Bhatteghari village, Surket District, midwestern Nepal
25 August 09
“We are so worried the rain won't come” ..“I am Binita Bishowkarma. I live in Kaphala Village, Baitadi District with .my husband and children. Before help from NGOs we didn't have many .sources of income. We used to collect grass to sell as fodder - we would .get paid NRs. 30 per day (USD0.39) or the women went to higher caste .families to work as domestic servants. The menfolk were doing agricultural labour on others' land, or portering sand and bricks, earning NRs. 50 (USD0.65) per day; some work as guards in Punjab, Bangalore or Kolkata in India. Sometimes they can bring home NRs. 10,000 (USD129.87) per year, sometimes it takes two to three years to earn this much. Each family in our village has a little land, around 1 khata...(0.03 hectare). Previously we could only grow maize, but now with .assistance from NGOs we can grow vegetables to sell locally. We're growing potatoes, spinach, pumpkin, brinjal and some women keep chickens and goats and some have buffaloes or cows. Before it used to snow in the winter, and the winter was much colder - we think the temperature has been increasing since the road was built about 25 years ago. But in the last three years there has been no snow,.and in one of those years we had only two days of rain. So now the plants are dying. We are supposed to harvest wheat in March but the plants are very small. Fruits like peach, lemon, pomegranate and peas are supposed to be flowering now but its so dry it is not happening. When we go to collect fodder for the animals the trees and bushes are dry as well. ..This year has been the most difficult time for weather. We are getting ill more because we're not eating properly. Before this dry weather we could eat the vegetables and fruit we grew and be healthy, but now the rain hasn't come so fresh leafy vegetables aren't available in our gardens and those that grow, the quality is not good. Cabbages are limp and diseased inside, full of insects. We have to buy vegetables at the market now, but the quality isn't good, and they're expensive. Water is the main thing. If its gets hotter and drier and there's no water to even wash our clothes or clean the house. March-April is the dry season, we are so worried the rain won't come afterwards, our hopes are low"..