New building of Primary School Jhumlawang

new building

Newly built building of Jhumlawang Primary School, using Earth-bag Construction Technology.

The previous construction experience in Community Health Centre and Community Centre Buildings became a great source of learning for JVF-Nepal. It was from these construction experiences that the architect started exploring best-suited technology for the site location and opted for Earth-bag Technology instead of the traditional construction method.

Ar. Magar utilized his Australian stay in 2013 to learn the environment-friendly, fast construction and low-cost building technique, Earth-Bag technology that seemed appropriate for the new school building in Jhumlawang.

It is a pride for JVF-Nepal to introduce and implement new building technique which is natural building type, and also best suited for the project site.

A Japani Dakdor in Our Door

Jhumlawang, Rukum:

Dr Ryukichi Ishida is a very quiet person. He does not make noise and rarely makes you feel his presence. And yet, whenever he makes his way through villages of mid-Western region of Nepal every eyes and ears are tuned to his footsteps. People from other neighbouring villages also walk for days to the Health Centre/health camp he is stationed at a time in hopes of being checked by the ‘Japani Dakdor’ from Thawang.

Dr Ishida in jhumlabang villageAnd their Japani Dakdor does not let them down. Unlike the ‘modern doctors’ of urban hospitals he is not only at their doorsteps but also charges not a penny for his services. In his aura of soft, gentle and caring personality the innocent village people seem to forget their usual ‘terror’ over the idea of seeing doctors or going to hospitals. His kind smile with slightly accented Nepali words ‘k bhayo?’, ‘dukchha?’, ‘kaha dukchha?’- (What happened? Does it pain? Where does it pain?) -instantly encourages patients to tell their stories of misfortune.

A 67-years old Orthopaedist intently listens to their stories, patiently, as if he has the time of the world. Only once a while does he look for local assistant’s interpretation. He uses few known Nepali words, sign languages and gestures to communicate with his patients. He doesn’t only check the patients but also gives consultancy and tries to help as much as possible through his expertise and network. His effort is to make the treatment as much reachable and affordable as possible to these village people.

japani doctor Ishida in jhumlabang“There is a very huge health inequity between Nepal, India and Japan,” a member of MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières – Doctors without Border) Dr Ishida says with concern, “Here; good health care is only focused on the wealthy people.” He considers this situation as a new humanitarian crisis created by neo-liberalism and globalization.

It is to further understand this crisis that has led him to walk through the villages of mid-Western Nepal as a ‘Medical Anthropology’ researcher for CNAS (Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies) from his research base Thawang, Rolpa. His research topic “Integrative approach to the traditional healers and modern medical practices” focuses on finding ways to balance the health inequity prevalent in the country.

Dr Ishida in Thawang - health centerWhile pursuing his medical research, equally close observant of the social issues and situations, Kobe born Doctor Ishida says he is in a quest to find answers to the questions that have poked him throughout his life. The current one being “WHY and how to overcome these inequity?” other questions that had arose during his youth days continue to be unanswered. “The search continues,” he smiles.

It was this nature of searching for answers that had him ended up in Nepal in 1968. A third year student in Kyoto University, at the age of 21, had packed his rucksack for a year-long journey of Asia, Europe and Russia; alone. His purpose was to experience the true life of Asian people and to find out answers to questions such as: What is the truth of Vietnam War? Is American campaign correct or the Viet-Congs? What is the problem between Japan and other Asian countries?

In his one year journey, he spent 6 months in India and Nepal. In India, he volunteered in Leprosy Centre of Agra. He was a part of traveling clinic for street lepers around Agra. “I was shocked by the reality,” he shakes his head at the memory, “So much of street leper expelled from their villages.”

After his voluntary in India, he came to Nepal. The mountainous country was not new for him. He was a member of mountaineering club of the University and had heard from his seniors.

At that time, tourism was not so common, especially in Western Nepal. So when he walked all the way from Pokhara, Beni Bazaar, Kali Gandaki to Tansen, he took shelter in the houses of local villagers; ate what they offered and slept on what they provided.

One day, he happened to stay in a house of an ex-Gurkha army. “He was probably a Magar, very old and he knew Japanese,” Doctor Ishida remembers with smile, “He said he learned Japanese from a Japanese war prisoner who had become his friend during War”.

