and thunder storm around 4am.  I doubt that anyone except the deaf could have slept through it all.  The thunder rolled around the valley for what appeared to be forever… but was probably only 30 mins or so.  I woke again a bit before 06.00 but overcame that by rolling over and not moving again for over another hour.  ‘Twas nice!  Very nice to stop for a bit. It has been a hectic four weeks.

I’ll try to get some musings written about these, my last days in Pokhara for Jennie to add to our WordPress site. 

At the end of the day….

The roller shutters of most of the retail establishments are rattling closed, the streets are emptying fast.  It’s bed time in these parts.  So let me muse a little on the doings of the day… or at least of the evening. A bit before 18.00, I suddenly realised that this was to be the last night in Pokhara for Binod for around 2 years.  He was to call me to arrange to have dinner with me somewhere near my hotel.  Now, as I can more that adequately look after myself, I called him on my Ncell Nepali cell phone and told him that he MUST spend his last night here with his family.  I believe he was grateful for the suggestion as, being the gentleman he is, he was putting me before his family.

He agreed it would be nice to be ‘let off the hook’, so I went off to have my last massage with Bhumesh this eveing instead of tomorrow morning… suited me fine as that leaves tomorrow open to cater to all the possibilities that can arise in these parts of the world.  Oh, how good is a massage after all that walking up and down steep mountain tracks!

Being on my own for dinner also meant that I could wander up the street to my ‘favourite’ bar/restaurant – The Rainbow Bar.  There, my friendly waiter, Robin from Hetauda, was to greet me in his usual warm manner.  He had only just arrived in Pokhara the day before I met him on my first occasion to visit the place. He was just starting to get used to life away from his family.

 I remembered the name “Hetauda” well. It was the place “Star Beer” was brewed and that was virtually the only local beer to be had in Nepal 37 years ago when I lived here.  I’m told that beer was full of glycerine then… but that didn’t stop the ex-pat community from consuming rather large quantities of the stuff in this rather humid climate… well, that was our excuse anyway.  Interestingly, in those days, the beer was brought up the Rajpath (road from India) in hessian sacks, packed into the back of a Tata truck.  Each bottle had a rice-stalk cone placed over it to protect it from the tortuous climb up to Kathmandu.  If I remember correctly, there were around 1,500 hairpin bends in the 30km length of the Rajpath.  I travelled this route on numerous occasions and I remember well the interesting situations that would develop when two Tata trucks met each other on one of those hair-pin bends.  One had to back up as there was no way they could pass each other… a sheer drop on one side and a sheer cliff on the other.  In these situations, blowing the horn is more than a life-saving event.  There is now a less tortuous route from India to land-locked Nepal.

Back to my chat with the waiter, Robin. I asked him if he was married.  Yes, he is… and with a 4 year old daughter.  “When did he think he would get back home?”, was the obvious next question.  I suggested ‘Dasain” the major festival of the Nepali calendar.  “No”, he said, “I’m a Christian”.  So, maybe, Christmas is the opportunity he will take to reunite with his family… but that’s in the middle of the tourist season, albeit a a bit of a downturn time.  All one can hope for is that he is not away from his family for too long to miss out completely on his daughter’s growing up. I’ve enjoyed my chat’s with Robin and hoped that a bit of friendliness helped to lessen some of the loneliness for him. 

 As an aside… I read in the English language newspaper on a table in the lobby of this fine establishment, the Adam Hotel, that Qatar has offered an armistice to illegal immigrants to leave the country without prosecution.  It’s estimated that this will benefit up to 22,000 Nepalis. Who knows how many other Nepalis have left their families and country to earn enough money to provide, in particular, a better education for their kids ?  It beggars the imagination, and we in Australia, in the Land of Plenty, by most standards, send refugees to remote islands and let them rot!!!!  We, again from the the Land of Plenty, cannot possibly conceive what it must take to leave behind one’s country of birth, with what you can carry on your back, and head into the unknown.  Shame on us!  Mind you, I believe that if we let these people in, they must accept our standards and rules and the first foot put out of place and that individual is on the first plane back to where they came from, no matter what the consequences are.  If Australia was such a good place to come to in the beginning, then they should live by our rules!  Now, I admit, those few words have ended these musings with a bit of pontification, but I don’t say “Sorry”. 

So what, in fact, did I have for my meal this time….  I ordered a fungi (read mushroom) pizza, but in my defence, it was the first non-Nepali meal I’ve had in 4 weeks.  I also ordered a ‘Nepali’ Ice’ beer, at 7% alcohol. It was lovely and chisso (cold) and the next one was just as good.

Now back in better internet connection, I’ve sent Jennie some photos of my final days in the villages… good memories of an exceptional experience:


Children from one of the primary schools we visited.


Our farewell from the Thanti High School. Binod and I had been given the inevitable scarf… in this case yellow… so we do stand out from that sea of blue uniforms.


