Rain and circumstances (which I’ll describe shortly) haven’t allowed a lot of time for new photographs, but heres a shot from my front window onto the street outside in the middle of a heavy downpour. The person with what appears to be half a boat on his head is in fact sporting a Nepali umbrella. The frame is made from some sort of cane, and the inside is filled with leaves to make it waterproof…ingenious!!
Well, I guess it had to happen at some point in the two years of being here, but I am just recovering from being poleaxed by a bout of bacterial diarrhoea which confined me to bed and bathroom for the best part of three days. I’m pretty meticulous in what I consume with regard to water and food, but nevertheless somewhere along the line I’ve managed to consume something contaminated. It’s an interesting experience being confined to your room, having realised that you’ve allowed the credit on your mobile phone to run out, in a town where where you know where the medical facilities are although you don’t actually know what they are like etc, etc. Dr John’s self-diagnosis was pretty straightforward as VSO provide a pretty good fact sheet, and my symptoms and recovery appear to be ‘by the book’ at present. I’ve also had the accompaniment of the other Dr John overnight on the ipod which has certainly been a useful distraction…
“I got my medicine, to cure all your ills
I got remedies of every description”
from Gris Gris Gumbo Ya-Ya
…oh and the Knorr’s packet soup. The first thing I could manage to eat for three days, bland and familiar, just what was needed!
However, lets give this some context. I’m pretty robust and just one westerner who obviously wasn’t quite careful enough. A WHO Regional Conference held in Kathmandu in September 2009 provides a stark reminder of the reality for this part of the world… where “fifty children under-five die every hour in South-East Asia due to diarrhoea. It is a leading cause of child mortality in the Region, second only to pneumonia.
…Lack of safe water, sanitation, proper nutrition, essential health services and awareness about effective interventions make the poor especially vulnerable to acute diarrhoeal diseases. Large outbreaks of acute watery diarrhoea and deaths in the South-East Asia Region in the recent past have affected both children and adults”.
And with the onset of the monsoon rains, the reports of deaths across Nepal due to outbreaks of diarrhoea are becoming regular occurrences in the press. An abrogation of responsibility by systems and society when its people are not afforded the basic rights of clean drinking water…..Obvious really, but the sense of injustice rages strongly when you can see it happening around you. Particularly when the gap between what needs to be done, and the means of doing it seems to be some vast chasm…
But sometimes hope springs from a smile…
….maybe some executive from Knorr’s (which is part of Unilever) might be moved by my blatant product placement to fund some water related scheme here in Nepal….