Alone in an unknown place where no one spoke his language, finding a man who could speak his tongue gave him immense happiness. When he was leaving he wanted to pay for the homestay and food but the man would not accept. “This intimacy, kindness and friendliness towards a stranger touched my heart.”

He also remembers his strange meeting with an eye patient while passing through Tansen Mission Hospital. The man had asked “Dabai Chha?” (Do you have medicine?) confusing young Ishida. After years, the Doctor is to learn what the person meant and be prompted to come back to Nepal.

It was in Nepal, during his journey, he met his mentor Dr Noboru Iwamura in Tansen Mission Hospital.community health in Nepal Dr Iwamura invited him to join on his BCG vaccination campaign in different villages around Tansen. Dr Ishida considers this meet as ‘the happiest and luckiest one chance’ where he learned how to approach to the reality of Nepal. In his 3 weeks of voluntary work with the prominent doctor he concludes, “I noticed the importance of traditional medicine.”

Carrying these experiences and memories the young Ishida had continued his journey to other Asian countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, and to Europe to Russia to back home by hitch-hiking with hippies. After travelling through India and Nepal he had got confidence that he could survive anyway, anywhere. And it was in this journey he got the profound knowledge, “You see, a rich traveller does not know the reality of places he travels; a hitchhiker does.”

It was this knowledge of the reality he had garnered during his hitchhiking days that beckoned him to Nepal after a gap of nearly 4 decades. In that gap, he had become one of the renowned Orthopaedist in the country, had worked for reputed private hospitals such as Kyoto-Minami Hospital and Ueda-Shimotanabe Hospital of Japan and had not only done orthopaedics surgery but also operations of the brain surgery, chest surgery, gynaecology, urology and so on.

As his experiences and expertise increased so his age. It was when he crossed 60 his urge for continuing his quest for answers left him sleepless. “I remembered medical practices in Nepal, the words of my mentor, the friendly village people and the question, ‘Dabai chha?’” he adds, “And, I came back looking for answers.”

So, when he came back in 2006, 37 years had passed. Nepal had changed. It had gone through different political phases and some social changes and yet the health inequity had increased further.

Japanese Dr Ishida in hilli region NepalTo understand the ground reality of changed Nepal he immediately started voluntary work in Tansen Mission Hospital in 2006, Rukum/Chaurjhari Hospital in 2007 and in 2009 headed the “Primary Trauma Care Research Caravan” from Jumla to Baglung. After this Caravan, regular visit to Rolpa, Thawang started. Currently, he is spending 6 months in Nepal, goes back Japan to collect funds and returns back to help those in need. This way, his second life in Nepal, began.

When he came to Nepal it was not that there were no medical activities by NGOs/INGOs. But, as per his understanding most of these activities have charity mind which is one type of empire mentality and mission activity is another kind of ruling system. Criticizing these activities he says “They do not support sustainable development as they have top-down approach.” Western Medicine, alone, according to Dr Ishida, is not good activity for sustainability. To make it sustainable he states we should follow the mantra of Dr Iwamura, i.e. ‘Sangai Jiunako Lagi’ (to survive together).

“When I read Dr Iwamura, again, I realized, ‘the huge hidden human resources are there in the society.’ We must dig up them and integrate for the better result, making it sustainable.” He does not hesitate to accept the fact that he had not known the positive side of traditional healers/traditional bone settlers (TBS), in past days, himself. He says he is surprised time and again when he finds these TBS better than that of Kathmandu’s amateur doctors. “I look at them do their job and think ‘Oh! They have good skill!’ from time to time.”

He is now in contact with the TBSs of Dang, Salyan, Rukum and Rolpa whose knowledge have further strengthened his belief in utmost necessity of fusing these traditional and modern knowledge of medicine and practices.

In the present reality of Nepal where doctors do not want to come to rural parts of the country Dr Ishida feels it is basically necessary to integrate Western medicine and traditional medicinal practices for better outcome. “Without them in the picture sustainable development is impossible.”

