Dispensing hope amidst the rains
Tuesday 23rd July
My dear friend Heather left one week ago. I have missed her enthusiastic approach to life and her great sense of humour.
This is my final day in wonderful Kathmandu. It has been an amazing three weeks and I am extremely privileged to have returned to SDSS and participated in outreach, fellowship and providing physiotherapy to children at SDSS and Pharakilo Ghar.
One of the outreach projects is with a farm in Lele (approximately one hour from SDSS, although the roads are very bad). Seven workers are employed, some with leprosy and disabilities, and the farm produces tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, cauliflowers and has several cows.
Unfortunately due to terrible floods last week, 70% of the produce has been destroyed. The farm and bedrooms/kitchen/toilet were swamped by a mud filled river flowing at high speed through the land. I visited Lele with Bj on Friday and was very upset at the devastation I saw. It remains to be seen if the farm will survive.
The eastern part of Nepal has been worst hit by the recent five days of constant monsoon rains. SDSS was contacted to see if they could provide assistance to set up a medical camp in the worst area Baritnagar, where an entire Mslm community has been displaced. The local river burst over the high mud bank and flowed for 1/3km, completely swamping several villages. The muddy river raced through houses at a height of three feet, totally destroying homes and their contents. People are living in a school while the river recedes and houses dry out (many are completely destroyed).
Bk and I flew to Baritnagar on Sunday afternoon (35 min flight, 14 hrs by road!). The heat and humidity were dreadful and I think I lost half my body weight in sweat. Bk had long meetings with health professionals and doctors/pharmacists etc while I sat looking on.
Next day (yesterday) I gave a talk to university students about physio, our health system and changing trends in health in UK. We then drove with the team to a flooded area, about 45 mins away. The huge flat plains were still full of water and all rice fields destroyed.
At the medical camp we rolled up trousers, took shoes off and waded across the mud to the small medical centre where a large group of people needing medical help were already gathered. After initial thanks to all team and government representatives, the onslaught began.
For 4 1/2 hrs, men, women and children were assessed by a doctor or paramedic staff, then they were given a prescription. They walked around the side of the building and handed the paperwork through a metal grill to a pharmacist and Bk, who dispensed all medicines.
280 people were assessed and all were given meds eg. antibiotics, paracetamol, vitamin B complex, anti inflammatory tablets/creams etc etc. SDSS paid for all drugs provided to these desperate people.
Bk then spent all evening counting left over drugs/getting receipts etc while I had the most welcome shower of my life!
I feel very blessed to have been part of the medical camp as it let me see how entire communities can suffer devastating affects of nature, yet with Christian outreach, amazing help can be given to desperate people in desperate times.
We returned to a wet Kathmandu this morning after a 1 hour delay, and I am presently packing as I leave for Belfast this evening.
I am once again totally inspired by SDSS and the work they do with disadvantaged people.
Thank you SDSS for being there and doing what you do.
Thanks to all at home who have been praying for me and keeping in touch. I appreciate that so much.
Bye for now