After our successful follow up visits in Prangbung and Memeng we were quite excited to get to the villages of Chyangthapu and Falaicha. These communities also belong to the Panchthar District. Unfortunately both of the Health Post persons in charge were not available during our visits – they said they had to leave for an emergency to Phidim… So here we were in a new village and ended up staying at the Health Post quarters in Chyangthapu. What did we learn about this village? Chyangthapu has good access to transportation – even buses operate there, 2 pharmacies in town, where one even offers check ups – so medical support is available. We didn’t get the feeling that people were interested in what we had to offer, therefore the event wasn’t communicated very well to the surrounding wards. We decided to go on our own to the police and the local school to spread the word even further. We still offered free diabetes and blood pressure checks in the morning and 155 participants, mainly from the center where the Health Post is located, showed up. 31 people were recommended for a follow up. After we finished our health camp and donated a glucose meter, test strips and educational material to the Health Post, we came to the conclusion that there is no further need of extending our project in this village. So off we were on our way to the Falaicha Health Post in Ward 9.
Falaicha was a quite interesting place with its own cultural habits. We don’t want to judge anyone, but the consumption of meat and alcohol is very frequent. The Health Camp was located in ward 9 and most of the 87 participants came from this ward. 18 villagers were recommended for a follow up. We got the same impression about the lack of communication and interest. However the Health Post was quite organized, with a good stock of medication, and employees were very supportive. We left one meter, strips and material behind, but also don’t think that any further health projects in this village are necessary or highly welcomed.
One highlight though in Falaicha was our visit to “Shiddakali Secondary School”. This school is an outstanding school with a very ambitious headmaster and his wife, good organization, good systems in place, good results and good attendance. An example for their efforts is the system they implemented to have the students use the computers. They let 4 kids (although the class sizes are also bigger) practice on the computers while the rest of the class is getting theory lesson.. Every student has the chance to use the computer what we were able to witness first hand. During our project approval process in Phidim the District Education informed us that this school has to use still old chalk boards, so we decided to donate whiteboards including marker sets to each class and school supplies. The gratefulness for this donation was shown to us during a little ceremony. We also brought kids tooth brushes and showed the youngest ones how to use them. As we still have some books in Birtamod we will donate them books to stock their shelves for a library.
Due to the lack of interest in the villages, we had an extra day in between. We decided to visit Taplejung – a very remote District bordering mainly to Falaicha. The wards are very wide spread. For some villages within Taplejung people have to walk either 5 hours to get access to transportation in Falaicha Bazaar or walk 2 days to arrive at the District office. School attendance is a big problem in these areas. The headmaster of one school said: “Sometimes we have only 1or 3 students attending class. But there was one girl that actually was able to understand my question “how old are you?” in English and gave me an answer. This is very rare in the remote areas. So there is still hope… We would need to gather more information about this District before we could start any projects in this area as it seems that there are no bigger villages where we could gather and cater to more people for health projects. But we will keep this District on our list for the future.
After 14 days in Panchthar District our project came to an end and we headed back to civilization…! Stay tuned what are our upcoming projects for February 2018.