Dr Ishida in jhumlabangGovernment of Nepal has unfortunately banned some traditional practices. There is an urgent need for Government policy to integrate them; taking the positive knowledge and skill from traditional healers while discouraging some negative practices. Else the knowledge is likely to disappear without being transferred to the new generation. “The traditional knowledge of these TBS can be taken as national dignity,” Dr Ishida strongly states “Nepal has important cultures within medicine.” As it is not influenced from colonial empire but of independent thinking and practice he believes it can be a national property, pride and traditional heritage as is in Japan.

At the same time, while speaking of integration, Dr Ishida feels that medicinal issues should not be looked separately from social issues. “Social issues and medical issues must be connected because medical issues cannot be solved without social change,” he emphasizes on fusing them for a healthy society.

For the creation of healthy society, not only physically but also psychologically, socio-culturally and economically, he states unity is a must among people. As he has observed for years, for rural development projects in the region different ideologies are prohibiting unity. Meanwhile, there is ‘refugee’ diaspora mind and local diaspora mind which conflict in the approaches to the development. “These things need to be overcome,” he says.

As he observes, gives his medicinal services for free while doing his research, helps financially to those who are in need and has almost gone native with his preference to dhido and ‘alikati raksi’; has he found answers to his questions? ‘Not yet,” he says, “These are continuous questions.” So, he says it will continue forever, throughout his second life, as he declares. So, how has his second life been going? “Till now, it has been interesting and very pleasant.”

-Smita Magar,

6th July 2014

Pratiksha wants to play…

Kathmandu: “She wants to walk and play with her new friends,” Narmata Roka says while holding her smita with pratikshadaughter Pratiksha, “But, doctor saap has strictly told not to move around for some more weeks.”

It has been more than two weeks since 8-year old Pratiksha had her skin-transplant surgery at Hospital and Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children (HRDC) in Banepa. Ever since her surgery Pratiksha has been lying on her belly and manages shy smiles to visitors before hiding under blanket or on her mother’s lap.

Narmata, 58, says her youngest daughter wants to recover soon so that she can run and play with friends in the hospital. However, with her bandages and doctor’s strict order she is just lying restless waiting for the day when she is allowed to play as much as she likes.

pratikshaPratiksha, from Sima village of Morawang VDC, is suffering from spinal deformity. Her life has been at risk as her spinal is affecting her lung causing less oxygen needed for her brain and body. Her left side of the Scapula and Ilium is touching each other. This has resulted in her body bent towards left side with shorter leg and lack of normal body growth. Dr. Ishida Ryk, a Japanese doctor who has been stationed at Thawang Health Center, Rolpa, believes it might take more than 3 operations for her to have her health back to normal.

She was not born with spinal deformity. “It was after a week of birth she got a rash on her back. When it got infected and worsened we took her to see doctors in Rukumkot,” Narmata, mother of 7 children recalls. It was with luck there was a mobile health camp set by French voluntary doctors at that time. They didn’t only check her but also financially supported the family to take Pratiksha for further treatment in Nepalgunj Medical College Teaching Hospital. However, as she was just about a month old doctors felt it was riskier to operate.

pratiksha's backbone“They gave us ointments for infection and asked us to return after few months,” Namrata says. By the time they were back to Sima, the infection seemed to have healed leaving small marks. The Roka family didn’t feel necessary to take her for further check-ups especially when they learned that mobile health camp had already left and the doctor in Nepalgunj was not there.

From a poor agricultural background and with many mouths to feed Pratiksha’s parents became busier, her health took a backseat. It was only after years, gravity of her deteriorating health started to be noticeable. The small mark on her back had grown bigger. Her left side of a body had bent in such a way that her shoulder’s scapula and hip’s Ilium touched each other.

Namrata remembers Pratiksha complaining of pain whenever she walked. But they didn’t have means to take her to hospital. “I realized, in old age, neither our body supports us to work for earning nor our mind allows to resort in stealing,” she explains her challenges.Ishida rukum

It became easier to seek for assistance when Dr. Ishida set health camp in Jhumlawang Community Health Center. He declared Pratiksha’s case one of the rarest and recommended for operation as soon as possible. He assisted through his networking and expertise to admit her in HRDC. He has also been assisting financially for Pratiksha’s operation.