Our beds being returned to their rightful owners. Many thanks!


My farewell from the newly completed health post which was my home away from home while staying here in this pretty remote and isolated part of Nepal. Such friendly people… and yes another scarf… this time in red… matches the farewell tika on my forehead!


A photo of some very happy women… happy that Binod had come to their communities to bring hope of better awareness in these rural villages of the need for much better health programs especially for pregnant women and for safer births. Binod had worked non stop for four months and the results are very promising. So much has been achieved here in these villages on such an important community based program.


I know Binod feels very happy with the outcome of all of his vision and hard work… well actually it’s only the start of his vision for better health for rural Nepal. He has a twenty year plan and, being the dedicated person he is, I’m sure he will achieve his goals and dreams. He’s seen here with the man who tailored my Nepali outfit that I was wearing in the post about the visit to the school in Chitre.

Jennie has begun to add photos of my time here in Nepal to her flickr site… and we’ll add more photos when I get home and sort out my SD Cards. In the meantime why not check out the site:

Updates of Binod’s work will be added to his site for this program:

More anon from Kathmandu… my last port of call before heading home to Australia.


If you have enjoyed reading of this journey into rural Nepal, please pass our website onto family and friends.



Nepal: Chitre; One of the Song Program Intervention Areas

While David was back in Pokhara, he was able to send through a couple of photos of his visit to the school at Chitre… the children there had taken part in the singing intervention program.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 10.33.30 PM

As you can see from this Google images shot, the terrain between David and Binod’s ‘home base’ at Ranja Deurali (bottom centre) and Chitre (top right) is not an easy walk… and walk it was as there are no roads… unless of course you go right back down to the valley… and that’s a very rough, tortuous road anyway.  To show you the sort of walk, I’ll add one of Binod’s video You Tube links at the end of this post.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 10.35.17 PM

Another closer up Google maps aerial shot shows the area of Chitre. People are scattered throughout the area. Binod took his intervention program to 49 ‘places’ in the area ranging from small settlements of 12 houses to isolated farms. In all he covered 390 homes and the program in Chitre area involved 1,042 people. (In the Ramja Deurali area, which has somewhat larger settlements of up to 25 houses, a total of 1,327 people from 421 houses were involved.) Every house received the visual poster of ways to improve maternal health and pregnancy and everyone had the opportunity to be involved… most were more than happy to do so.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 10.44.27 PM

The above photo from the web looks into the Chitre valley.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 10.42.23 PM

The school was built with the help of volunteers in 2013. Chitre is on one of the newer ‘treks’ in Nepal and has thus had some interest from visitors in the last few years. The school was solidly built and was not damaged in the earthquake. It’s a big asset to the children of the area.


Inside, the school is not quite what we are used to, but they do have a school… and how could you not fall instantly in love with these bright eyed children. There up to 35 children per class.


You may not instantly recognise the man handing out books and pens to some younger children…  It’s David dressed in his bespoke Nepali outfit! In Nepali, the white trousers are called ‘SURWA’, the top is a ‘DAURA’, and the long waist coat is an ‘ASKOT’. And, of course, there’s a hat to add to David’s men’s hat collection that adorns the lounge in our home.

One thing that we  try to do when visiting such countries, is to give books, pens and pencils to little schools like this… but we always buy them in country to add to the local economy.


And here’s David, dressed Nepali style, on the track to Chitre school (blue roof).

An earlier walk that Binod did from Ramja Deurali to Chitre as shown on the following You Tube site recorded a couple of months ago.

More anon

Jennie… David and Binod send their best wishes to all

Personal photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

The project site is

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

More of our travel photos are on



Nepal: End of Maternal Health Awareness Intervention Program

After four very busy months in remote, rural mountain villages of Nepal, Binod’s program to raise awareness for the need to improve maternal health has come to an end. The program involved groups preparing song words to traditional style music that imparted the messages of the worth of mothers and the importance of good maternal health in pregnancy and beyond.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 7.10.13 AM

This map shows the two ‘village development committee’ areas that took part in the project. The Chitre area is shown in red, with the Ramja Duerali area below. The terrain between the many villages in these areas is mountainous and it’s taken a dedicated effort by all involved, especially Binod, to complete this program of promoting the need for better maternal health through the medium of a community singing competition.

Binod writes: “We have now completed the intervention in the villages. We organised eighty sessions altogether in the two intervention areas. The singing sessions covered all (811) houses of the study area. A total of 2,369 people participated and/or observed the singing sessions in person.

We have also now completed the post-intervention data collection. There were 1,653 responses in the baseline survey and we now have 1,602 responses in the post-intervention survey. (51 respondents in both control and intervention areas moved out of the area over the four month period).”

