During the monsoon season, the Nepalese particularly like to bide in their innate passivitate. It is hot and humid. The rivers, polluted by sewage and waste, mixes with the underground water, and many people are affected by typhoid fever and other diseases. Life is whiled away slowly there is no complaining and each and every day is accepted as it comes. More and more children, in spite of the many family planning programs, are born.
Politically, nothing happens. The warring parties refuse to let the Maoists who are after all the largest party in the country to have a share of power. The people have no interest in these intrigues and power games. Also what happens in the rest of the world seems not to interest the Nepalese, most know nothing about the outside world anyway. Kathmandu Valley is the only world that exists. The people are only concerned with what they will eat today, and nothing else is in their heads. In the summer heat we also need twice as much energy to do our relief work.
The new electrical cabling,
with the installation of iron pylons in Banshigat slum should have been
ready in May. This work was not done till July, and then only by our
repeated requests. It's all about the safety of children and of all
the people in the settlement, and Children's Aid Nepal will even pay
the costs! We realise that three visits a year in Kathmandu are not
really enough in order to carry out serious work. Our Friends in the
slum need our constant support and our energy. Our ideas of improvements
in the Slum communities always cause an initial enthusiasm, however
this soon wears off, and would soon fade away after a short time completely
if Sija, who is responsible for the projects, was not present in Kathmandu
and would not constantly be in contact with Germany. She complains frequently
that the slum dwellers only become active when the "white"
visitors from Germany arrive because they do not want to lose our support.
Only through the regular and future contributions from committed donors,
have we been able to extend our nutrition program to children between
six months and five years old in a new slum. In three other slum areas
Djyanti from Banshigat has shown Debika and Jenika in the Samankhul
slum how to cook the valuable daily porridge.
The monsoon season, particularly in the fetid slums have forced us to warn the children and their parents of the health risks caused by the waste and excrement filled settlements. At first we wanted to have the collected garbage sorted, this however would have cost money and is not a solution. There were intense discussions with the women who did not understand why they were not allowed to dispose of their waste into the river, when the whole of Kathmandu does this. At least they were willing to clean the settlement.
We realized that we should start small. The Nepalese river banks are actually the only landfills in the country, and if we can see to it, that "our" slums are at least cleaned up, it's a huge step forward. Then we'll see what the next step could be. We have bought gloves, masks, buckets, brooms, disinfectants, etc .., and every Saturday, headed by Bina, the women's committee leader they cleaned the slums of Banshigat. They made an undertaking that in future no waste should be thrown on the pathways of the slums , but should be brought to where it belongs: the learning process has at least now begun and Bina said jokingly that the settlement would be "at least" free from any rubbish the next time visitors from Germany came!
It is often not possible to impose our western values on a country like Nepal. It is sometimes very frustrating, but in our work we must not forget that even despite thinking we know better we still have much to improve on. All of you that make our work possible in Nepal, many thanks and best wishes till December with news from Kathmandu and your donation receipts!