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From Sorrow to Solace

“My son wouldn’t tell me why he left the village. I was left with a little knowledge of him telling me that he was going to study in Kathmandu for he found someone who was willing to sponsor his education fees. After he left, he called me once to ask for money to pay his rent. But that is the only conversation I had with my son in a long time.  

Lal Subha Ghale from Barpak Village in Gorkha stands in front of her toilet provided by CARE with the support from NPJR

I had made peace with my life after my in - laws and my husband died. When my son left the village, I thought, nothing could be worse than not having your child around you. No other suffering can be shoddier than this. 

But, I was wrong, says Lal Subha Ghale – 49 from Barpak Village in Gorkha District.  

Despite of all the hardships I had faced in the past, I had never thought I would have lost my house in the earthquake. Along with my house, I lost my clothes, and utensils in which I made local wine to earn a decent living. I didn’t have a place to defecate when nature called as my toilet was destroyed too. This caused a severe stress, especially to a signal middle aged female like me.

The first few weeks after the earthquake were very difficult. I had to live inside a tent along with my neighbors with lack of privacy. Mornings were particularly difficult as most of the toilets were destroyed and we had to wait in long queues to take our turns.

Fortunately, there were two government toilets which were not destroyed because of its structural base of concrete. One morning I had severe pain in my stomach, and I ran towards the government toilet, but there must have been some hundred people who were in a queue to use the toilet. The foul smell of the toilet could be felt from distant.

I waited in line for almost two hours for my turn. When I entered inside, I felt nauseated because of the odor. I covered my nose with the scarf that I had and tried finishing my chore as quickly as I could. This was my regular routine for almost one month after the earthquake.

I kept wondering how my life turned upside down and how I had to struggle for basic things that I had always taken for granted. I desperately wanted to break out of this misery as I knew my life cannot keep running under these circumstances. No matter how much I tried, I felt helpless for I was a lonely woman and I did not have anybody around me as a family or a friend.  

After nearly a month, we started receiving support from different agencies; my cousin helped me construct a house from iron sheets in their land. Additionally, I received support from CARE to construct toilet.

Due to the unhygienic status of the toilet, I was started to get worried that I would fall victim to contagious diseases. Gladly, I do not have to worry about it anymore. It is such a relief to break free from the foul smell. Additionally, I have learned the importance of keeping the surroundings clean, as it prevents us from different forms of communicable diseases”, says Subha.

Our community is very thankful to CARE for helping us keep our surrounding clean. I think proper management of toilets has prevented disease outbreak in our community as people are not compelled to defecate in open.

This toilet is being used by my neighbor as well. I urge them to clean the toilet after they use it and explain them about the importance of proper sanitation, says Subha. 

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