I don’t know why she was so against me. I was trying to do something for this community but she had been arguing with me with so tangible feelings as if she is stone-hearted.
Ah, what a beautiful weather, how beautiful the scene is from here. Ah! It would be awesome if people could come to this place, observe the natural beauty seen from here. Yellowish mountains of Ramechap, brown soil of Okhaldunga, green forest of Sindhuli, traditional Majhi community, one can experience them all.
“What!!! Did you just say beautiful? Do you call this place a beautiful? Look around you!! Is there any house near you with good structure? All people are living in open space, they just have some open space with them. Nothing, absolutely nothing to stay healthy.”
Frankly speaking, I was really tired and exhausted to see the current situation. None of the houses were erect, all had been turned to rubble due to the deadly earthquake of 2015 I was speechless and I was trying to do something, something from my level to my community. Besides the effect of the earthquake, this area is regarded as one of the most vulnerable in term of effect of climate change. Various communities were regarded/marked as the drought area even by the government. Shall I wait for the government? What are they doing, Oh forget them! Let’s do something for our land
Shall I wait for the government? What are they doing, Oh forget them! Let’s do something for our land our self if we can. Drought, lack of drinking water, uncertainty in rainfall, landslide, diseases in the crop and livestock are some of the common problems/issue/risk in the locality. I just thought it is important for us to start thinking seriously how to adapt from its negative impacts.
What do you want to do! You are talking as if you are the hero or as if you have got really innovative idea. What do you want to do? She looked at me with hungry eyes !!! I was speechless to hear her! Especially to hear her bold question. I just looked at her with my low confident eyes.
She again shrieked. Don’t be like those NGO’s who just come here, Come here, fill their paper that they have bought, talk as if they have not seen the country side. Some of them express the words of pity and just run away. They are actually getting paid for doing nothing. And some organizations staff, just sell the words of hope but for most of them, we have never seen them twice in our village.
Community based adaptation are much better than the top-down approach and different activities are taking part in our community also. National Program of Action has been formulated and some programs have already started. You are the one who don’t care that and want incentives even to take part in the meeting of national importance and you except for the development of the community how can this be possible!!! I expressed my anger.
She sat quietly for a second and watched the setting sun in the west. Then, she looked at me; we are not doing that just for fun, those organizations come to us in the time when we have the prime time in our agriculture. Those organizations are much worse than us. They just come here to finish the deadline. They have already pictured what they will write in their report. So, you mean to say that they have got deadlines but don’t we have any work. Look at us, we work in this season to feed the whole year and they come in this season as if they don’t know this is the monsoon season.
Talking about agriculture, and harvesting time, how are the seeds here? Can I share some better hybrid seeds to the community so that they have much better production and can feed more people. I think we should distribute seeds to this community. Earthquake took all they had and they have nothing to grow and eat so let’s give them seeds. I was just trying to do something for this community. I was just back from abroad and I know Ramechap is one of the badly affected area by the impact of climate change and I have this deep feeling that I should be doing something for this my homeland my beautiful land. I grew up here and at the moment I think I can do something for the community.
She fired back at me, don’t act like foolish. We all know these communities are uneducated and have a poor quality of living. But we so-called educated, how can we lie to ourselves, our own community, if we give the hybrid seeds then they will have good production this year but do you know about its consumption time range, type/variety of seed, its use in next growing season, additional supplements needed. It’s like making them more dependent, more dependent on the external sources. But the tragedy doesn’t lie here.
On one side we are heavily impacted by the effect of the climate change; our lakes, ponds, springs are drying up, erratic rainfall is increasing, the amount of rainfall is decreasing. On the other side, I don’t know if we have forgotten or ignored. But it’s the fact that our traditional seeds are lost, our watershed management system have been ignored, our way of making “aahal” ponds in the hills has been unnoticed, we don’t know now, what is ethnobiology. And some over-smart NGO comes and shouts about climate change, even without caring who the audience are and how much they understand. And at the end, they just teach us to store water when it rains.
I mutter in a small voice. It’s a good adaptation practice. Rainwater harvesting should be promoted what’s wrong with it.
I am not saying it’s wrong. I am just saying only some people are getting benefited, lots of poor people who still have poor house structure are not getting benefited. Small scale water storage that they promote is just enough for the monsoon and the problem become more severe in the summer.
The effect of climate change is more in the lower economic status people than the higher so adaptation practices should be more focused on them. Last time, one organization came here and distributed the water filter to the shop owners. They have resources to buy it if well informed about its importance but I became helpless to more than 110 Majhi (fisherman) household community who have to depend upon the river water and cannot afford penny. They were not even informed about the event. Those persons who came here from organization did not have enough energy to walk 3-4 hours to reach to them. This is the reality.
long and fury road
These farmers work so hard in the land to earn their living but when the plant grows, half of them is destroyed by pest and insects. They even don’t know what caused that. Among remaining, more than half of it is eaten by the animals of the jungle like monkey, squirrel that enter into the field when the cereals and crops ripen. And few grains that remains, they manage to take inside home is eaten by bugs, pest, mites, and rodents. And that too end up being given to our livestock and what do we eat!!!! What remain? And reminder is almost zero. Think about that. Think about some adaptation practice that can not only grow enough food needed but also save them for future use. Think about sustainability. Think about some sustainable adaptation practices for better living.
While I was thinking sustainability. I watched to green patches of forest on the other side of the river. I think I should start the eco-tourism in this place. I will build a small house here, near that Goldunga of Himganga ward four, start home stay facility, grow organic food and feed the tourist that come to visit our beautiful place.
I did not hear any sound, watched around, she was not there. I asked myself should I start eco-tourism as sustainable adaptation practice in this place!!!!
These photos and conversations were based on the field work at Ramechap.