The Ups and Downs
Some Glimpses of Rescue Network Nepal’s Journey
Along with the regular work of providing life support training throughout Nepal Rescue Network Nepal also have other activities like providing, health awareness programs, relief packages in need etc., all for the community benefits and for strengthening and mobilizing our network of local coordinators according to principle of Rescue Network Nepal- ‘through the churches to the community’. There are obvious ups and downs in the journey and through every up and down, we get to learn and experience many things that are valuable and blissful for lifelong.
Rescue Network Nepal was in Western Part of Surkhet in Bijuara with coordination of Pastor Janmajaya Bhattarai for training- this was in the year 2016. The place is in the Karnali riverside where 3 districts meet including Doti, Surkhet and Accham. In Bijaura, the place where we had our training center, there is the dominance of marginalized group of people in that area.
It was quite interesting for us that there was a place where we saw ‘Sal’ tree (Shorea robusta) so big that we realized why the Kasthamandap Temple in Kathmandu is believed to be made with wood of a single Sal tree. Now it is being constructed again, with no idea how many trees as it demolished in the last earthquake in 2015, but when it was originally made, it was believed to be made with wood of a single tree.
When we were near the church, in which we were going to provide training, we saw there was no way out as a big tree had broken and blocked the roadway. So when we couldn’t take our vehicle, the coordinators there managed for tractor instead, for taking our stuffs and resources for training and our personal belongings. We also left our vehicle and went on the tractor to the training center.
People from Doti had arrived for the training walking early in the morning at 3 am carrying roasted corn and soybeans to eat on the way. They had their fellowship at their place in Doti and used to travel long distance and visit that church once a month for the Lord’s Supper. When we saw their hard work and their heart to serve the Lord, we felt our hardship to reach there was nothing compared with theirs. It’s all about the relation with God and His words. After the training, they prepared themselves with Corn and soybeans and travel back the long hard journey. In our next trip we provided some solar lights, tarpaulin, sleeping bags, audio bible and so on. Now when we see their progress we are very much blessed, they have a nice church building and they are still growing in Christ.
In the same trip our next destination was in Guttu, Surkhet which was about 2 to 3 hours away from Bijaura. We had to pack our things and went on the tractor to the place where we had our vehicle, and then we kept our things in our vehicle and moved to Guttu.
That place also has the dominance of marginalized people. In the same church, the pastors and many other people were from low caste people, but there was the participation of two non-Christian sisters who were from higher class. During the training, their father had arrived to scold the daughters and take them. It was unfortunate for them to leave in the between of the training and we could do nothing but let them go. Though people claim that there is no more caste system, and talk about equity and equality, we realized from that incident that people still have their strong and rigid beliefs that cannot be uprooted easily.
The interesting thing there was the participation of Pastor’s brother who was differently abled. He had lower part of his body, both legs, amputee. Though we told him about our training and our criteria for receiving certificate, he wanted to participate in the training. We came to know he was very active and skilled person despite his disability. He knew how to cut hair, sew clothes, repair lights, mobiles and so on. He happily participated and learned as much as he could, because he wanted to learn and serve with what he had. He told us that he will be able to teach other people.
In our every trip although we sometimes face unusual and awkward situations, we also receive the blessings of our Lord in our every step. These experiences give us new pathways and direct us to our goals.
