6:00 I wake from various sounds around me, there are goats bleating and water buffaloes grunting and a lot of pans clattering, and the children and adults are talking. I feel rested today! I get up and make myself breakfast. For breakfast I have rice pudding with raspberry and coffee.
6:40 First young child with her father shows up to retrieve a teddy bear and blanket which they had not received yet. I go and collect it and give it to them.
7:10 The grateful dad and cheerful child walk away with the teddy bear, blanket and sleeping mats. Shyam and I give out medication for fever and stuffy nose between four villagers. Then our first patient comes. He has significant abrasions on his left knee from a soccer injury. We clean and plaster the knee and the same guy has also a minor wound on his finger which we also take care of.
7:40 The girl who got a deep cut of the plate wall comes back and her wound beneath her big toe is healing nicely and I continue to assist and instruct Shyam and he cleans the wound very well. He is a quick learner.
7:50 An elderly woman with prolonged fever needs treatment, Shyam provides a mixture of antibiotics and antipyretics that he received instructions from the pharmacy and how to use it. The same woman also has a sprained ankle which I help her to bandage. There is a big need for antipyretic and disinfectants. As it is now, it costs about EUR 30 per week just for medications. I’m feeling a little worried about how it will be financed in the future. Now it is thanks to our foundation and that we have received so many donations that has enabled us to do this. Shyam and I discuss and we get a thought about that everyone who is treated or has been given medication should pay a symbolic sum for it to be valued more. The villagers need to learn to that medicine costs. But we will in any case need financing in order to continue with this medical assistance.
8:30 Taking a break in the shade with a cup of coffee, it has started to get really hot again. I sit and watch all the villagers working to dig up and sort the remains of their home. Very tough and dangerous work and they have, at best, flip-flops only. Feeling worried about how it will affect the “health department”. Sitting still for a while in the shade and writing my daily diary. I’m becoming good friends with a little goat. After a while it comes up beside me and falls asleep with its head on my leg.
10:15 Shyam and I set off towards the top of the mountain, where we will visit more Home of Hope children and continue our check for who is most need of tarpaulin.
10:45 We found a really poor family that is in need of everything. Living with 3 kids under a bad piece of tarpaulin that will not hold water away when it starts to rain. We decide to tell them they can have good quality tarpaulin of ours and sleeping mats, they’ll come and get it tomorrow and that feels good.
11:20 We eat some very good berries from a tree, they taste like cherries but look like wild strawberries. We take a break from the climbing and enjoy the view and berries.
11:50 We stop in upper Ratankot, we are now at 1700 m altitude. I sit down and talk with some villagers. They talk about their destroyed houses, if the water supply is working or not, how they managed to get to their sheds or tents, if they lack material as well as about whether the toilets work or not, disease and if they are in need of medication. Not all the news has reached the villager that we are handing out tarpaulin, sleeping mats, and we have the medications so it suits us to tell. Everyone in the village speaks Nepali with some type of Tibetan dialect. I understand nothing but Shyam translates a lot to me. Many show their gratitude both to me and Shyam and it is great to see that both sleeping mats and teddy bears are in place in their “home”. While we’re talking, we see some who disagree on something, we do not know what it is but the men and women are really angry at each other.
12:20 We are invited to a baptism, a two-week old baby is going to be baptized. It is a Buddhist baptism and it is more like a naming ceremony. They offer rice beer and chicken stew as festive lunch. Shyam eats rice, chicken and potatoes. I take myself a nutrition bar, I am a bit afraid of eating the village food if I get ill. It smells, however, very good.
13:15 We go on up to the top of the mountain of Ratankot and along the way we meet some boys and one of them is from our Home of Hope orphan. He is child Number 9 Abishek Lama, who is 8 years old. They have a swim in an unused water pond. Creative guys have made themselves a pool at 1900 meters altitude!
14:05 We stop for a break at 2050 meters altitude. We have met many on our way up and they all want the time to talk and tell us about their experience with the earthquakes. Being at 2000 meters altitude, I am thinking about if it is the high altitude that makes it harder or it’s just so hot, certainly a combination of the two. My pulse becomes faster and it feels as my steps go a little slower.
