With Nepalese in Malawi

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Cycling from Karonga to Lilongwe, I saw maize fields in both sides of the road, which reminded me of my own village in the hills of Nepal, where maize is the main staple. I don’t know the situation here but in Nepal, farming is no longer an attractive profession. Now the new generation rather enjoys going to Saudi, Qatar and Dubai for a few thousand a month.

Not only in Nepal but also many other countries like Malawi, farming not only gives food for the family but also provides a source of living for the rural people. If trees are planted around the farmland, they help reduce the erosion and landslide. If farming is done properly it keeps families out of hunger and keeps children away from malnutrition. When the families and communities are free from poverty, hunger and malnutrition, the families and communities always live in peace and harmony
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Like my grandfather and my father, there are some professionals, who always emphasize the importance of farming and keeping livestock not only for making the families and communities wealthy but also making families, communities healthy and well nourished. They advocate for more resources from the governments and donors for improving the living standard of farmers I found one person helping government for making agriculture more nutrition friendly, promoting use of nutritious food and livestock for consumption and creating awareness among the farmers on farming so that malnutrition can be prevented. It is always, a pleasure to meet such people, and when it is a countryman, it is indeed, a delight. I had a wonderful opportunity to meet Mr. Purna Chandra Wasti, who works for Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Lilongwe, Malawi, with whom; I spent a week in Lilongwe.

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After 711 km of cycling and 10 days, I decided to keep my weary legs at rest in the Golden Peacock Lodge, from where I was lucky to get number of a Nepali residing in Malawi for last 8 years- Kapil Koirala. I had not expected any Nepalese in Malawi. I was totally amazed and amused to know that more than 15 Nepalese are living in Lilongwe.

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It was a delight to be acquainted with some more fellow-men and women working as Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) Volunteers through Dr. Dinesh Kafle (also a Nepali), Optometrist by profession at Malawi College of Health Sciences during a dinner at his place.

I did a double take when I heard Jonathan- a British citizen, speaking fluent Nepali. It was a wonderful 3 days stay with Jonathan and Asha Karki, who is a Nepali married to Jonathan.

I almost forgot my family during the four days stay with Mr. Purna Chandra Wasti’s family. The 4 days I spent with Mr. Wasti, his wife Chijan Bhattarai and daughter Purnika was one of the memorable moments for lifetime. I am grateful to Mr. Wasti as he helped me meeting with dignitaries in Malawi.

Obliviously, it was a gloomy moment, to be departed. Before which, Mr. Wasti handed me an envelope with some money inside supporting my cause to promulgate awareness on world peace, harmony and environment protection. He also provided some charity for wheelchairs to disabled in Nepal. Little Purnika was happy as Larry when I gifted her khada, which, made my day. The moment, when I was served with Sagun-yogurt by Minu Gautam Mangecha (a Nepali married to British Malawian) together with other Nepalese at Riverside Hotel, reminded me of my days with parents in Nepal. Yogurt, in our culture, is believed to be a symbol of good wish and good luck.

Peace and Harmony

Furtemba Sherpa

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