“Jai grihastha” is a common greeting in the Far Western and Karnali regions of Nepal, and it is a way of wishing each other success in life, livelihood, and family. Here in the Maspur local area above the Kawadi Khola, on the border between Humla and Bajura districts, we had a grueling two-day journey from a nearby road. This is a daily struggle for people to meet basic needs. Historically, the people here thrived as traders, using goats and sheep as collected animals to carry grain from the plains to Tibet and to sell salt on the plains. But the district now has food insecurity, health problems, and a lack of livelihoods.
Most are already subsistence farming, but agricultural yields are low due to rocky terrain, lack of irrigation, pest infestation, and old technology. Most of the families can grow food that lasts for about 4 to 5 months only. For the rest, they have to buy or borrow food. But money is scarce, so people rely heavily on food subsidies and loans. The nearest health post is a two-day walk, a time that farmers can afford, especially during busy harvesting times. Tuberculosis and intestinal infections are rampant and exacerbate the symptoms of malnutrition. Many homes do not have toilets, and hygiene is poorly maintained. Women and the underprivileged are especially disadvantaged. Women have limited mobility and control over household resources, while the Dalits have very little land or education, and suffer from discrimination. “I doubt if we are nepalese. We Dalits are ignored and oppressed. We have small things, no one cares for us, not the government, not the organizations, not even the gods,” said Romalal Lwaar.
Kathmandu ignored this part of Nepal, leaving its people behind. Previously District chairperson Bagdal Malla said, “We have a small budget, but much work remains to be done. We have no roads, and transportation makes things expensive. ”
Roads and markets are main priority for the farmers. Roads will also make it easier for government and NGO staff to work better.
Rajbahadur Budha, a local, said, “We have a lot of resources, from our fields and natural resources. We could sell them inroads if there were any. There will be more people moving here, and more businesses. Without a road, there is no development. ”
If the roads are made then the farmers can go to the marketplace and add value to their products. Other opportunities include the cultivation and processing of medicinal plants and fragrances as well as high-value mushrooms or herbs, the production of handicrafts of wool, cheese, honey, and sustainable harvesting and processing of forest products. These jobs require very little external inputs and can be achieved with pieces of training skills, training, and small grants.
As Nepal grew in cities, few and far between people in the country understood the struggles in places like Maspur village. The first step to redressing this is education and awareness of the living conditions of the people of rural Nepal and the recognition that they too have the right to live a safe and healthy life. It is only then that the needs and aspirations of the people of Nepalis who have been historically empowered and organized are well incorporated into national policies and development programs where we can aspire to people in places like Kaladi Khola ‘Jai grihastha’.
Also Read: The Federal Democratic Republic Of Nepal