SOCHAI recently conducted three visits to Tarkeshwor Municipality, Ward number 1, 2, and 3 on 20th November, 24th December 2020, and 18th March 2021 respectively under the COVID Response Program. Participating in the entire program was a great learning opportunity for me. I learned a great deal from the SOCHAI team as well as the staff of the Health Institutions there in Tarkeshwor. I also got an opportunity to closely observe and understand the different aspects in conducting a community program like team coordination, management, networking, planning, organizing, and much more.
During our first visit to Tarkeshwor Municipality Ward number 1-Sangla, more focus was vested on the relief distribution activities by the Municipality rather than counseling about nutrition, hygiene, COVID-19 and many more aspects that we(Team members of SOCHAI) had prepared. Despite such difficult situations, our team worked and managed to complete everything in time with perfection. It was really motivating to see the pregnant and lactating mothers who were there to collect the Relief Nutrition and Hygiene kits. The way they held onto themselves and their family, I found it to be really commendable. Managing everything like assessing their socioeconomic conditions, counseling them for proper nutrition of themselves and their children, preventive measures from COVID-19 , etc. was tough yet it was completed well. Ah! that final feeling after successfully completing the program and being able to help those vulnerable mothers was simply inexplicable and can’t be put down in words. It was indeed a fulfilling experience to serve the most needed population group in the hour of this pandemic and I felt blessed to be a part of the team.
The second relief distribution program was at Tarkeshwor Municipality Ward number-2, Kavresthali and it turned out to be an even more inspiring and encouraging experience. This program created a chance for me to know more about the pregnant and lactating mothers, their condition and the rough phase they’re going through because of the COVID pandemic and yet they weren’t giving up. This visit was different from the last event as it was more systematic, managed, planned and well organized. This was a good example of “learning by doing” for me. Using the past experience positively, we were able to make the upcoming event even more successful. And then came the real blessing!! While interacting with the pregnant and lactating mothers at Kavresthali, there wasn’t a moment when I felt so privileged and fortunate to have food to eat, bed to sleep and clothes to wear. No, this is not the actual blessing I’m talking about. I was really moved by a remarkable response that I heard upon asking a mother about her access to food during this pandemic when she said:
“My husband has gone out of the valley to work, some days he calls and some days he doesn’t, sometimes he sends money and sometimes he doesn’t. When I get food, I first feed my babies and if there is something remaining from it, I have it or else I drink water and sleep.”
This made me recall a line I often used to hear, “Mothers are the greatest warriors of all.” Post this program, I felt truly blessed to get an opportunity to help someone who was in actual need of that support. I don’t know how long our relief package would support her but I’m certain that we were there when she and such mothers needed us the most.
After being in all three of the relief distribution programs at Tarkeshwor, one thing that I’ve realized is that people who live a few kilometers out of Kathmandu valley and around the outskirts lack proper economic and other essential resources. They also do not have adequate knowledge of nutrition, sanitation, and hygiene. I am very grateful that I, as a part of the SOCHAI team could help them in some way by providing them with relief packages, assessing their children’s nutritional assessment, understanding, and trying to solve their nutritional problems.