Report Ratankot October 2013
Francesca and Nathalie
We arrived in Kathmandu and the cousin of Karma and Shyam was there to pick us up and drop us at Porong Monastery where we staid for 6 days in order to wait for the Dasain festival to finish (the biggest Hindu festival of Nepal) which was happening in those days. Because of the festival nobody was working, children had holidays, so when we would have come to Ratankot, as planned Thursday 17th October, we would have found some more people at the beginning, especially for this festival. So we left the 17th and arrived there in the evening.
Day 1 - 18th October
We went around the village to get to know the place. We spent the first day going around the village and enjoying the last day of the festival, there have been chants with offerings at someone’s house (I think Shyam uncle) and people were all wandering around the Ratankot 7, so it was a good occasion to show ourselves around.
Day 2 – 19th October
Today we went to the Shree Dhaneshwari primary school at another village, a school almost totally forgotten by visitors, and there we have been welcomed like Gods (lol). The program saw us donating school bags , notebooks and pencils to about 40 children. They all were very grateful. It was a hindu village. The people are pretty poor there, the school has very deserted classes, almost no teaching material, so the idea is to buy few posters and maybe books for the school once back in KTM. Costs would be around 5000 RPS, about 38€. This would be done on a personal level.
Day 3 - 20th October
Today we went around Ratakot 7 to check a big part of the toilets (about 40). On our way we met a lot of people. Checking the toilets family by family gave us the chance to meet the people in a more direct way, in this way this was very good for the organization since people got to know us better, and in a closer way. We also gave some medicines for some old people having fever or muscles pain.
Day 4 - 21st October
Today we went to the middle school (Ratankot 7 school with Shyam friend as teacher) to donate other bags and notebooks and pencils. Here we also got welcomed as Gods and received a lot of flowers necklaces. It has been much more personal than at the hindu school, the atmosphere was much more familiar, probably because of Shyam being one of the villagers and introducing us. Here as well, the school receives less than the lower school, the one where also our organization went to help. This is mainly because being higher less people reach it, and less material arrives there. So also here the ideas is to buy some books once in KTM (mainly dictionary, general knowledge and some sport and things for the children to play). On our way back we checked other toilets and finally reached home very tired…being a God is tiring, you know? Lol
Day 5 - 22nd October
Today we went to the top of Ratankot 7. It was a hike from 1400 m to 2200 m, so pretty demanding. On our way to the top, we visited both toilets and the water sources. We visited 5 water sources: Silku, Gomaise, Silku xxxx, . On the top, we found some children. Here there is another school, that seems even more forgotten than the other two. This is always because of the height. So the idea is to organize in the future some camping on the top, stay for 2 days and nights in this school, do some activities with the children and teachers, and donate some material for the school, based on their principal needs. Then follow going to the middle school and do the same, a camping stay and donation.
Day 6 - 23rd October
Today we organized the meeting with the whole community about the toilets and especially the water project. We managed to express our contentment about the toilets, which are mostly complete and used in a proper way. By asking the people their feelings about the toilet project, they expressed their happiness and they agreed on the fact that since the toilets have been made no more diarrhea problems and intestine diseases, which was one of the main goals of the project. When discussing the water project, we tried to agree on the fact of which source should be started first and which sources would be finished by the end of this dry season. Apparently the most important source is the Bhatiwodar source which will serve 75 family/houses, and this will probably take longer to be completed compared to the other sources which are relatively small (serving from 1-2 to 7 houses each). There is also one source of Ratankot 8 that already has the pipeline and the water tank ready, it only misses the connection to the houses, and this should be given priority since it could be finished quickly. In general we stressed that those sources that already had some works started should be worked further and be completed first, since the rain season can always ruin the work already done, as it happened this year. Anyhow, a meeting with the engineer and the committee of each source still have to take place before making final decisions. One of the main problems is that money as we have sent it now, is not enough to complete the sources. So for this we should agree on sending the money “on the way”, so whenever we have some amount, send it over so that more material can be given to the people, at least till the end of the dry season, since during raining season they will not work. Then the rest of the money will be sent at the beginning of the new dry season of 2014. Anyhow the works will be complete probably in 2015.
