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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Free health camp started

Altogether 15 patients received full check-up from Dr. Matina Tuladhar today during the first free health camp organized by Janabahaa Society at its office. There were about a dozen more who wanted a quick blood pressure checkup. These numbers were much higher than what we had expected, given the fact that we had put up a notice board announcing the camp only at 8 am this morning! We have kept detailed record of all patient data so that it can possibly contribute towards a general health demographics of the local populace in the future. A special feature of this camp was that the Body Mass Index of each patient (BMI) was determined, which is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. After measuring the weight and height, the patient was immediately told in which category she/he fell in – normal, overweight or obese. According to Dr. Tuladhar, the most common problem observed is of high blood pressure. It was originally planned to wrap up the camp within an hour, but due to the constant flow of patients, we could close the camp for the day only at noon. Dr. Tuladhar found this high turnout of patients very encouraging, and has lovingly (hee hee... could not resist the temptation) expressed her willingness to continue volunteering her time and expertise every Saturday for this activity, despite the limited physical resources available. Photos by Alok Tuladhar.

It was all worth it, wasn’t it?

Well, why did so many people put in so much time and effort on all those trips to Jamacho hill? The outcome is going to be something very tangible indeed – the timber that was thus collected has already been cut to size, then seasoned by immersing it – for months – in a special type of oil imported from Birgunj (which was necessary to harden the wood even more), and will finally form the weight-bearing horizontal beams on the main temple of Janabahaa Dyo. The existing beams that are rapidly disintegrating because of age will be replaced with this new wood. Here is a 3D rendering of the temple’s ground floor ceiling structure (top, side and corner views respectively) created by Juju Ratna Tuladhar of Nepal Printing Press, Teuda, Asan.


In one of the recent tea-chats at the Janabahaa Society office, no one seemed to know exactly how many wood-cutting expeditions were undertaken to Jamacho hill. Well, digital photography came up with the answer – there were a total of 7 trips – on May 31, June 14, June 20, June 24, August 9, August 10 and August 11 in 2007. I have pictures that were taken on those dates, and I think it is quite unlikely that no one managed to take pictures on any of the trips.

From what I hear, each and every single trip was a big adventure for the participants. Once you overcame the challenges posed by the soggy weather and the long drive up the winding, climbing path, you were faced with the prospect of climbing up to 100 feet up moss-ridden trees to secure the treetop with ropes…

or crawl down 100 feet through thick bush to fallen trees to harness them with ropes.

And then the chain saw would start its deafening grind, scaring off all wild animals in the vicinity that were not yet alarmed by the sudden onslaught of noisy humans in their tranquil surroundings.

Once the tree is felled, pulling it up to the road was another herculean task – thanks to the manual pulley that acted up on its own mood swings from time to time.

The best part of course was the food. No one seemed to mind that the hot dishes served had no salt, as all the salt was used as leech-repellent.

Hauling the logs up onto the trucks was by far the easiest task, as human hands were needed only to guide the lumber into place.

But then keeping the trucks on the road was a different story altogether.

Tirtha Dhar Tuladhar was probably the only person who went on all the trips.

For the scores of youths from around Janabahaa and others who went on these trips to Jamacho hill (or Raniban or Nagarjun) on the northwestern rim of Kathmandu valley to collect wood required for renovation of Janabahaa Dyo temple, it would prove to be a time they would cherish for a lifetime. For the more inspired, tales that they would tell their grandchildren one day would come out of this experience.