In hard times, finding helping hands was like finding God to look after her daughter, says Namrata. “I don’t know how long it is going to take her to be able to run as she dreams of but these supports we are getting from kind and generous people gives me hope for better days for my daughter.”

The next operation is yet to be decided. But, Pratiksha’s desire to run and her mother’s hope for better days for her makes optimistic environment for everyone involved. “JVF family will be supporting in her journey of recovery in any way possible,” International Co-ordinator Kush Budha said.

-Smita Magar

1st June 2014

Impatiently waiting to Return…

 

Welcoming Clarisse in Jhumlawang It is hard to describe this truly human experience I lived in Jhumlawang…Even before I arrived, I could feel the warmness and protection of the members of this community. The way I’ve been hosted is still in my mind, so much generosity and attention towards a stranger is precious, and very rare. I lived for 13 days in one of the houses of the village, with Kusum’s parents, who directly made me feel at home, and deeply faithful. I will always be grateful for the caring and the delicateness they treated me with. The first days, one or several persons took me to visit different places and projects; the community center, the health center, a school attached to the association’s network, the village’s school where I spent the most of my time, for my greatest pleasure.

I first witnessed what was happening there, it was the beginning of the national exams in Nepal. Then I taught fine arts and dance, one or two hours a day.

Children were really open and excited to discover a totally different way to learn, eager to try, experiment. Even if it was sometimes difficult to communicate, the spontaneity of the children and the presence of the teachers helped a lot and made these moments relaxed and constructive. Teaching Through Game-Clarisse Bachellier The team who works there surrounded me with kindness, humor, and a lot of curiosity. Some people I met became friends, substitution mothers, new brothers and sisters.

I had a particularly strong relationship with my little neighbors, four adorable children who surprised me with their extreme maturity. It was hard to leave this village behind me, I lived so many things during this few days that I felt as if I had stayed one month. On my way to Pokhara, they did their best to make my travel easier, arranging hosting for me in Khalanga, district head quarter, and Ghorahi, Dang, thanks to other members of the community.

I eventually met Purna in Kathmandu, to talk about this experience and share my feelings. I want to thank each person who made my stay in Jhumlawang so beautiful, I’m pretty sure I will come back, and I’m already impatient…

By Clarisse Bachellier
FRANCE

17th August 2013

Namaskar from Sara Kumari

Sara Gonzalez
MEXICO
June, 2013

“Greetings from 2070! I am back to the “wired” world with many more stories after another wonderful sharing time in the middle of the Nepalese mountains. This time only took us an unforgettable 24 hours ride from Kathmandu, 12 hrs jeep-truck ride and 4 relaxed hours up hill walking to arrive. Not to forget the 423 hindi-nepali love songs along . Arc. Magar, a nepali-english dictionary and I arrived safely to the village.

My adoptive Nepali family remembered me and I was truly happy to see them too. My three nieces/guides are growing fast and learning absolutely everything about the village activities, taking care of cattle, chickens, farming, cooking, picking fruits, dancing and singing of course.  Sara in Salle Airport, Rukum My “new” Nepali nephew (he was in the belly last time) was more into the last two activities plus eating. Parents, uncles, aunties looked the same; strong, healthy and happy. But there were some members of the family missing. They are now working and living outside Nepal. When I came here for the first time three years ago, it surprised me the large number of Nepali citizens that go abroad to work to the Golf countries, well the story hasn’t changed since then. Now the popular countries attracting workers are Malaysia and South Korea (or maybe I didn’t know before).

The true is that Mexico is not far from this migration story and the pattern keeps happening in so many places. The need, the separation, the hope for a better future, the lack of local job opportunities, immense love and the empathy is there again .

Skies were clear and next day we were all set to go to the school village, my new workplace for the next couple of weeks. Thirty of forty uphill minutes, we were there! Smiling and curious faces welcomed us. For the next three weeks, I got to know all those faces and we had so much fun. Sara Kumari (my new adorable Nepali title) was walking up hill every morning together with my little guides and students, teaching English with funny questions, reading story books, playing games, absorbing all the Nepali language, being eaten by the local tinny fauna, learning the names of the surroundings and admiring the mountains.