Binod will examine all of this data on his return to Australia but he and David feel sure, from anecdotal evidence, that the program was an outstanding success and very much appreciated in the village communities. Binod will keep his site updated at: 


So now, Binod and David have left this beautiful but remote area of Nepal in the first stages of their return to Australia. Binod is seen here standing by the chautari (resting place) outside their much frequented ‘tea house’.


On a clear day, there are wonderful views from this area, like this view of Macchapucchre (Fish Tail Mountain) 6993m (22,943 ft). 

But the time had come to leave these friendly people and take that rather arduous journey back to the town of Pokhara. David’s email takes up their story:

“We’re back in PKR after a 3½ hour drive, this time in the same vehicle all the way.  In the past we’ve walked or used the jeep to the main road and then taken a taxi to PKR but, this time, there was so much stuff to return to PKR that it was easier and cheaper to hire the jeep for the whole journey.  I think the driver, who was very good on the rough stuff where he averaged under 10km/h, liked it when he could do 70km/h!  He was up to it but not his vehicle.  With the back stuffed full and up to 7 people on board, the old jeep tended to roll and sway all over the place.

So I’m back at the Adam Hotel for the princely sum of USD25/night. Binod has given me the morning off. I think I need it after so many days without a break and I’m sure Binod deserves a break after over 4 months without a stop!  I still woke before 06.00 so did some ‘illegal’ washing in my room, washed me as well and now I’m ready to write to you.  It is still not 07.00.  So much for a sleep-in.

Binod and I visited the tee-shirt shop a little way up the road to pick up my bespoke tee which was supposed to have been ready by last Sunday.  Still not done!  It has to be ready by 20.00 Thursday evening or I said I wanted my money back.  Looks as though we’ll spend an extra couple of days here rather than in KTM where transport and costs are a bit higher. I’m going to concentrate on editing the video I took, as it is what I know.  I will need better editing possibilities to deal with the earlier footage… so that’s a job for home.

Binod brought to my attention an article in the “Kathmandu Post” of Sunday 14 August. The headline read: “90 of 724 quake-struck health facilities rebuilt.” In essence the article mentions that a total of 927 health facilities buildings were damaged by the earthquake which occurred on April 25 and May 12 and claimed nearly 9000 lives and injured over 22,000 people. 103 of those health facility buildings were damaged in Kavre and 90 in Sindhupalchok… both of these districts were covered by the tree planting project that I was involved her in Nepal 37 years ago. There were also 89 health buildings damaged in Kathmandu and 83 in Gorkha.  These buildings provided day-to-day health services.  (The rest of the buildings were quarters and toilet facilities.)

“Mahendra Shrestha, a spokesperson for the MoH, said reconstruction of health facilities could not be carried out during the (135 days long) Indian border blockade, hence the delay. Many health facilities that are yet to be rebuilt are providing services from rented rooms or makeshift structures.  Some delays have been caused by hassles in acquiring land.”

It’s lunch time here in PKR… not sure what is in store for the afternoon let alone what’s in store for my stomach tonight. We’ve had a blackout/load-sharing for three hours from 9 this morning.  Back on at 12.  I have a feeling is will go off again at 3.  At least the lights, fan and internet don’t go off, just the AC.

Later: I went out about 18.30 to find some dinner and realised after a hundred metres or so that I didn’t have my phone, so went back for it.  In the time it took me to trundle upstairs, pick up the phone and get back down to the lobby, there was Binod and his nephew from Barcelona.  I could have missed them by seconds!  We went across the road to a restaurant that specialises in food from the Mustang District.  Really very good and probably the tenderest meat (mutton, read goat) that I’ve had since arriving in the country.  Lovely side dishes as well.  Perhaps the highlight was the raksi from that area. It was served in their traditional way.  This is done by heating ghee and adding uncooked rice.  The rice is allowed to cook until it turns ‘red’, then the raksi is added. The concoction is served in a glass with rice and all.  The rice becomes a bit crunchy in the process and the raksi is of course warm  The ghee is used to raise the temperature as the altitude of the Mustang area is quite high (2,700m).  I was back home about 21.30, thankfully, this time, not feeling stuffed. Even with all the exercise that I’ve been involved in, I’m sure I’ve put on weight.  Binod certainly has in his time in Nepal.

Apart from being extended beyond all realms of possibility over the last few weeks, dare I sat it, I have had absolutely no problems except for the usual sub-Continent ‘looseness’ of the bowels… and that goes with the territory and change of diet. In this place, again dare I say it… you never trust a fart!!!!!!

Apologies… no photos today.  I’ve got to meet Binod to get some laundry organised and to book our flight tickets from PKR to KTM. So my thoughts are turning towards home. It has been an extraordinary experience and when I do get home and we sort out my photos, we’ll upload them to our site… but that might be a couple of weeks away.”

In the meantime, we’ll add some You Tube video links of village life and the intervention program on this site on Monday, Wednesday and Friday as usual.

Jennie (for David and Binod)

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