On our visit to Thumlabong village, SCNs Deena Vazhaprampil, Helen Tirkey, Malini Manjoly and Arati Rai, one of the health workers met Raibahadur Rai and his aged wife in their simple house. Raibahadur shared that he and his wife have not been able to get their meager monthly old age pension of Indian rupees four hundred for the last four months. Each of them has to spend rupees one hundred to commute back and forth to the post office to collect the pension. With the unrest and the subsequent shut down of the whole area, no pension had been remitted to the post office. Since there is no other earning member in the family, the couple had difficulty in meeting their expenses. They thanked Sisters Deena and Helen for giving them enough rice to last for a few months. They were so grateful to the Sisters for their visit that they shared some fresh string beans with us.
We travelled about thirty minutes by the jeep through unpaved mountain road and then walked the narrow footpath down the hill for another thirty minutes to reach the house of Raibahadur. Their strong Catholic faith brings them to the Church to Sangsay parish on every Sunday by walking around two hours, one way. On our way back, Sister Deena looked at other patients.
Though it is tiring, the walk in the picturesque mountains, sound of flowing rivulets, tiny waterfalls and plenty of green foliage makes one forget the strenuous climb up or coming down the hill balancing on slippery stones.
Malini Manjoly, SCN | See more photos.