Sara's student

Almost at the end of the school day it was snack time, Haluwa time! Surprise, surprise! This not very good looking dish is being distributed in some rural schools all around the country. The big sack has huge USA letters and flag printed on it but the people from the village told me it is being distributed with the help of the Germans. Anyway, Haluwa is super popular even the parents of the children liked it. Which reminds me of a small detail, remember last time I told you about the parents at the school in China, here absolutely no parent was around. Every single child was going to the school alone or with friends or siblings, they were free (free from the city dangers as well), they know the mountains; they are confident souls at a very young age.

The language adventure was fun as usual, as a huge fan of languages I have a list of favourite words: Dhukur, Kukur, Khukuri, Kukhura, Kakra, Kamila, Kancha and Taliiiii meaning dove, dog, knife, chicken, cucumber, ant, loved one or smallest son and applausss. Extremely useful wordsSCHOLARSHIP DISTRIBUTION-JUN 2013-97! My dictionary and I spent some good times, I can almost read all the Sanskrit alphabet, now it has to make sense ha! So Indian restaurants without English menus, we’ll meet again!

It is rainy season there and my inner “comfortable” part of the mind was a bit sad. Luckily the other “reasonable” part of the mind understood that if it wasn’t because of the massive amounts of water, the fields wouldn’t be that green, the crops wouldn’t grow, the animals wouldn’t have enough food and I wouldn’t have eaten the sweetest plums from the family tree that were perfectly ripe after one rainy week.

Time passed and I had to prepare to leave. I knew that there was no vehicle waiting for me at the doorstep so I decided to start the way back with one of the cousins that was travelling too. We left the village a sunny morning, walked for around two hours downhill first then another three uphill and we reached the place where the jeep was running! . we just had ahead six more hours plus a couple of buses the next days. another goodbye full of new memories, new friends, lots of “Feri Aunus” (come back again) and a very happy heart.

Thanks Jhumlawang. Gracias Jhumlawang people. Dhanyebad Universe!”

The source of the article at my blog.

‘Nazar’ for Jhumlawang Community Health Centre

Jhumlawang, July 18, 2013.

‘Nazar’ is Padma Linkha Magar’s debut album. Strong believer of ‘have to do whatever we can do for improvement of lives’, she has decided to donate the entire amount collected from the album for the operation of the Jhumlawang Community Health Centre.

Lyricist Padma, born in Mamling, Sankhuwasabha of Eastern Nepal, became member of Jhumlawang village, Rukum of Mid-Western Nepal by marriage nearly two decades ago. From the very beginning of the establishment of JVF-Nepal, she has been actively involved in plans, programmes and projects along with her husband Durlabh Magar from New York, USA.

Her latest initiative is dedicating her music album and its profits to establish fund for continuous operation of Community Health Centre being operated by JVF in Jhumlawang. The entire amount generated from the sale of the CD, CRBT/PRBT will be collected in the JVF fund for Health Centre. “Everyone is doing whatever they can from every corner of the world for the development of our village,” she said, “It’s very inspiring.” She says she is doing her duty towards the community as well through her words and music, just like other members of the community, partners and supporters.

The album, ‘Nazar’ was formally inaugurated by honourable Chancellor of Nepal Music and Drama Academy, Musician Amber Gurung in Kathmandu dated on June 22, 2013. It has total of seven songs. Musician Rajesh Thapa is the music composer while vocals are given by Nepal’s famous singers: Rajesh Payal Rai, Rima Gurung, Anju Panta, Sworup Raj Acharya, Deepak Limbu, Udaya Sotang and Sangeeta Rana. Songs like ‘Gunaso chha aaphai sanga…’, ‘Timro muhar…’, ‘Nazar bata tadha…’, ‘Mero sansar timi nai hau…’ have been receiving very positive response from audience.

JVF family would like to thank all the supporting hands involved to bring out the music album in the market. We acknowledge the efforts made by musician Rajesh Thapa who also took the responsibility of recordings and managements, singers, technical assistants, cover designer, Landmark Architects and Nistha Music Pvt. Ltd. We cannot forget Mr. Tibbat Darlami for his constant concerns and suggestions during the production of this album.

