We had it very clear that getting out from Basti wasn’t going to be easy, the descent we did the day we arrived had as all quite scared.
On my side, I found a walking stick and decided not to follow the same path we used to go down; following the blood track left by a wounded buffalo, I started to climb the same way the animals use to go down. A real winner. Much more kind on my knees and legs. We took around two hours to reach the top (less than going downhill).
When we arrived to the Kunti Bandali track, we saw a tractor that had come to bring fuel for the bulldozer they are using to build the road, and the Spanish nurses saw it clear: to the tractor! It had to go back to Kunti Bandali, so despite the reluctancy on the part of Kamal and the Nepalese nurses, the asked the driver. He said yes, and, furthermore, then arrived some of our students from Basti who were going to Mangalsen to celebrate Holi, who of course joined the party.
We were lucky for the tractor, it would have been three more hours walking our feet off!
On arrival there were Krishna and Maya waiting for us, in the house where we would sleep, and it was more or less the same scenario as in Basti. Very few beds, and very few blankets. The place where we would take our meals was a little way up and we had to cross the bazaar area, where every day we passed by the same drunken men, any time of the day. At that moment, we had it clear that Basti was really good compared to this.
In Kunti Bandali the atmosphere was bleaker and cold, more difficult than in Basti. Except for the girls, who are a real love in any place! 🙂
About the women group, the first day we were all thinking that the Health Volonteers and the presidents of the different women groups would attend, but more than 70 arrived. At that moment we thought that we should prepare several workshop groups with the women, but a little bit later we discovered what was happening: they asked us how much were we going to pay them to assist to our classes. And we went like What? Paying? :-O Unicef and other big ONGs do play that game in order to be able to show later pictures of workshops full of people. They pay from 500 to 1000 rupees per day. They can show photographs of classes bursting with people that are not really listening or anything, they are just there for the money they will receive at the end of the day.
We told them very clearly that we were not going to pay anything, and in fact, in Kunti Bandali we didn’t even offer them some tea. If they wanted to come to the workshops, it should be because they wanted to teach.
The following day, the women were less, just around 45/50, but all quite eager to learn.
For the pictures, it was similar to Basti, only some of them did make videos and we could see that the Chhaupadi was different: they could not go to any water source and they always depended on others to drink, have a shower or go to the bathroom (if they wanted any water).
At the school, everything went fine. The girls were very keen in learning and they were very excited with the pictures project and the menstrual cups. Same as in Basti, we have a waiting list to obtain a Ruby Cup.
For us, to be nearly for a month in the Far-West was hard; during the last day we looked at the tractors whilst we waited for our jeep, which was late, wishing for it to arrive so we could get out of there. To be surrounded by drunken men the whole day is nobody’s cup of tea. Next time we go back to Kunti Bandali, we have to find a better place to sleep, even if that means to walk long every day to get to school.
Written by Clara Go. Photos done with FUJIFILM X-Pro1 © Clara Go Translated to english by Tere Salinero Edited by Josep V. Marín
West Nepal girls need this kind of program. And we need help to continue the project!
Now you can donate for paying one month salary to the nurse, or for some hygiene kit or for the menstrual cup control in September: http://beartsy.org/get-involved-with-rato-baltin
Or If you feel like it, you can donate via bank transfer at: Banc Sabadell IBAN: ES23 0081 0900 8200 0430 1934 BIC: BSABESBB (Your Recurring donation will help us have a better planning of our budget to carry out the projects undertaken.)
or take a look others ways to donate in http://beartsy.org/donate/
Thank You! 🙂