Friday, 6 June 2014

Wednesday 4th June

So Jen and I set off for the VIN office to be taken to the ECD sites and for Jen to find out more about the other VIN programmes. Our first stop was a newly built by VIN ECD site made up of 3 small classes and an eastern toilet. Only two rooms were in use by about 11 3-4 yr olds and 3 5 yr olds with two teachers and a French volunteer. Children were writing the alphabet nelalese and English in their books while reciting names of letters with very connection between what was being pointed at of written and what was being shouted out!!so reminiscent of schools in black areas in SA! There were a few pieces of sad looking duplo, some equally sad looking stuffed toys, a hoola hoop, a ball and a few games in boxes - all very much out of the children's reach! 

We then watched a presentation on physiotherapy given to a group of Nepalese woman on aches and pains and what they can do about it esp through exercise. Plus demonstrations on how to lift and postures for working, also info on uterine prolapse which seemed to what most were interested in.

Jennifer has her time cut out for her is getting familiar with all the VIN programmes. We were then shown the  toilet construction. About 150 septic  toilets have been built attached to homes or schools which has made an incredible difference to people's lives and levels of cleanliness and health. They were a little horrified to hear of the pit toilets in rural areas back home! 

We then met our host family - a delightful typical Nepalese family home with 11 family members all living together. Saili dai the dad, his wife, son, daughter-in-law, 45 day old grandchild, school going daughter, his brother and wife and daughter, two aunts, niece and husband and so it went on to 11!! He could not fathom that Jennifer lived alone - called single life or that her mother did not live with her!! He pleaded deeply with Jen to live with her mother and take care of her, even asking if Jennifer loved her mother!!! This living with  ones extended family is definitely the norm and accounts for the big houses which have been in the family for generations. Saili dai often hosts VIN volunteers. It was a delightful home away from home! They have a black cat very like our Loqi, two dogs, two goats, two enormous buffalo cows and a regular cow, each of which has had a calf recently. I loved watching Saili dai bath and milk them. I had my first 'meal' which turned out to what he cooks volunteers for breakfast and supper - rice, omelette, French fries, hot tomato archa type sauce and Dahl soup. Sweet black tea is also handed to one as one walks into the home. Breakfast and supper are served at nine o'clock. School and most work starts at ten. We shared a room which had two hard thin mattresses on the floor, a pillow, sheet and a duvet. Yay - the loo was western and there was a sort of a shower, both  in rooms with no windows so if the power was off one was plunged into pitch darkness as one closed the door. 

The home was right on the main road built on the edge of a valley so the view was incredible. It was absolutely wonderful to be in the country away from the traffic and to be able to look across wide steep valleys onto terraced intensively cultivated land. The women never stopped working - collecting greenery in huge straw baskets strapped across their foreheads to feed the goats, peeling veggies, sifting grain, sweeping, washing clothes, hoeing the fields, making endless cups of tea. The whole family's generosity and warmth was amazing. Sakai dai's son Deepak is a volunteer for VIN so took me all over the show. 

I am amazing myself at how much walking I am doing and also that my feet have not grumbled once! I have to say (probably again!!) that it's thanks to my new very stylish (she hastened to add) crocs!!! 

The food is cooked on a fire which is in the corner of a sort of open plan entrance off the kitchen. There was no table in the home - all food prep is done on the floor with the person preparing sitting on their haunches or on a slightly raised stool. The girls did their homework sitting on mats with their books placed on the same stool cum benches which are probably about 10 cms off the ground. Plates are placed on the floor in front of the cook and food is ladled onto the plates. Only the volunteers and Salai dai's brother ate with spoons, everyone else used their fingers and then wiped the plate with the side of their hands and then licked their hands with great relish and dexterity. Each person washed his or her own plate under a tap close by. They eat enormous portions. Anything not eaten was scooped into the dogs bowl. Peels were thrown over the wall into a drain that ran down the side of the house. There was a large bin for rubbish which I think was burned after a while. There is no such thing as recycling altho one has to pay extra for minerals if one takes the glass bottle away rather than drink it at the spaza shop. 

There are lots of men hanging out at the spaza shops- some playing some sort of betting game, others holding shop, most just lounging around. At many road sides there are watering points where people can fact water to take to their homes on the steep hills. At other places, like in the group of homes high above where we stayed, water is supplied at communal watering points for an hour a day and people arrive with containers to fill up for use in the home. 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds an interesting change and hopefully for the better.. Hope you feel you are able to do more constructive things going forward. Lots of love tertia xxx