The current prevailing monsoon season in Nepal has its advantages for the wealthy: there is almost always hydro electrical power and water which they can filter and disinfect. For the poor, the rainy season brings more misery: floods, landslides, and an enormous number of people who fall ill with typhoid fever, hepatitis and cholera, because of the feces and toxins that are transported by the rivers and mix in with the groundwater.
But this year we recorded a huge success: Since march we have been distributing each month a water disinfectant to families in the slums, therefore not a single child has been sick this summer. In previous years, many of them were attacked by a nasty fever that was hard to fight even with antibiotics. Now due to the tireless efforts of the mothers who followed our instructions and forbade their children to drink dirty water did the slum families remain healthy.
We have also let the children be examined by two dentists, and many of them are now being treated by them in their little practice. Especially the older children, who had not received our rich in minerals and vitamins porridge in their early childhood, had bad teeth. In a country where one in two children is suffering from malnutrition, the distribution of this porridge is the most important work of our project.
We have been gradually improving the streets of the slums of Banshigat, by cementing the way, or by laying bricks, so there is less dust in the winter and less sludge in summer. The has resulted in that many people now want to build a better house in the village. They don't have the money but to borrow money from family members or acquaintances, has a long tradition in Nepal, even if the donors are well aware that they won't probably see for the most part the money again. To lend money means for Nepalese to gain power over the family and their surroundings. The lender will then automatically be the "clan chief 'and can enjoy his authority as a ruler:
Because we are treating all the children with medical care and since we operated on Sanjay Pariyars crooked legs. We often find ourselves in very difficult situations: For example Mahamod Aktar, 20 years old, suffers from kidney failure. He goes once a week for dialysis after his mother has begged the necessary 50 € on the streets of the city. He has found a donor who would sell him for 7000 € a kidney, the transplant itself would cost 4000 €. But he is over18 years old, and our association is purely a children's charity. What to do? The sum of 11,000 € is a very large sum that could also be well spent helping more needy Nepalese children. But it hurts us so very much to let this boy die easily, and it would be a great help for us if you would tell us what you think about this situation.
Nepal doesn't offer its' some 28 million inhabitants any social or health insurance: who is seriously ill, dies. A dialysis patient is actually supposed to get two to three blood washes per week, but this is equivalent to the sum of 150 € [the monthly wage of an experienced school teacher] a sum impossible to raise by the Nepalis. The cost of living in Nepal has also risen so much that a lot of food and other goods of daily use are almost about as expensive as in Germany. That is the reason why many slum-dwellers live only from rice and water. Twenty years ago for the sum of 3,500 € which we now spend every month for our project, we would have been able to feed six to eight times the number of people we now do. Nevertheless, we still look after approximately 350 children!
The people in the slums have recognized too late that they shouldn't have been seduced by the deceptive charms of the capital Kathmandu. So many have left their mountain village in the Himalayas. For a few Euros they have sold their little piece of land from which they could eat enough and stay healthy, and are now in the slums of Kathmandu, a miserable life.
The classroom of the slums of Banshigat being used "around the Clock": During the day the children are taught who will be starting school next year. From 5:00 pm to 7.00 pm the teacher Sandip Khanal looks after the older children helping them in two shifts with their homework. . From 7:00 pm till 9:00 pm, it is the womens' turn to be taught to read and count. They are curious and want to understand what their children learn in school to be able to assist them with their homework, even though it far more likely the children have to help their mothers!
Our slum work is arduous and we often feel that our slum work is progressing cumbersomely. But when we see the results and of our small successes, then we know why we are here and our hearts our filled with joy. And this joy we want to share with you, because only through yourselves has this positive development been possible.
Many thanks to all of you and the very best wishes!