Rescue Network Nepal
Rescue Network Nepal does the planning for the new fiscal year at the end of the previous fiscal year which is usually in the mid-July. We set the first aid training and refresher training along with health awareness programs for the whole year discussing and planning with the local coordinators in various areas of the country as per the need of the training in those local areas. We adjust the fresh and refresh training mixed up in a single trip which is set according to need and priority. We usually have 20-25 training in a year along with reliefs in time of need. We then need to know the expected donations from the donors for the whole year for the further planning.
We firstly send the pre-approval letter and budget to the local government which is sent back to us with approval for the preparation. We prepare the resources and logistics for the training and traveling. We again send the approval letter to the planned areas for training and for the selection we see the involvement of community people, health workers, female community health volunteers, police (for the training and also for our protection) and other 50 percent from the church.
We have 25-30 trainees in each training centers which is adjustable according to hall size. Right after the completion of training, we even send the name and address and minute of the training to the local government and receive the letter of completion. In time if need even the local government and ward offices can call and mobilize the trained volunteers.
Trip to Dhankuta
It was chilled weather in January 2022; our planning was 3 training in Dhankuta, a mid-hill district of eastern hill region of Nepal in Chaubise Village Rural Municipality. The 3 places were Rajarani, Mudebas and Saurya. The hilly life is difficult to whatever extent of development. First difficulty is the road condition and another is poverty. Most of the houses were made of tin and sleeping inside tin house in cold weather felt like punishment. We asked why they used tin for making houses when the weather in that place is cold throughout the year. The easy answer was because they can only afford tin and making a concrete house is out of imagination. The poverty extremity was seen when most young people were in abroad for work and the villages were forbidding, seemed empty and desolate. It was two difficult nights for us, but they have no other choice than living there. Yet they gave us the best of what they had. They had plenty of pumpkin and chayote squash (iskush: Nepali) in their farms that they had to throw them away or feed the cattle. They even gave us 2 pumpkins as gift, because we were so much excited about them the whole time we were there.
The first training was in Rajarani (place King and Queen). We had been given rooms in two houses on the top of the hill; when we woke up we saw the mesmerizing view of Rajarani Bazaar and the white misty land. It would have been more cold if we had to stay down there but we got chance to see the beauty. Rajarani had majority of Limbu people. But the pastor of the church where we were doing the training was Rai. We were curious about how Rai people came to that place, as it was originally a Limbu village. He told us that he migrated from northern part of Khotang district in West of Nepal. He had migrated to Letang in Terai but as it was hot there, they moved to Rajarani for his mother who needed cold weather for some medical condition. After him migrating to that village, there was a mass migration of Rai people in Rajarani. When we asked why they chose that place, they gave a wonderful explanation that Dharan Bazar and Itahari Bazar in Terai are near from there. We didn’t find frequent transportation facility but there was hope as we saw new road construction work going on.
That day we were waiting for the trainees to arrive for the training. Our time was 8:30 am but we expected them to arrive till 9 am. We were distressed as it was all silent till 10 am. We had no hope for conducting training there. But people started to come after 10 am. This usually happens; because people from community hesitate to come in the church. And people think they can arrive and leave any time they want until they understand about what kind of program we were actually providing them. But when we started registrations, people kept coming and the hall of the church was almost full. It was difficult for us not to keep them, because many of them were from community and they had travelled long distance, walking almost 2 hours. But we were forced to stop the registration when the number reached 45 trainees and there was no more room capacity. It was the first record that 50% were Female Community Health Volunteers and 70% of total trainees were non-Christians.
The Female Community Health Volunteers are the volunteers involved in risk management for non-communicable disease management and oral health educating villagers through health promotion (sanitation, nutrition, family planning, HIV, and maternal and child health), delivering health services (family planning, deworming, polio campaigns, and integrated management of childhood illnesses), and collecting and reporting demographic data to an intermediary in the community. At first, when they arrived, they didn’t show much interest for the training, they were doing side talks. Especially when they had to pay for registration and saw cross symbol in our books, brochure and poly bag. But when the training started, they were very much happy that this was the most important thing for them. This was what they must have learned for their profession of community health volunteers.
We usually divide the trainees into groups for the practical sessions, but there was no space in the church for division. We went out to neighborhood patio and it was generous of the neighbors who allowed us to use their patio for our practical sessions. It was all good until it was sunny; but later, since the afternoon, it was cold and windy.
When we were doing the mock accident, (a part of training in which we fake accident and allow the trainees to act and practically do the treatments they learned), there the grandmother of the accident victim, whom we chose, started to cry thinking that her grandson had the real accident. She kept on crying and was not convinced that it was just an act until we sent him back to meet his grandmother. This was not the first time we faced this situation, but also in other places too. People gather and start asking what happened out of curiosity. By this also, people get aware about the training program and understand how effective and important the training actually was including our message of through the church to the community. We later knew that the old lady and her family was the only Limbu local who was originally from that place whom we met throughout our stay there. Most people we met there were Rai people who were all migrated.
It all went well in the first training center. Our second training center was in Mudebas. This place was also Limbu village but we only met Magar people there. The people might have reached there and stayed there in the time of King Prithvi Narayan Shah during the unification of Nepal. Magar and Gurung people were strong and fought for the country’s unification.
We still had two other training planned but, when we reached there, things changed. The pastor of the church, in which the training center was allocated, was not available and nothing could be managed there. People who received us there were also acting strangely. They were in dilemma about how they should be welcoming us. We waited for trainees till 11 am but when no one arrived, we decided not to stay. For the next training we had to now wait 4 more days. So we had to cancel both training and leave.
