In October and November Nepal is paralyzed: the Nepalese are focussing on the celebrations and religious festivals happening in that time of the year. Most inhabitants of Kathmandu spent that time in their homes far away from the capital city. Kathmandu is deserted and people are only returning after Dipawli - the festival of lights. On the night of new moon houses are enlightened and doors are open to invite the god of Laxmi, who is supposed to bring wealth for the next year.
Due to the fact that no one came to work for four weeks during the celebrations and religious festivals, streets are crowded with rubbish and dirt, although it seems as the Nepalese do not mind living in this surroundings. While local politicians are discussing the future of Nepal to death, the money of international donors is mainly lining some civil servants' pockets. Therefore some countries as China try to avoid the corruption by supporting people directly. Last year China donated 4000 trash cans, but most of them were stolen almost immediately or they were destroyed by hoteliers, who burned the rubbish in the cans
Increasing prices make the poorest suffer. Nepalese middle-class family needs about 650 Euro monthly although well-educated people earn approximately 150 to 300 Euros per month. Most Nepalese earn only 50 to 100 Euros monthly and that is only by selling their manpower as a carrier for stones and cement. It is very hard for well-educated people, especially women, to find a proper job without the payment of a bribe. Applicants are mostly not successful until they put up to thousands of Euros in an envelope for their future employer. Although child labour is a crime in Nepal, butlers are mostly children under 10 years old. They have no board to pay - which means they get a mattress somewhere to sleep on. Nepalese who stayed in the countryside can make a living from cattle and rice cultivation, but those who came to Kathmandu at a venture ended often in the slums. And that is where we carry on supporting.
The demolition of the slums by the government has stopped right now. But in the demolished area of the slum Thapatali people are holding on camping in the cold. We take care of the health of 300 children and distribute milk pudding with vitamins and minerals among them. This occurs to be the most effective mission in our project! Additionally we give away drinking water to the inhabitants. In the slums of Thapatali and Banshigat -where we still have our kindergarten- and Sinamangal we handed out winter jackets. In Sinamangal, Sija and Muna are still advising people with diseases and hand out medical treatments. In addition to that medical examinations were done this month.
At the moment we take care of a child from the former Children´s world Dipesh Lopchan, 25. In Septmeber we got notice by his brother that Dipesh, who worked in a hotel in Goa, was lying in his rooms for weeks now and cannot afford medical examinations. We arranged a magnetic resonance tomography (MRT), which showed a malignant tumour. Dipesh had to be operated otherwise he would have died in a few days. He knows that his life might be ending soon, but he is in Kathmandu now getting his chemotherapy. Due to this the tumour can be kept from growing and Dipesh might enjoy his last months.
In Bhaktapur's cancer hospital near Kathmandu patients are suffering unbelievably. Indrajit suffers from the same sort of cancer as Dipesh for two years already. His parents sold -like so many other parents do- everything they had hoping their son is recovering in Kathmandu. They still did not have enough money to pay for the best treatment for their son. By now he is blind and deaf and is not able to speak anymore. In the hospital cancer patients are treated inhuman. The staff treats patients like animals, which is outrages.
Many visitors in Nepal are impressed by the friendly nature of Nepalese people. But since the last years while we are trying to support the poorest people there, this impression is sometimes not true. The Nepalese society does not respect the poorest people, but discriminates them and treats them with cruelty. Muna, who works for our project, is telling her story in a letter (see last page) and makes clears what it means to belong to the caste of the untouchables. If the landlord of the apartment, where the girls working for the project are living in, knew they were untouchable, he already would have cancelled the contract!
Despite the ups and downs our project has reached its 25th year! Even if it is sometimes hard to cope with discrimination and animosity in the Nepalese society, we still take care of the poorest with their miserable lives. And they are our motivation. But without your support this work would be impossible! And that is what we have to thank for!
We wish you a merry Christmas and very happy and healthy new year!
All the best