14:30 Now we are on the top of the Ratankot mountain where child number 3 Hari Krishna Thapa lives. He is 11 years old. He lives at 2100 m altitude in slight reminiscence of the desert; it’s so dry, hot and dirty. There is no water up here, so much drier up here. It’s almost like living in a sandpit. He is home alone, his shed is very dirty and probably the in the worst conditions of the ones I have seen so far. The boy is so incredibly dirty. He must go and fetch water for the household and it takes 30 minutes one way. He is in spite of the misery in one big smile. However, he is very worried about new earthquakes. But he lights up when he hears that we will build up the Home of Hope again. I feel very sad when I see how the boy lives and I very strongly feel the importance that we get started with Home of Hope re-building as soon as possible. Now when I tell this to Sophie I become teary-eyed. I tell her how happy I felt when I saw that they are using our tarpaulin as roof on their rickety shed, it feels good to see that our help makes a real difference.
15:00 We start our hike down again. On the way we stop at a place that wants to invite us for food, Shyam eats potato and chutney and I drink my water. They talk a lot about how to solve the water supply issue; the water system is broken from the earthquake. Then they tell us about their son who does not want to go to school and they feel anxious. Shyam tries to talk to the boy about the importance of going to school and the boy promise that he’ll try to get to school. Shyam says to me that he will keep an eye on the boy.
16:50 We go down a different road and on the way we eat yellow berries that are like raspberry but in large bushes. Suddenly we enter a Buddhist ceremony which is being held in order to help to cure a woman in her 20s who is ill. She has prolonged headache and fever, and a monk is holding the ceremony. We are invited, so we sit down on a straw mat. The monk begins to read various prayers, he has a large dish in front of him, including dead ape head, flowers, eggs, rice, corn and a light. We sit for a while and listen, Shyam talks a little with them and I am a little unsure of what is said. I can see that she would really need to see a doctor. After this is over we continue downhill, we found several villagers who are building sheds and Shyam points out that they need to build toilets too. He is concerned about the spread of infection when the rainy season comes. On the way, we meet some men; one man who is 35 years of age who has become semi-paralyzed. I immediately start thinking about what it might be, meningitis, or it may it has been a hit to his head, I have to talk further with Shyam about this.
17:40 Now we reach orphanage kids, number 1 Bishek Lama, who is 8 years old and his brother child number 9, Abishek Lama. He is aged 12 and they are both currently living with their aunt. We talk to them and they tell me that they were on the road when the earthquake started, the oldest ran and gathered together all the cousins and other relatives at their house. They live in the village’s only wooden house and it didn’t collapse in the quake. The children are also very pleased to hear that the Home of Hope will be rebuilt. The children are very dirty but seem to be in better condition than the other children that I have met but they are also the only ones who have a house that has stayed standing.
18:05 We continue the journey down, we increase the pace a bit so we can get back before it gets dark. After about 10 minutes we pass a shed in which an elderly woman is living in Shyam knows she was injured by the quake. She lives there with her children’s families and she is 94 years old. She got a lot of stone on her legs and her legs were stuck underneath during the earthquake. We want to check how her wounds are healing so we go in for a sick visit. The woman is quite with drawn but the wounds are healing nicely. Before the earthquake, she worked in the field and now she cannot not get to the toilet without help. We try to say we think it’s good if she moves a little by herself and use her body. She has been lying a lot and an old person fades quite quickly if the body is not used. Shyam will check her every few days. We see that tarpaulin, sleeping mats, blankets and teddy bears are used and it feels good!
18:15 We continue our walk down and we talk about the water supply and we also talk about how the Home of Hope’s water supply should be. The conditions are a little bit different now after all the aftershocks. Shyam has a great idea and I think it sounds good. We also talk about the ones we have seen today that in needs of tarpaulin, and we also found families who have not collected their blankets and teddy bears yet so we expect some early visits tomorrow morning.
19:00 Back in the tent now, and I go and wash myself and fetch water for cooking. I then cook and eat. Martin, my son, is calling, we talk for a little while and it was fun! Drinking coffee and waiting for Sophie to call now. It is now dark outside and I lie in my tent and feel tired and worn in both body and soul. Thinking that there are not so many days left which gives me mixed feelings. It will be very nice to come home but help is needed so needed so it feels a little bit like I’m abandoning them.