THE CULTURAL AND GEOGRAPHICAL CONTEXT
In the neighbourhood of Amitabha Monastery
View from AmItabha Monastery to the valley of Kathmandu
The area around Druk Amitabha Mountain consists of a series of valleys extending north west from Kathmandu.
The approximately 750,000 inhabitants of this area are farmers who have lived and toiled there for generations. Yet, their income neither covers the price of the infrastructures, available in the Kathmandu valley, nor the expenses necessary for the transport to the hospital. When sick, they generally seek help from a traditional Shaman (healer) in exchange for a chicken or similar item. However, in severe cases, this kind of treatment is insufficient.
The elderly are carried in baskets by
their relatives. For hours or days, their families climb the steep mountains.
There is often no direct access to this region which has only steep walking tracks leading from village to village.
Baskets to carry sick and elderly people as well as stones, cement bricks and wood
Walking tracks leading from village to village
Villages are often linked by bridges
There is often no direct access this region which has steep walking tracks leading from village to village before reaching the nearest road. From there they can travel to Kathmandu. During the rainy season, it becomes nearly impossible with the torrential rain causing dangerous walking conditions.
For those who are in good health and if the weather
conditions are good he walk from the Monastery to the
main road takes another ¾ to 1 hr. Upon reaching the
road they have to take a motorized transport which is often
a taxi if their physical condition doesn’t allow them to get
on an overcrowded bus.One way costs more than a worker
earns a day. A return to a hospital is a costly financial
burden that a farmer can rarely afford. Families put
their savings together and work to pay the expenses
In 2012 I saw women crushing stones for US 75ct a day
while 1kg grapes cost US 1,50, and 1kg apples US 1.50
Marie-Josée de Quevedo, Director
Women and men breaking stones, but women almost only carry the heavy baskets.