5:50 I wake up and I have the usual breakfast that consists of freeze-dried rice pudding with strawberries. I drink my coffee and lime juice!
6:20 A talkative man comes by and he tells me how worried he feels for the rice season. The fields are ruined, they have fallen and cannot hold the water needed for rice cultivation. They will not be able to repair the fields in time. I understand his concern, I myself have been thinking a lot about it.
6:45 The football crazy youths run past with their football. They are on their way to the school playground where they have their football field now. Amazing how much a ball can help with all this!
7:15 Shyam pops up. We begin installing the solar package. We are helped by a guy who apparently works with solar cells in Kathmandu. We solve the task together and it works great! So now solar cells have a battery that can charge up to six mobile phones and keep four lights shining throughout the night! It feels good to be helping with this. The investment was approximately EUR 160 and I think it is well worth the investment to the villagers when their own electricity does not work, which happens quite often. When the Home of Hope is up and running then the villagers can come and get help to recharge their phones.
10:00 First sick villager that comes to us has a cut in the finger. Shyam washes and plasters the cut admirably.
10.10 Next villager with a medical need has a substantial cut under his foot which is also infected. The man landed on his harvest knife when he was out on the field harvesting wheat. The wound is 3 days old and it should certainly have been sewn, but now it is too late. Shyam works and I instruct. Now I get good use of my military medical training and the fact that I grew up in a medical family. I give the man one of my socks to protect the wound. He does not own a single pair of socks for himself.
10:30 The next medical visitor arrives, an elderly man with a fever that started a few of days ago. We give him fever tablets and instructions on how he should continue to take the medication.
11:00 It is lunch now and suddenly the police go past. Apparently it is a village council in a neighboring village that has some ongoing conflicts and they want the police to attend.
12:10 The last orphan comes to collect her material that we bought, it’s a girl and she is 6 years old. She has even brought her cousin who is a boy of about the same age. He looks very malnourished and they ask if we can take him in at the Home of Hope. We say we would love to come on home visits and investigate (we have a admittance procedure when we will take on new orphan/semi-orphan children). The boy’s mother is alive but both children’s fathers have died, one has committed suicide and the other was in an accident and died. The mothers find it difficult to care for their children without a father. The disappointment in her eyes when I cannot say yes at once made me feel so much pain inside. When I think about it now, I get all teary-eyed. But we will hopefully be able to solve it so the boy can get good care from us at the Home of Hope in the future. We hand out sleeping mats, mattresses and tarpaulin for both families and diarrhea medicine and fever tablets.
14:15 Shyam and I go up to the Home of Hope. We are working to carry away the mass of rock in order to save the timber lying beneath the crumbled stone. We get help from a man that we asked on the way. It is considerably hot today, very sweaty but there is a little wind so it feels good.
17:00 Back in the tent now and I take a sandwich and a cup of coffee, and I start nose bleeding. This also happened yesterday as well as after the football. I think it is because it is so hot and dry. It goes pretty fast and then I go down to the waterfall and wash myself and my clothes. I have thought a lot about how good the invention of the washing machine is!
18.00 It starts to become windy and it looks like it could rain, I look so the tent is ok and then I start to cook dinner. Today there will be Indian chili spiced vegetable stew with couscous. I have seven dishes that I switch between. But two of them, I only have a few pieces of so really I only have five. I have a fish stew left. I will store this one and have for Sunday dinner next Sunday!
19:10 I have just eaten and finished writing my diary, I lie down and wait for Sophie to call! It is only when evening comes I feel a little homesick, but it goes well because it’s so busy during the day. I get along well with everyone here as they are all so nice, friendly and helpful. I have been asked if I want to go home and I do not want to. I could not leave them behind here, I want to stay and fulfill my assignment. In the end I say to Sophie “busy hands are happy hands”! And with that last word, I want to wish you goodnight and I will speak again tomorrow!