Report December 2004
Dear friends of Osla,
Here I am with warm greetings and a bunch of very interesting news from our recent trip to Osla. We had very good discussion with the villagers on the way to Osla. They were all very supportive and very much liked the idea of us working with the health issue.
We met two women on the way who were going to see the doctor for abortion as they already had six or seven kids. It was good to meet them together with the villagers so they were very pleased to see us and that was a good reason for us getting support in the village.
As it is the month of December (marriage season in India) there were five in the village. All our sessions started in the night after dinner because this was the time for the girls to get together for the evening singing ceremony.
We started our workshop with a short introduction session where we all had to tell our name and our favourite game, colour, place and our dream for future to the others and this was followed by traditional dance and music. All the five gatherings had little of training as such since it is hard for them to accept new and different things so we limited ourselves to understanding and learning from each other. There were six of them willing to join in for our pre-midwife skill training.
It was very exciting to come together and talk about different things. They were very interested to know what life meant to both of us and how we looked at their life style. Shreekala later shared with them how they can avoid a lot of deceases just by spending a few minutes to clean themselves and their surroundings.
After spending the day participating in a wedding and explaining what we want to do in Osla in front of a big gathering, we went around the village making month calendars for five women to be aware of their monthly period and to be on the safe side of not having many kids. In the evening we explained to the girls about the changes we go through, gender, hormones etc. The day finished with a garhwali song and the promise of coming back next day.
A very cold day and it snowed for one hour so all were indoors till mid day and off they went to collect more wood for next month of their traditional festivals and holidays. In the evening we were waiting for the girls to turn up in the panchayat hall and jumping, singing and smiling they all came. Cleanliness during the period times and various ways of having safe sexual relations were explained by Shreekala. We found that nearly all of the villagers were suffering from a bad cough and we tried to find the cause. Sreekala gave ten minutes for all to think why do they all have this and how can they get rid of it. The main reason given was the smoke and the water.
The ladies started gathering a bit early and they came to pick us up from the house we were staying in. Talking to them helped us realising that it is not as if they are unaware of their rights but they need a little support and knowledge to speak out. A few of them asked us to teach them knitting, but the final decision will be made at a later stage.
I hope you all liked going through this brief report and will interrupt me this time with your valuable ideas.
Here are a few things I would like to share with you all:
- The women of Osla are willing to learn but it will take more time and hard work to be able to get the ideas off their head. They are still very busy collecting wood and fodder for the next two, three months.
- This health care workshop should be useful to all of them for the time being and those who want to be a professional midwife (which will be the lower caste women as they do this traditionally in Osla) and use the skill for their livelihood will need to undergo training with more experienced people along with doctor for longer period in order to be trusted by the villagers.
- The young ladies were more interested and involved so now it is up to them to decide the next step towards the empowerment, capacity building and development programme for them and also convince us.
- We have informed the district head of the Primary schools about the fact that the village school is rarely open. He agreed to check that at his level.
Soon I will send you the details of expenditure made so you get the fund status of the project.
I look forward to hearing from you and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
With thanks and regards,
15 December 2004
Report September 2004
Dear friends of Osla
I am very happy to inform you about my trip to osla, and I would
like to thank you very much for giving me such a wonderful opportunity …
The road is not good at the moment and you have to walk from
Sankri up to Osla. I went together with my father which was
good and very helpful.
We spent two days in the village and had a great experience.
Here are few things which I would like to share.
1- For sure we will have to start with daily and very basic
hygienic issues. Such as brushing teeth, clean hands, nails,
regular bath, cleaning their house.
2- To really understand the people and tell if they are interested
or not we have spend more time doing practical work.
3- Health is the biggest concern cause on the way to the village
lots of Women asked for medicine. (Headache, toothache, stomach-ache
4- By now the idea of us giving them money is half gone and
I am sure will go when we start working with them.
5- Right now they are busy collecting wood, fodder and food
for the winter so we are yet to decide the dates of the midwife
6- we have manage to get hold of a lady who will be informing
us about the happenings of the village through letters every
month as agreed.
I am looking forward and will be very happy for everyone to
make me aware of their suggestions and comments, to make it
with thanks and regards,