Moreover, two people had problems with their toilets. One person because of a land slide has it all broken, and wants to rebuild it in another place, but need the material again. Another person need a new roof in zinc. The question they posed to us is if we are gonna sponsor this or not. It is about 5000 RPS to buy the toilet and the cement.
Day 7 - 24th October
Today we went to visit the main school, the one close to Shyam parents’s house. This school looks really much better. The children are better dressed, cleaner, there is more teaching material and even glass at the windows. There are more buildings and more teachers (8 teacher for 8 classes, so every class has a teacher). Our feeling is that before giving more help to this school, we should focus on the other two schools in Ratankot and even consider to help the one of the other village. It is a bit strange to us how the schools don’t exchange material and try to help one another. But probably this is the same in every country, also here in Nepal, people bring water to their own Moulin.
Day 8 - 25th October
Checked the last few toilets downhill. Then we rest.
Day 9 – 26th October
The engineers arrived we had a chat about the project and their plans to construct the whole water system. So as a written resume I can report that the project is divided in 2 parts:
1) Construction of intake and RVT (water tank) with inflow and outflow pipe (in this phase, there is the buying of the needed material – mainly the pipes – and the collection by the local people of stones and sand needed for the construction of the RVT – Time needed: ~ 1 month
2) Pipeline construction: this phase included the pipelines digging and the laying of the pipelines. Time needed: ~2 months
The sources will be handled based on the money available in order to complete their construction. We have sent by now only 12500€ and this money is enough to work on two sources, namely Kalodar (Ratankot 8) and Bhateoodar (Ratankot 7). The total cost of the project from our side (at the present exchange rate of 130 RPS = 1 €) is about 46000 €, so still some work to collect the money from our side!!
Day 10 - 27th October
Today we went visiting the water sources together with the engineers. They showed us how they want to plan the construction, rocks will be taken on place by the people who will cut the stones found along the water, sand collected around Ratankot as well, protection structures will be built to prevent land slide to brake the pipelines, iron pipelines will be used in specific places, and the digging never less than 20 cm and max 90 cm deep.
Day 11 - 28th October
Today we meet the family of Chandra Maya Lama. This woman, has now 4 children, three of her own and one adopted in India. She has been living in India until last year, when she finally got enough money to come back to Ratankot, where she is from. The children are Anil (22 years old, working in India driver and plumber), Laxmi (24 years old, married), Govinda (17 years old, working at borders of China as carrier, education until level 5), Pemba (adopted, 12 years old, education level 5). Chandra Maya adopted Pemba when she was living in India. When Pemba was only 17 months, he lost his natural mother and after few time the father also left the children alone. Pemba and his brothers have been split around in nepali families in the neighborhood, and so Chandra Maya decided to adopt him and took him with her. Chandra Maya adopted this child even though herself was struggling with very difficult conditions in India since her husband got killed when Govinda was only 5 months. After the husband death she had barely food for the children, so the little kids were looking on the ground in the streets for left-over food and surviving on that for many years. Then luckily, somebody noticed the kids and decided to help her family, so she found a whealthy family which gave her a good job and this allowed her to give enough food to the kids and some study degree. She always wanted to come back to her homeland from the moment the husband died, so she saved money to come back to Ratankot where the little land of her husband could maybe provide her some future and where she was born, grown, and had some family to feel home. But the land in Ratankot is not enough to feed the children and herself, so they need to buy big part of the food, rise and oil, salt, they all cost money. She is now in her 55 and she also recently got operated to the liver, the money for the operation was provided by the Govinda’s work. Govinda is helping her working at the borders with China, but for this reason he does not receive education. Pemba is not working and it is hard to find a job without a complete basic education level. So the first important part in helping them is providing the kids, both Govinda and Pemba, education for the next 5 years so that they can reach the 10 years basic education and then look for a good job in order to buy land or help her mother. The school normally in Ratankot is free of charge, but you have to pay for your material, notebooks, pencils and the school uniform, this is about a cost of 7000 RPs per year (53€). Another possibility would be to help them buying land. Land for a family to provide enough food for their living costs about 3500€. We will look for some help in this regard.
29th October back to Kathmandu
Back in KTM.