Day 90 – Location: Karmidanda Village, Langtang Region; Nepal
Another cold night. In the morning Jhabraj’s sister-in-law arrived to collect me, a funny, loud but good-natured woman who’d been nagging me for a while to come and harvest millet with her. She only speaks a few words of English. I agreed to join her today and so we set off with two other women up a steep path to some terraced fields where we began working.
With four of us at work we were clearing pretty quickly, emptying a field in a few hours. All the ladies smoked. Jhabraj’s mother (Ama) arrived to help. After a few hours the sister-in-law’s son brought us a sari used as a sack for a vast amount of popcorn! Huzzah! We stuffed our faces and after devouring a pile I couldn’t eat any more, despite them trying to force-feed me more! I left after 4 hours work when we’d cleared a few fields.
The rest of the day was chilled out. I watched the goat kids becoming more and more adventurous. They were getting brave enough now to venture quite far from the house, but would dash back at the first sign of trouble. The male one, Hump, enjoyed using me as a trampoline when I was lying on the bank. He isn’t the brightest and likes to nibble at your fingers. But if he gets his back teeth gripped on them it’s a whole world of pain – Sophie has the scar to prove it!
Saturday. Jhabraj and a contigent of his friends arrived in the yard carrying big bales of hay, which they stacked into a storey-high pyramid. He’d had to buy it for the dry season to feed the animals, although it is quite expensive the pay-off is he gets milk every day and can sell the animals when he needs to.
We all relaxed in the yard after lunch. I started to get a churning stomach. Whilst me and Sophie were sat out in the sun the guy who had been in trouble for not feeding his dad appeared. As usual he looked out of place with his camo clothes and shades. He was wasted and slurred away to us for a while trying to explain something about being a trekking guide. Awijit reminded us he’s an alcoholic and said he had been drinking since 5am!
My stomach was feeling worse in the evening. Jhabraj had some friends round. One had a big wooden pipe like a small shisha. The smell from it was terrible. I need to find out what they were smoking! I turned in early, feeling awful. Jhabraj came up to check my temperature and pulse, I didn’t have a fever and my pulse was normal so we guessed it might be food poisoning, perhaps from the home-made yogurt we’d had at lunch, but no-one else had problems from eating the same food I’d had today.
The night was hell. My stomach got a lot worse, churning horribly and I got pains as well. Although I felt like I wanted to vomit, I couldn’t. I tossed and turned, the minutes passing seeming like hours. I barely slept a wink. It’s the most ill I have felt since getting heat exhaustion when I was 18. After 12 hours of suffering, I came downstairs. I’d been drinking water all night. I managed to go to the toilet to be greeted with dioreahh. Jhabraj was concerned. Sophie said the symptoms were of bacteria in the stomach and the best thing to do would be to drink lots of water and wait for it to get out of my system. She recommended chamomile tea to help my stomach, so Januka made me one. I couldn’t even think about eating anything, and this is me we’re talking about!
It was Awijit’s 15th birthday but they aren’t usually celebrated in Nepal, and disappointingly he didn’t want me to buy him alcohol, cigarettes or chocolate! I spent the morning in a haze of pain. I suddenly knew I had to be sick and violently threw up in the bucket. For a short while I felt less bad. Unfortunately it returned just as bad, accompanied by very painful stomach cramps. I felt very weak. Januka was kind and kept offering me things, but all I could do was thank her and lie around, reading for a distraction. Bouts of dioreahh kept me close to the toilet. Around midday I was violently sick puking up a mighty 2 litres!
The afternoon passed slowly but it started to get a bit better. Sophie said the colour was returning to my face. By the evening it was definitely improving although I still felt bad. In the late evening we had a visitor. It was the drunken teacher who’d entertained us on the night I’d smoked too much ganja. He was exactly like the last time, very drunk and chatting away enthusiastically about random things. He kept calling Jhabraj “Jabba” which me and Sophie found very funny! Eventually Jhabraj managed to get rid of him and he waddled off into the night. I went up to bed but couldn’t sleep because of my stomach. But, after a few episodes of Dexter I managed to nod off and got a few hours sleep, thank god!