Friday November 20th – the end of our first full week.

The two 2 year olds who are children of the cook and cleaners at samata - they're gorgeous!

Friday evening and the end of our first full week’s work here. We have all got sore throats and thick catarrh – not colds, but reaction to the pollution we think. A trip to the local pharmacy was fascinating.  Bipin – from Social Tours – took me this evening and I was so grateful as I’m not sure i would have found it easily as it was tucked away down a side alley between other shops.  No proper sign – just a small notice

Almost anything can be sold from a Bicycle!

 if you knew where to look.  However, although the pharmacy was little more than a table, with some very rickety cupboards full of small drawers behind it, the pharmacisit clearly knew his stuff and was able to provide me with strepsils and paracetamol and would have given me antibiotics with names that I recognised had I needed them.  The names of two doctors were hanging above the cupboard and I think there  was a surgery of some sort going on behind there.  I can remember when our rural practice had a dispensary attached, so maybe it is the same idea.

On our way back from school today we saw armed guards wearing body armour out on the streets.  Our driver said that there was a big Maoist protest the Health Minister was holding an important meeting about future policy which they disagree with, and they were expecting trouble.  However, we saw no disturbances and returned to the hotel with

One of many groups of armed guards lining the streets today.

out incident.  Mary and I went ‘shopping’ for things like wool for art activities and waste paper bins/brushes to encourage them to keep their rooms tidy,in the local Jorpati district shops close to the school today.  When you are actually out on the streets amongst the local people you really realise how desperate the poverty is in this  and many other areas of Kathmandu.  People are living a totally hand to mouth existence and many are sleeping in the open under a bit of corrugated iron, or in appalling apartment blocks where several families will share a flat, having perhaps one room for the whole family, with no furniture as we would understand it and just hessian mats on the floor to sleep on. They live on rice and vegetables with the occasional bit of meat – if they are Hindu or Christian – thrown in when they can afford it.  Interestingly, I would say that about a third of the children at Samata are nominally Christian.  Some of the staff are, too, and were telling us today about the very evangelical sounding ‘home church’ they attend.  They sang us one of their ‘hymns’ which seemed to be about a telephone call to Jesus!  We couldn’t quite make head or tail of it.

By huge contrast we were not able to eat in our usual restaurant tonight as there was a big reception

J ust one of the hundreds of impoverished Nealis trying to eke out a living.

and dinner for the most senior professor at the university, who is entertaining guests from abroad. There were arriving whilst we had our weekly debriefing with Social Tours in the lobby and we could see the most stunning bejewelled saris etc going up to the cocktail lounge.  How the other half live!  They are very much the minority.

The children at Samata do not have lunch provided–  the hundred rupees a month that they pay (about £1.20) for schooling would not run to that.  They bring something with them, if they are lucky, or they go without. Many of them will have a small bag of popcorn (the salted variety) which they buy from a cart at the gate for 2 rupees .  Even the staff seem to survive on packets of instant noodles which they eat dry, like crisps. No wonder they fall on our lunch leftovers like vultures!

This is a short blog today as we are all so tired, but have to up at 5.00am as we leave at 5.30am for the airport, ready for our flight over Everest at 6.30am – in time to see the sun rise.  So …. fingers crossed for fine weather and visibility. It should be stunning.

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2 Responses to “Friday November 20th – the end of our first full week.”

  1. anne from finland Says:

    I can say only WOW! It seems to be more and more interesting! Have a nice weekend!

  2. Nick Says:

    Makes you feel very humble…and how lucky you are, even after aanother difficult week at work you realise that it’s a lot worse for a lot of other people. At least I don’t have to sleep under corrigated iron…Amazing photos as well…wonderful to see! Take care Mum, all my love xx

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