Like Festival Time
Like Festival Time
Many Nepali families are subsistence farmers, always living on the edge of absolute poverty. A poor season, an illness, even a family wedding can tip them over the edge, forcing them into the rapacious hands of money-lenders, or sending young men off to overseas countries to work for meager wages in appalling conditions. 
Families like these, living hand-to-mouth at the best of times, suffer most at times of disaster. 
Amika Chepang’s hard-working family used to scrape a living by working for daily wages to supplement the food they could grow on their own small plot – enough for less than half the year. There are nine of them – Amika and her husband Lal Bahadur, one daughter and three sons, the eldest son’s wife and two daughters, so it was always challenging to provide daily food. 
Like many women in Mahadevsthan, Amika had joined a self-reliant group, facilitated by UMN’s partner Prayas Nepal. She received a goat from the group, and has dreams of earning more income through goat raising. Fortunately, Amika and all her family survived the April 25 earthquake, as they were all out in the fields working. The goat survived too! Their house, however, didn’t. It is completely flattened, and all nine of them are sheltering under a tarpaulin provided by UMN as part of a relief package. This is great for now, but Amika and Lal Bahadur are worried about what will happen when the rains come. They will have to work hard to clear up the rubble and build a better shelter. 
Ambika is delighted with the emergency food supplies they have received from UMN – two 25 kg bags of rice, lentils, sugar, tea, salt, oil and spices. She hasn’t had that much food stocked up in a long time. For a family that relies on daily work for daily food, this will relieve some of the pressure and give them time to build a more rain-proof temporary dwelling. 
“It’s like festival time,” says Ambika, “but without the meat!”

A ramshackle collection of bamboo, tin and tarpaulin is now home for nine people.

Ambika signs for her family’s emergency supplies.

These emergency supplies will give the family time to built a more rain-proof shelter before the monsoon.

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