Jhumlawang Community Health Centre, one of the major projects of JVF-Nepal was open for basic health facilities as soon as building’s main section was completed in October 2012. In 2010, the health centre project began after community felt the urgent need of hospital nearby as they had to walk for days to reach hospitals even for minor treatment.

JVF’s target is to gradually upgrade infrastructures of health post and establish 15 bed hospital in 10 years. For now, it is open for basic health facilities to Jhumlawang villagers and people from neighbouring villages which make of about 25,000 in population.

Hoping for a Horizon: Stories of loss and survival.

Smita Magar,
Jhumlawang, 24th January 2013

“I hope nurses and doctors will come soon,” Nar Bahadur Sunar says with a wistful smile, “Then no one will have to go through the nightmare my wife and I had to.” His hopes are high after the Community Health Center in the village formally kicked off with the basic health services from October.

Six years back, Nar Bahadur’s 41 year-old wife Bhim Kumari had a miscarriage which nearly took her life. It was her fourth miscarriage. This miscarriage left her critically ill for more than a year. The frequent miscarriage Bhim Kumari suffered was due to the lack of care and regular check-ups. Such luxuries, in terms of the safety of mother and unborn child during pregnancy, were out of question as there were no hospitals nearby.

She was four months pregnant when she lost her child, again. She was suffering from heavy blood loss and an unimaginable pain that left her unconscious for days. Nar Bahadur carried her on his back for two days to reach the hospital in district headquarter Khalanga for treatment. “On the way I would anxiously wait for her to groan,” he says, “heart breaking as it was to hear but it conformed she was alive.”

When they reached the district hospital at Khalanga, Bhim Kumari was almost non-responsive. The medicine needed for her treatment was not available at the hospital so they had to wait for one more day to get the medicine from Kathmandu on a helicopter. After few days she was referred to Mahendra hospital in Dang. Five more days of walk took them to the hospital and she stayed there for a month to recover.

Now, a healthy woman, Bhim Kumari is using contraceptives and is mother of 3 children. Nar Bahadur says he is still unable to pay back the loan he took for hospital charges. “Seems like this loan will extend to our children,” he says with a frown across his forehead. But in a second his frown changes into a broad smile as he looks at his wife and pronounces, “But, she is alive!”

Not everyone is lucky. The lack of health center or a hospital nearby has left many lives bereft and grief-stricken in the village. Almost every delivery takes place at home, alone, without skilled birth attendants, risking the lives of both mother and newborn child. Poverty, lack of awareness, early marriage and early motherhood leads to the complications. Preventive reproductive health issues become a challenge while many lives are lost due to lack of proper care and timely diagnosis.

The pain of losing a wife and an infant of Til Bahadur hit Kamara Shrestha in 2009 when his wife died because of childbirth complications. She already had suffered from two complicated deliveries and newly born children had died soon after birth. “Compared to other women Dhokashari had weak health and each child birth left her weaker and sicker,” Kamara says.

So, when Dhokashari, 28, got pregnant again Kamara wanted to go for a check-up. But, they were building a house and days were comparatively busier. “She didn’t want to go for check-ups,” he says, “She used to say that the hospital was too far.”

During delivery, traditional midwives were called but they were not able to help. The infant had died in the womb and there was excessive bleeding. After struggling for two long days Dhokashari was barely conscious. With her health further deteriorating, in the middle of the night, Kamara carried her in a basket to take her to district hospital Salle. She breathed her last breath at Chhing; a place far from home, a place far from the hospital.

“Every day I pray that even my enemy should not have to go through such pain,” Kamara says. And, with a health post in a village, he is happy his prayer is in a process of being answered. “I am very happy. Now, our women will be able to go for regular check-ups and get long-needed help in time,” he adds with a smile.

Kamara’s hopes and smile touches Til Bahadur’s who believes the new generation will not have to suffer the way they had to with the hospital in the village. “Now, we are just in need for good doctors and nurses,” he smiles, “I hope they will come soon.”

Year 2012: Not the End, But A New Beginning!

Smita Magar,
Jhumlawang, 1st January 2013

While other side of the world was worried about the supposed ‘end of the world’, people of Jhumlawang were rejoicing. For them, the year of 2012 had brought a fruit of their hard work, cooperation and togetherness: the Community Health Centre opened to provide basic health facilities.

