Shades of Healing: Stories from Dolakha
Meet Bimala & her two daughters
I was 13 years old when I gave birth to Priya. My husband and I had gone to Kathmandu for the delivery. The doctors had then counselled that pregnancy at my age and with a hole in my heart could be fatal. Six years later, I got pregnant again.
It was my fourth antenatal checkup in the health clinic. The nurse in the health clinic told me, “You need to go to a higher center for an ultrasound test. We don’t have the machine here.” I hopped on a bus with my husband, after a three-hour-long drive, we reached Charikot Hospital, Possible’s hospital hub in Dolakha.
“You’re well past your due date!” said the doctor, alarmed. I shuddered. My mother lost her life while she was giving birth to me and I feared the same fate. “What do I do now?” I asked, fatality of the pregnancy ringing in my ears.”
Immediately, I was propped on the delivery table and my labor induced. Hours and hours passed, but there was no sign of the baby coming out. It was time for the operation.
It’s been three days since 19-year-old Bimala became a mother of two baby girls — Ria and Priya. Along with her, we’ve helped more than 773 mothers deliver in Charikot Hospital in the last twelve months.
There was nothing but dust everywhere
Our kitchen used to be at the bottom floor of our house. My husband and I had just finished our lunch when the house began to shake. Confused, we stared at one another. It took us a few seconds to discern what was happening.
Jolting from side to side, we chanted prayers, as loud as possible, for the earth to come to a still. When the tremors seemed to subside, we scrambled out, huffing and puffing. The rest of the day, we huddled tight under a tree.
With the reoccurring aftershocks, the mud walls gave in, and our house crumbled. There was nothing but dust everywhere.
More than a year since the earthquake, Bishnu Maya is still living out of a tent. “We use a corner of the tent as the kitchen,” she says wheezing. The indoor smoke could exacerbate her breathing problem. This was 50-year-old Bishnu Maya’s second stay in our hospital hub in Dolakha. After a few days of oxygen therapy and antibiotics, she will return to her ‘home’.
I’m leading the team
My brother and I were climbing a tree when I lost my footing, and landed — thud — on the ground. I’d smashed my left arm. Hysterical, bhai, my brother, started wailing. He didn’t know what to do.
I felt numb. It wasn’t hurting as much, I was just nauseous and bhai crying didn’t help at all.
When Aama heard all the yelling, she came running out of the house and brought me here. I had three x-rays and I had a sling for two months — but I never cried.
Aama would have to help me for everything — getting dressed, bathing, using the toilet — and she’s so busy all the time, I’d just wait and wait.
Our school’s annual sports day is around the corner, and I’m leading the team — Jamuna, 8.