Captain Dam in his new position as “governor” of Annapurna Gaupalika, Myagdi Region, invited GNE to return to conduct a full survey of nutrition knowledge and food security within his region. That survey could then serve as a progenitor for development of a targeted educational program consisting of best practices relating to nutrition, health and agricultural/veterinary practices for the region.
The GNE team of five persons consisted of 2 physicians, a veterinarian, a professor of agriculture and a local agricultural specialist. We were led by Narayan Bhandari, Captain Dam and his son Sunny. From Pokhara we went to Dana and then hiked to the villages of Lower Narchang, Upper Narchang, Poudwar, Shika, Histan and Kaphaldanda. Captain Dam arranged for us to meet with 20-30 villagers at each site. We split up into two teams on nutrition or agriculture assisted by our interpreters Sunny and Bhanu. We performed our surveys and shared our apps on the digital tablets. Topics of discussion included basic nutrition, health, agriculture, and animal husbandry.There were questions about new cash crops as well as plant and animal diseases.
The views along the Annapurna trek were spectacular, the trails challenging, the hospitality exquisite, the accommodations at times spartan and the friendship heartwarming.Captain Dam has invited GNE to develop new nutrition programs that encompasses health education for women, diabetes, hypertension, gardening, and cash crop development to improve the villager’s health and economic wellbeing. This is an exciting invitation, and has potential for considerable impact.
Marie also took the time to return to Botshipa, a village hard hit by the 2015 earthquake and the recipient of aid from GNE. The 2 room community-center we financed is in good repair, but perhaps underutilized. The grant of monies was used by the village to purchase goats that are doing well and now enhance food and economic security. The villager to whom GNE specifically gave a goat now now has a family of goats and "our" goat is pregnant again.
A group of 7 from Canada and the US went to Nepal in February, 2015: Marie, Doris, Joan, Laura, Neilann, Patti and Peter. We were joined by Gunjan, Shiva, Timilsina, Deepa and of course Narayan. The micronutrient study was over, but we toured the study sites and met with the community leaders. We discussed the importance of nutrition education and encouraged their efforts to lobby the government to allow importation of vitamins. It was a wild tour on every type of conveyance from horse to paraglider, to every corner of central Nepal from the Mustang to the Terai and with every mix of culture from rhododendron petal leis to OSU Beaver cheers. It was grand. Enjoy the slideshow.