Kinderhilfe Nepal e.V. / Childrens´s World
- Newsletter December 2018 -

Dear Friends,

Life in the capital of Nepal is completely different from life in any other metropolis: in the autumn, the head of state of several large Asian countries arrived in Kathmandu to discuss possible technical and economic cooperation. The citizens of other nations would only hear about a similar event in their own country on television. In Nepal, however, all citizens - and even the tourists - had to do their part: to make it easier for the VIPs to arrive, 400 domestic and 100 international flights were canceled and several hospitals were put on standby: Private cars, taxis and buses alternated between even and odd numbers, and even schools were closed for two days. It was only because of this meeting that the life of Kathmandu, a city with over a million inhabitants, was brought to a complete standstill!

Since the Nepalese rupee is pegged to the Indian rupee, it lost 23% of its value against the dollar within a few months. Not only the investors are staying away from the country more than ever, but the major projects to build the national infrastructure and rebuild the country after the earthquake are getting into big trouble and many are suddenly on a standstill because of the constant price increases. Despite this unpleasant situation, Nepal's development is progressing slowly. Almost every family, even in the slums of Kathmandu, has at least one member who lives under difficult conditions in the Emirates or Korea and sends his laboriously saved money home.

Apart from sporadic famines in remote regions of the Himalayas, it can be said that most Nepalese children no longer have to starve. But they are not well fed either. "Dhal Bhat", rice with a watery lentil soup, is the basic food of all Nepalese. More affluent people eat vegetables and meat with it, but most children remain undernourished because the nutritional value of rice and too few vegetables is not sufficient to ensure normal growth. We can clearly see this in our work in the slums of Kathmandu. The distribution of our milk paste enriched with all the necessary vitamins and minerals, which we distribute to about 400 children, has become very expensive, but it certainly remains the most important part of the support that Kinderhilfe Nepal reads in Kathmandu.

Especially in the slum of THAPATHALI, one can see how much more important it is for parents to buy their children clothes than to provide them with balanced meals. It is extremely difficult to convince them that rice, in particular, is only a stomach filler and that their diet should be completely rethought. However, they have finally understood what the drinking water that we supply to the 1500 people in their settlement three times a week means for them because they realize that not only the children but also all of them do not get ill as often anymore and they need less money for medical costs.

The slum of BANSHIGAT has also been hit this summer by major floods, but all the inhabitants accept these inconveniences because they would have to pay high rent elsewhere. As a result of the earthquake of 2015 and the landslides that devour entire villages every year during the monsoon season, the population of this already densely built-up slum has almost doubled. Through our years of work in the kindergarten and the health post, the inhabitants of this overpopulated community have become very aware of hygiene, and only because of this, diseases can be avoided. In contrast to Thapathali, this slum is also a place of genuine solidarity between the inhabitants.

Community spirit and cohesion are always present in the camp of our settled MAUTE nomads. Most of them go begging during the day, others sell various miracle ointments and "medical" oils on the street to bonafide people. The tolls immediately spend the money they earn during the day on food in the evening: Alternately there is only rice, or one sees them downright feasting, depending on how productive the day was. That's why our milk porridge here in the tent camp is so important for the children. The four-month rainy season is a particularly difficult time for our employees Muna and Sushma, who work there every day. The community then lives in mud mixed with excrement and sewage, the disgusting smell of which does not disturb the toll people at all.
As already mentioned in other information letters, the Nepalese government is now taking a close look at all the aid associations that have to work according to new regulations. It is the Nepalese "sister organizations" that do not follow these regulations and thus endanger the existence of international projects: Until five months ago, our toll children went to a Korean-run school with other needy children from the neighborhood free of charge, providing them with one nutritious meal a day. Like many other small projects, this school was closed until further notice because it did not comply with the new regulations.

We tried to place the toll children in other toll schools, but everyone refused to accept them because they were too dirty and too irrepressible. So we built a "tent school" where Muna and Sushma alternate mornings and afternoons, teaching the children not only reading and arithmetic, but also personal hygiene and "behavior"... Not an easy job because discipline is a real foreign word for these happy children! After all, they show themselves to be eager and willing to learn: They appeared a bit cleaner on the second day of school because they knew that otherwise they would be washed by the teachers themselves at the entrance of the class, or sent directly to the water pump. Our "toll friends" always live in the here and now and don't worry about what tomorrow might be. They are being pushed further and further out of the construction site where they camp, but nobody would worry about that!

In the village of MUDHKU, where we built twenty earthquake-proof houses after the 2015 catastrophe, all the inhabitants were very grateful when one of our long-time donors came up with the costs of installing a two-kilometer-long water pipe. Now all 80 houses in the village can be supplied with water, and people no longer have to carry water pots in a long way. Their now more dignified living conditions are influencing the community: the people of Mudkhu have slowly realized that their village floor was covered with litter and they were ready to tackle the problem. We have provided them with plastic containers so that they can learn to separate plastic from paper, the paper is now being burned plastic is being disposed of in Kathmandu. It is a learning process that goes much faster here than in the slums of the capital because even if they are poor, the villages live on their own little piece of land and they are therefore more willing to take care of their surroundings.

Once again we thank you very much for your support in our work in Nepal and wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year 2019!

Elisabeth Montet