Though the training was cancelled, we had a good experience in a single training. We headed back from a new way, from Mudebas to Saurya in Dhankuta to Letang in Morang, which was shorter than the regular track from the place where we were staying. It was off-road, still not fully constructed and had minimum number of vehicles running. We were lost in the middle of the road, when later we realized it was a ring road which ultimately meets the same place. We still don’t know which one was the shorter one. Yet we kept on moving from hills to hills, ups and downs asking locals for the way, then after crossing Chisang River, we finally reached Letang. From there it was plain highway road.
Our trip to Dhankuta was quite a wonderful experience. We sometimes need to closely observe things rather than following the strict rules of conducting training only. These experiences make us closer to the community and people from various ethnicities as well as increase our knowledge in various sectors.
Trip to Morang
(Reported By: Abikel Tamang) In March, 2022 we had two training in Biratnagar and Sautha of Morang District, Terai of Eastern Nepal bordering with India. The weather in Terai is cold only for three months, then it is scorching heat throughout the year. We were there when it was very hot and it was very difficult for those who usually live in Kathmandu. The temperature was 35° Celsius, due to which we were continuously sweating and mosquitoes’ were also hovering around us to bite. Another was the loud sound of Dhami (Traditional healer) reciting Shiva puran katha from the neighboring house. Dhami is a person who traditionally believes to have divine power involved in the worship of gods and goddesses. It is related to tantrism, sorcery, witchcraft, etc. People believe that they can communicate with spirits or ancestors, and ability to anticipate future work or situations.
They had put loud speakers around their house, so that all the people in the community can listen to it and it had just been a day that it had started and would go for 10 more days. This really would have been a hindrance for our training if we would not act on it. So, we talked with our local coordinator as well as with the local church pastor and asked them to request their neighbor to remove those speakers which were facing towards our training center- at least for two days.
Next day, was our first day of the training and we noticed that the neighbor had removed those speakers that were facing toward our training center. Seeing this, we were pleased by his generosity. All our trainees had also arrived on time for the training. As we started our registration, we were very glad to see that we had people from different sectors from the community, who had come for participating in the training, two were armed police force, other two were regular police, one school principal along with seven school students from different schools, two female community health volunteers, church pastors, church members etc. This time we felt that we were able tell people about Jesus through our actions rather than just words. Our principle was met “Through the church to the community”.
We started our training like we always used to do, by short devotion. The whole training on first aid and teaching and learning process were also effective and fruitful. There were total 30 trainees, and all of them were very active during practical session as well as very interactive during lecture sessions too.
On the last day, in our ending ceremony, we had ward chairperson as our chief guest, from whom we had handed over the certificate to the trainees, who had passed in the training exam. Wherever we conduct training, we always give one stretcher and one first box as a gift for that place. So, this time also we had given one first aid box and one stretcher to the local church pastor, but the pastor took a decision that he will give it to the ward so, that the whole ward people can use it in times of need. So, as he received it from us, he handed over to the ward chairperson and he was also very pleased to receive it. From the overall feedback given by trainees and ward chairperson, we came to know that they were very thankful to us for teaching such important and lifesaving skills. In the coming days they again wanted to receive such trainings. In this way we were able to complete our training successfully.
Soon after, we completed our training there, we left for Biratchowk, our pastor Gopal Dahal’s place because he was the one who had coordinated for our second training. Next day, we left for second training in Sautha, Morang, along with pastor Gopal Dahal and his wife. The church where we had training was Sautha Shalom Baptist Church. As we reached there, we saw that all the trainees had arrived and were having breakfast under a beautiful umbrella like tent, which we came to know that it was bought from Delhi and it looked different than the usual one which we had seen so far. During breakfast, as we were interacting with the pastor Nirmal, we came to know that he was the brother of the pastor Peter Thapa, who had coordinated for our training in Ilam. We also came to know that this training was conducted under the influence of local church pastors of Eastern Nepal.
As it was time for us to start the training, we started it with the devotion as usual. There were total 29 trainees and different caste group people had participated like Limbu, Rai, K.C, Magar, Hasda, Rai, Gururng, Mardi, Pouriya, Beshra, Yadav, Satar etc. The caste groups like Hasda, Pouriya, Beshra, Yadav, Satar, etc are the aborigine of eastern part of Nepal like Jhapa, Morang, Biratnagar and they are also found in West Bengal, Siliguri till Aasam, Guwahati of India. Their traditional occupation have been fishing, farming, hunting and agriculture but now a days, in this modern period they are mostly involved in tea farming, industrial works and other income generating works too.
Most of the trainees were the young people, church leaders and pastors. In this place, we had to face bit challenges in training the trainees, as few of the trainees were not able to grab what we were teaching them in first go. But, we did not give up; we tried our best to make them understand by repeating it again and again. In this way, our last training at Sautha, Morang also got completed successfully. Through their feedback, we came to know that the church pastor and they all were very satisfied with the training and they all were very glad to get this life saving training.
So, at last we could say that our both the trainings in Biratnagar and Sautha in Morang District were very fruitful and in spite of few of the obstacles we had to go through, we could complete it successfully. We, trainers and also trainees were satisfied with what were taught and also with their performance during the mass casualty and mock accident, which made us feel like our goal of this trip, was met.
Prepared By: Elina Maharjan
For Rescue Network Nepal
Date: 6th April, 2022