July 21-22, 2006:
Sajwaar is the largest village we visit in the Khandadarh panchayat. It has an approximate population of 800 and is the largest village in panchayat. We hike up from Ghiyagi, a distance of 10 km, to an elevation of approximately 9000 feet. Sajwaar lies in the shadow of Lambri Peak at 12,000 feet, surrounded by beautiful ridges the form the source of the Hirub nullah/stream.
There is a spectacular sunset and we pray for a break in the Monsoon rains. Padam Singh, who has done a great job organizing our trip, introduces to our hosts where we will spend the night. Other villagers arrive and want to know more of our plans and goals, which we explain. Dinner is a simple meal of dahl-chavel followed by local music and songs into the night.
The next day we set up in the village center. There is a large mandir/temple named after their Devta: Manu, the First Man in Hindu mythology. The clouds are low and beautiful, constantly sprinkling us with fine mist.
It is full, hectic morning with many children showing up with their parents or grandparents. We immunize approximately 70 children, continue our diet/nutrition survey of the children, and measure their weight & height.
Vitamin A & Zn supplements are given. Vaccinations include: MMR, BCG (for tuberculosis), Hepatitis B. AIDS Awareness literature is handed out.
SAHARAâ€™s Kala Jatha theater is very popular and the skits elicit a lot of laughter. Some of the older village men join in with dancing. At the end of the street theater, more music is performed. Villagers do the local Himachal Pradesh dance, called a Nati with members of out Health Mela team joining in to form a large circle dance. The mood is very joyous and festive and the dance seems very symbolic of our connection here, high in the mountains.
To add to the festive and auspicious moment, the village Devta, Manu, is brought into the plaza as we end our work.
The good weather holds as we descend the mountain to Ghiyagi. There we have an hour debrief meeting to assess the Health Mela activities and learn from the experience. Right after the meeting breaks up, a huge thunderstorm hitsâ€”the heaviest rains of the Monsoon! What a blessing to have hiked down under the sun.
Number of children vaccinated: 75
For My Himchal:
Padam Singh, Himmat Ram, Payson R. Stevens
For Jibhi Clinic/Lady Willingdon Hopsital:
Dr. Kaaren, Khanti, Kanta Devi, Robyn Rai (Health Assistants)
Volunteers: Sara Deane & Family (sister & father visiting from Canada)
For SAHARA: Kalajatha: Devinder/leader, Bubbly, Maya, Surma, Bitu,
Rajender Chauhan, Tek Singh