One of the major projects of the Jhumlawang Village Foundation (JVF-NEPAL), the Community Health Centre, formally began to provide basic health services from October 29. Once it comes into full operation, the centre will be providing its services not only to people from Jhumlawang but also to more than 25,000 people from neighbouring villages who have been suffering from basic health issues: chicken pox, stomach upset, cholera, fever, diarrhoea, flu, cuts and burns. It will be a relief for children and women who are more prone to basic health issues and infections.

“For years we had been dreaming for a health centre at the door,” Raj Bahadur Gurung, JVF Field Co-ordinator expresses his delight, “Now, we don’t have to travel days to have a basic treatment.” He informed that one full time Community Medical Assistant (Shiva Kumar Magar) and a Pharmacist (Parbati Gurung) are always in the health centre to provide services for needy ones. Two part time staffs (Rekha Maya Magar & Sita Magar) are also there to provide their assistance.

After nearly two years of ground preparation, the construction work of the project had started on 25th November 2010. For now, main completed section of a building is put in operation for basic health facilities while the construction work of other sections will continue.

“Much is yet to be done,” says Kush Buddha, an International Coordinator for JVF-Nepal, “Our plan is to run health camps with volunteer doctors, nurses, midwife and other medical experts in very near future.” Buddha added that the main goal is to gradually upgrade infrastructures and establish 15 Bed Hospital within 10 years of time.

Appreciating all the efforts and helping hands from individual to community to organizations from around the world Buddha says while there is a long way to go, the opening of the health centre for basic health facilities is a milestone. A milestone for further development of not only health centre but also other projects that are underway in the village. “The combined effort and belief towards our goal has brought this positive outcome,” he said, “We are thankful to everyone who have supported us throughout our journey and hope the goodwill relationship we share continues.”

The concrete journey for the health centre had started when Veronique Chenat from Association Humanitaire Partage et Soins, France organized two health camps in 2008 & 2009 in the village. The dream of having health services closer to the home brought the community together in working towards the idea of building the health post in the village. The members of community donated plots of land in their loved ones memories while making a commitment to do the work of at least 25 % of total budget. On the way, individuals, groups and organizations lent their supports in realizing this dream.

The plots of land for the project were donated by two villagers: Mr Gaj Bahadur Gurung and Mrs Thum Kumari Budha in memory of their sons whom they lost in separate accidents.

The estimated budget for the project is €65,000. The “Association Humanitaire Partage et Soins” generously has committed itself to contribute €58,000. Diaspora members are contributing not only with their expertise but also by giving about 5% of their earnings and by co-coordinating fundraising events around the world for this project of JVF-NEPAL as well as for upcoming ones. Apart from partner Partage et Soins and community contribution there are other individuals who have raised money for medical equipment and medicine.

Dr Heli Vaterlaws and Lorry Williams organized fund raising event and raised £406.50. Similarly- Swansea University staff raised £218.65 during St David’s Day & Gareth Ayres raised £325.20 participating London Marathon in 2012.

As the first and one of the major projects under Jhumlawang Village Foundation (JVF-NEPAL), the opening of the Community Health Centre for basic health centre is much awaited fruit of everyone associated with the project. With this encouraging news in mind, JVF-Nepal will be working harder in mobilizing community, Diaspora members, and getting supports from like-minded people and organizations to work on sustainable development of the village.

Remembering Roots- Connection of Hopes and Dreams!

Chennai, India, Oct 27, 2011:  “Wishes alone can’t fulfill our desires; I have realized that much,” Dilsara Setimore, 76, let out heavy sigh and continued, “I don’t have money to return home.”

On a rainy day of 1973, Dilsara had carried her 2 year old son Sundarlal on one arm and small bundle of clothes on other and had left Jhumlawang for Bijaura/Vijayawada. Her cousin brothers had been working in South Indian town Vijayawada for many years. So, when she came to the city, she had stayed with her brothers until she was able to be on her own working as a house helper.

Soon, it’s going to be 4 decades since she saw Jhumlawang for the last time. But, she says time has not made any difference in her memories. “I remember everything,” she said, “Life was tough there but I miss it.” Referring to curse-phrase ‘yek paile bhayes’ (may your footprint never return back) she added, “It seems, I have become the cursed one.”

