Suddenly a wind of hope started blowing in Nepal! Because of the rather hopeless state of the country the Maoist Party came to power. Amazingly they won the elections of April 12 with a solid majority. While the masses cheered at the former rebel leader Prachanda, US ex-President Jimmy Carter, who was an election observer, declared that the USA and India ought to stop labelling the Maoists as terrorists from now on and instead should cooperate with them for the welfare of the country. According to him, now with this election results, the monarchy in Nepal had finally come to its end. As for Prachanda he invited the defeated parties to get together with the winners as soon as possible with a view to start planning an efficient program for the development of Nepal.
Indeed there is a lot to be done! No electricity, no water, no gas, constantly increasing corruption; poverty and misery were typical for the lives of the Nepalese in this spring-season 2008. Nobody had envisaged such a victory of the former rebels: after all during the election campaign all media had strongly supported the party of the 84 years old acting Prime Minister Koirala by publishing daily reports of atrocities and acts of violence committed by Maoists all over the country. There were 810 international election monitors deployed to guarantee fair elections. Currently the majority of the Nepalese cannot afford to buy staple foods anymore, what to talk of the rice whose price is constantly rising. The daily current cuts, which last for eight hours mostly paralyze the remaining companies and factories, and the lack of gas or diesel gets the transportation network in Kathmandu to break down.
All the more important is our work in the slums. The 200 children are daily provided with all necessary minerals and vitamins and the mothers from the surroundings take their small ones very regularly to the meal delivery. Sija and her staff are working hard. By now all doors are open to us, but as a result we are also confronted with terrible fates, bearing heavily on us, that were hidden from us before: Elderly and fatally ill people are dying in incredibly bad hygienic conditions and without medical care. In order to provide some relief for them we employed Sussila who lives in the slums as a nurse. We pay her 30 Euro a week. She is divorcing her violent husband and living with her young daughter. Sussila is an assiduous student an the evening school for women that is run by Sija und she is very committed to her new task. As a mere organisation for children we cannot address all the misery in the slums, but we can ease the suffering of those critically ill people with simple things like soap, towels and good advice, at the same time we can arouse compassion in the children. Swechha assists us in this as an honorary nurse. Two years ago she tended to our Pramod, who suffered from leukaemia till he died. Since that time there is a linkage of true friendship to her.
Grandfather Bahadur Govinda Rana, 75, died five weeks after we noticed his miserable state. After a bad fall he had lain paralyzed on the mud-floor of his hut for three years. A cursory medical examination showed he had sufferend several strokes and was in final stage of prostate cancer. We managed to convince his desperate wife Rukmani to stop drinking and we helped her to attend to him, so that his end was peaceful and with dignity. This couple had seven children but in the desperate situation none of them stood by their side. In such situations Sussila proves to be a considerate and helpful attendant. After they finish the fourth grade we send those slum children who are good students to government schools and pay for their school fees, books, notebooks and school uniforms. A dentist examined all the children and now the necessary dental work is being done. Dr Binay Raj Pokharel offered to undertake this entire work for the special price of 500 €.
Meanwhile everyone in the slum is on the side of the Maoists and they contributed to their victory in the elections. Many women and some of the men are politically active, but so far our work in their community is not affected by this. Thanks to your financial support we have been working there for four years now and nobody challenges our commitment. Everybody fully understands that the entire settlement benefits from it.
We rebuilt a bridge that had collapsed and was important for the mobility of the slum dwellers and for regular school attendance of the children.
Children's World shrinks more and more, since many of our children are self-supporting by now. Therefore the focus of our work at present and in future will be in the slums. We had a hard time when our completely paralyzed Raj Kumar, who suffers from muscular dystrophia was in coma for five days and near death. To the big surprise of all five days later he worke up again. The doctors talked about a miracle and said that his amazing recovery had nothing to do with their treatment. This was a rather challenging time for all of us, but when we saw how much he enjoyed eating his food again no one talked anymore about death beeing a release for him.
Yet fate moves in mysterious ways und the miracle did not last for long: At the age of 22 our "prince" passed away within a few hours two weeks later. Without him Children's World will never be the same as before. Thanks to the loving and ever patient care of his brothers and sisters his life was of a quality that only few disabled people in the west might have. His gratefulness and deep humility were outstanding and may serve as an example for everybody who knew him. We shall miss him terribly and we know already that nobody will be able to fill the immense void left by his passing.
This month Chini Maya Lama, Kusum's mother, had the last chemotherapy for breast cancer and her chances of survival are very good, though total recovery will only be sure after the usual five years have passed. She is fully aware that she would have died without our help, because in Nepal the seriously ill usually are left without any treatment. She is very thankful that we provided the expensive medical treatment for her.
We express our heartfelt thanks to you for alleviating the lives of these unprivileged people and making future better for their children.
In our next letter in September we convey you oru best greetings and wish you all the best.