We are the disturbing image to each other. A male is looking at male with wide open eye. Why is he looking so desperately as if an alien has come to the earth. I believe, he might be just wondering; whats the story behind the beauty, a story of fortunate, unfortunate…
Oi chiya kha ( Hey You !! eat this tea (commanding voice)).
Who is this old women who is scolding me? How she dare to scold me, when I am new to this place and don’t have done anything to her.
Before coming to Hepka, my friend who had been here, was telling me: be aware with the people of Hepka, they don’t have good image among the people of Humla, you are foreigner in that place so be aware. I don’t know what this means and here an old woman is scolding me for no reason. I don’t have any words to express this.
After taking our breakfast in Simkot we took Chandra as our guide and headed towards Hepka. According to local it takes only four hours to reach Hepka but it took us around 6 hours. Chandra helped a lot to translate the language and manage a home to stay.
On the way he told following details on Hepka:
Hepka is the nearest to the Simkot but in the middle between them lies the snowy rocky mountains. If any of the man gets accident or something then s/he have to cross that uphill, snowy road for 4 hours if he can run.
There is no light, some organization installed solar but is not working perfectly now, the intensity is too low and in most of the house it has already been damaged.
Story of the home where we stayed:
We stay at constant touch with our friends and relatives and argue with each other for not being in contact for hours or days but here the story is totally different.
The buhari of the home is so beautiful. She don’t know exactly where his husband at the moment. A month ago, he had left message in Simkot that he is in Surkhet and will be back after a month. Then no more communication and information and its more than a month. buhari has no worry in her eyes; she says if she move out of Hepka she will also be out of contact. For buying important things they depend on China more. When they go to china for trade; they will out of contact to each other/ family members for months.
Aama was of seventy and she was still active, she gave us tea, tea of yak when we were conform to stay in her house. Wonderful. I was about to finish a cup of tea, she again added in the cup to make it full. I was happy at this time because I was a bit hungry and bit thirsty after the long walk. But she again commanded to eat tea. “Oi chiya kha”,,,, Oh she is commanding me!!!
Buhari was the smartest of all. She manages everything perfectly and in time, even in that day we fell asleep at around 9 pm but she managed all the works, cooked the tiffin for us for the next day and sleep at around 11:30 pm which is too late time for that area.
In Hepka ward number 2-3 there are around 50 household and Aama married a boy of two doors ahead and Buhari had the home (where she was born) few homes away. Thus, they just grow up in the community, interact , live with each other and die there. The nearest village is more than two hours far and some of them haven’t gone far than Simkot. Our Aama was lucky that her husband took her to Kathmandu during her youth. Few of them have reached to China border and some steps beyond.
The houses are really clustered and there is not enough space between the houses. Let’s not talk about sanitation, toilet, water cleanliness process, management of water and other resources effectively. According to the local teacher who is of Terai and has been teaching here for more than 12 years says that the people don’t know how to wipe their “chack” (ass) even we tell thousands of times. I am still confused about the teacher whether he is helping the poor to uplift their situation and working in the remoteness without any personal benefit or he is seeing lots of loop holes and enjoying the ignorance of the local people. But at this time lets be positive.
Ups and downs:
- There are some good projects, like piping of water from the nearest stream. Install solar lights, start micro hydro but even in such small locality they fight for water pipes and argue that the pipe should be in front of their home at the same time they are realizing that the water source “jaruwa pani” is dying up.
- Similar is the case of microhydro, the donor had bought the instrument but due to local vested interest, it is not able to start. One organization installed pipes from the nearest stream. There were 6 pipes but they fought with each other and even don’t care about its management and proper utilization that now only two are functional at the moment.
- Health post is constructed but due to the locals clash the door and windows are broken and the service has stopped.
- The amount which comes annually in the name of village for its development are used by so called local leaders and some individuals even don’t know about it.
- We can say that there is no monitoring. The tower of Hellow Nepal (telecommunication established for the rural area) which has been damaged since months has been neglected, no one cares.
- Due to the damage/destruction of telephone tower Hepka and other village of Humla are out of the communication reach for more than year. Nepal telephone never reached there, lets not talk about ncell, they are just for profit motive and newly established Hellow Nepal designed for mountain parts is out of reach and don’t know why they are not concerned with maintenance and increase its network in these area
Those who know something benefit themselves or run away to another area and other are just staying in the jeopardized situation blaming their fate.
Hepka is totally isolated from the communication. Yet the people are so friendly, they speak differently does not mean that they are commanding or making fun of us. The help from the local person helps us lot in this case. Chandra was really thankful in our case. He managed a lot of things. If he had not been there we would be in jungle and kicked out from the village.
Thank you Chandra, Aama and Buhari for the great time and memories.
Due to the difficult topography Madan sir was in the Simkot, earlier day we had planned to be in the Simikot for lunch and as we were moving further from Simikot we got lost in communication. Virtually we don’t know what other group was doing. We started our trip back to Simikot at 7 am and reached Simkot at 1:30 and sir was waiting for the lunch with us. It means a lot to us.Thank you sir.
Though we are disturbing image to each other, though the sanitation is poor, though the topography is harsh, though there is lots of conflicts and everybody is with their vested interest, there stays lots of good people with good heart.
If you are planning to go to Humla don’t forget to go to Hepka or any nearby typical village and have a night stay there :), I will not say it will be good or bad but it will definitely be memorable………..