“I guess, like my brothers I will also die here,” eyes brimming with tears her voice cracked, “Narpati bhai died here, then Dhanpati dai.in this foreign land all of them took their last breath.”

Dilsara- VIJAYAWADA-2011

Her son Sundarlal (Lal Bahadur Setimore) looked at her nostalgic expression and sadly smiled, “Whenever somebody from village visits her, she is becomes emotional like this.” He says he has no memory of village but feels connected through his mother’s constant mentioning of it.

Among the 150 people in Bijayawada who are originally from Jhumlawang Sundarlal’s family is among the very few families who are considered economically stable. “We are surviving, for now” he said, “But, I can’t afford to fall sick. If it happens then surviving will be a very difficult thing to do.” He owns a shop and sometimes does extra job as security guard. He is not learned man but his son Bharat Kumar and daughter Pujita are studying in college.

Almost all of the Jhumlawange in Bijayawada are working as security guard. Some of them are doing double duty to earn bread for their family. However, they are not compromising in their children’s education. “No matter how difficult it gets, we are not compromising with their education,” said Nim Bahadur Sunar (son of Aashbir Sunar ‘Aashe’). His children (two daughters and a son) are studying in school. Like Sundarlal, he also has no memory of village as he was born and brought up in Bijayawada. But, he has the images of village from stories his parents told him. He also knows that he has some ancestral land in Jhumlawang so after he retires he wants to go back there and make a living. “My children want to go and visit right now but I need to save money, make plans and go ahead,” he said, “It’s going to take time but I see myself in the village where my parents came from.”

Kamal Ramjali, whose great grandparents had come to the city in search of work and had stayed here, have been making plans to visit Jhumlawang. “Within few years I will visit my ancestral home,” he says, “I feel like it is calling me.”

These lingering memories, nostalgic feelings and connection to their ancestor land are shared by generations of Jhumlawange who have been here for more than half a century. They dream of going back home and living on their ancestors land. That dream, to some extend may sound too much of a romanticized to be true as they have settled their life here to some level. May be because they are aware of it that they are always enthusiastic about knowing what is happening in the village.

JV DIASPORA MEMBERS IN  VIJAYAWADA, INDIA

“It’s one way of connecting ourselves to our ancestor land and relatives,” Bharat K. Setimore said, “We feel connected to our root.” It’s with this desire of knowing more about the village and if possible to be able to help in village’s projects he was interested in the establishment of JVF-Nepal’s Vijayawada Committee, Andhra Pradesh, India. He is holding the position of General Secretary in the branch committee that was formed in September.

A 16-member JVF-Bijayawada committee was formed with the purpose of ‘keeping-in-touch’ with relatives back home. While it will be difficult to help monetarily for JVF-Nepal’s different projects in village they are trying their best to be of some help in making village ‘a role model’.

“Our best wishes are always there,” Nar Bahadur Ramjali (Narlal), President of JVF-Bijayawada said, “Apart from wishes, we are also trying to collect some fund for building ‘sajha-ghar’/Cultural Center.” He has been in Bijayawada for more than 20 years but has visited home twice in between

“We are extremely happy about all the development aspects happening in the village,” Narlal added, “It feels even better to be able to participate in village development this way.” He said through the committee they will be keeping in touch with whole Jhumlawange around the world and try to take part in development work of village projects.


Smita Magar
www.smitamagar.com

JVF in America!

New York, August 15, 2011. Jhumlawang Village Foundation USA has been established with the sole purpose of recruiting skilled volunteers and conducting fundraising programs for the various projects run by Jhumlawang Village Foundation (JVF) in Jhumlawang, Rukum, Nepal.

“Although the head office of the foundation is based in New York City, skilled volunteers will be recruited from California office,” said Mr. Kush Budha, International Coordinator of Jhumlawang Village Foundation (JVF) Nepal.

“From now on, friends and well-wishers of JVF can donate online for ongoing and future projects through PayPal by visiting our website from around the world. As Jhumlawang Village Foundation USA is a registered 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, financial contributions and in-kind donations from U.S. residents will be tax-deductible to the extent provided by law,” Mr. Budha added.