NESPEC’s monthly meeting recently took place, a quite eventful gathering, discussing the issues in the village district committees and upcoming activities. I have come to realize that in Nepal everything involves a community and NESPEC’s family is very close-knit. There was singing, dancing, feedback and arguments that all ended in a willingness to progress ahead.
In the village of Hardiya, about a 45 minute motorbike ride (I measure everything in bike rides), there are over 7,000 people affected by health problems, about 150 have become seriously ill and have had to seek treatment. Luckily the goverment has intervened and helped with the medical costs. During this time of year, the monsoon season is when people become the most sick with gastric problems and other ailments.
The heavy rains affect the cultivation season and most apparent to my eyes is the garbage strewn about. After a lot of rain the streets look like rivers with plastic bags and candy wrappers and everything in between swimming around. It is part of Nepal’s culture to dispose of anything out the window and one of the largest cultural differences to adjust to. Kathmandu is being labeled as one of the dirtiest cities in the world, some even saying it is the worst. Something needs to be done as even the family I am living with mentions how they are disgusted about how little land they can use for planting because trash is eroding their land. Perhaps residents of Gaighat can bring their weekly trash to the trash pickup in town I suggested.
One of the major accomplishments in the past month at NESPEC reported by Basanti Rai, an activist in the Siddhipur village district is the increase in farmer’s pay. Women’s farming salaries have increased to 125 rupees per day ($1.62) from 70 rupees. Likewise, male famers’s salaries have increased from 100 to 150 rupees daily. The weekly reflect meetings in the village worked on improving economic stability after the villagers spoke up about how much is needed for their families. The Reflect facilitator met with the labor group and threatened that famers would stop working if the pay was not improved. They listened since cultivation is essential during the monsoon season and farmers in Siddhipur now have a better living wage thanks to the Reflect group.
Posted By Morgan St. Clair
Posted Sep 6th, 2009