We were travelling East West Highway for relief and health awareness program in August, 2021. Everything was going well, when suddenly on the way of the dense forest in Dang, while we were returning back, the break of our vehicle stopped working. It was impossible to drive without break so we had to stop right away. We would still have some hope if only there were mobile networks. We couldn’t contact anyone and couldn’t ask for help without phone networks. If we didn’t take any step, it would soon get dark and we would’ve stuck there. So Jaya and Sahil, both of them, asked a truck for lift and went to search a mechanic. We waited while two of us walked around to see if we get any network and found another truck and some mechanics working to repair. We went to ask them if they could help; they came to see what’s wrong with our vehicle and suggested us to find another vehicle to pull our jeep to garage. We couldn’t get any information from Jaya and Sahil, so Sanoj had to find a lift with another truck and asked to go to the bazar area and check if he gets any network connection. But he had to travel around 15 km away just to get network. He then called Jaya from there and returned with some information to us. Well, for the first time, we felt we were missing ages because we couldn’t use our mobiles. After Jaya and Sahil arrived with mechanic, the team of girls went on tempo to hotel as it was getting dark in the middle of forest. Jaya and the mechanic went along with girls in tempo up to 15 km to contact another vehicle for pulling our jeep. In the meantime, the mechanic ran across the road may be to find some help, but we lost him. We realized that the mechanic’s mobile number was NCELL and there was connection of NTC only. Again we were startled for few minutes, because we couldn’t contact him, but thankfully, he came back. Jaya and the mechanic went back to boys, stayed there until they got a vehicle to pull the jeep to their garage and then went to the hotel. It was already 11 pm when they could finally rest. We see God’s protection for us because even when the break failed, we could stop the vehicle on time. Only if we were few meters ahead, we would be in the downhill slope and we would not be able to stop.
On 25th September, 2021, Rescue Network Nepal team travelled to Chitwan for 2 first aid training and health awareness programs and also visiting Pastors. First training was in Dorangi, Chitwan, where the church was in the roadside and had no compounds or kitchen. We usually cook food in the church compound during the training and when the people there couldn’t manage cooking food there, we had to walk around 10 minutes away to one of the church members’ home for lunch. As it was summer time and as Chitwan is one of the hottest places in Nepal, it was very difficult for us to walk in the scorching hot bright sunny day. Kathmandu is quite cooler; around 24-26 degree Celsius and the trainers on the first day of the training in Chitwan almost fainted of heat which reached 41 degree Celsius. It was not just because we had to walk for lunch in the mid-day but also during the training sessions. Everyone was continuously hydrating themselves with Oral Rehydration Solution and drinking water. From the other day, the trainers however started adjusting to the weather there.
Next training was in Kathar, Chitwan, but we had to skip that day because it was all Tharu community and the other day was their important festival Jitiya Parba. It is celebrated for three-days and in these festival mothers of the Terai region fast for almost two days to pray for the long lives of their children. We could have started the training but the neighbors just next door from the church made a stage with music systems to celebrate the festival. There would be disturbance in the training, so we postponed the training for the other day and we moved to another schedule of visiting Pastors. We went to Thori and Madi, where we had the first training of Rescue Network Nepal. We had to cross two thick tropical forests, it was all off-road and we had to cross many rivers and there were no bridges. We went to visit Pastor Aash Bahadur Gurung, who had completed his 10 grade (SLC) at the age of 69. He is already 78 years but is still looking after old, sick and homeless people along with his mother of 101 years old. He had a vision to take care of the people who were sick and had no one to take care of. So when we went to visit his orphan and old aged home, we were amazed how this old man is without any hesitation serving those people.
On the way back, it started raining heavily and the rivers and rivulets started overflowing. We were sure that our jeep would pass all those, but when one big river was left to be crossed, there was traffic jam for a while as it was difficult for other vehicles to pass by. At that time, we tried to use the four wheel gear so that there would be no chance for the jeep to get stuck. But unfortunately, the gear didn’t work; instead, normal gear also stopped working. We had to push the jeep back because it was all muddy. Subarna tried his best to make the gear work, and then we returned back to the town and did the maintenance.
Although we get to see and experience so many ups and downs, we are always more encouraged to continue our works, especially when we see the ripples effects. Those who learnt from us are trying to teach others as much as they could. They are teaching the First aid techniques except CPR like dressing, splinting, bandaging, treatment of burn victims, choke release, and safe transfers and so on. Various social organizations are willing to work with us.
Even when we couldn’t be at the sites, people are helping each other with our guidance and supports. Like in cases of accidents, people call us to update what they can do next. Also, in cases of need of reliefs, food distribution, etc. our local coordinators, pastors and leaders are mobilized immediately and they are willing to do even when we are not able to reach there on time. These ups and downs will continue and for our Lord’s Glory, we will continue our works through which we get new ideas, knowledge and experiences in life which will ultimately be treasured for us.
Prepared By: Elina Maharjan
For Rescue Network Nepal
18th October, 2021