Ruth on being ‘birami’!

Ruth Webster in Nepal August 2019

Nottinghamshire YMCA is pleased to be sponsoring past employee Ruth Webster as she embarks on working as a Communication Advisor based in Kathmandu. Her work will improve the communication of the United Mission to Nepal, with their International partners, supporting projects that help the most poor, vulnerable and marginalised in Nepal.


Ruth shares her blog entry below…

Ruth in Nepal gut medicinesThis weekend I’ve had a funny tummy – again!  So that’s the most obvious part of life to write about. For the first 3 months I had no sickness or diarrhoea. People here were surprised and told me I would get ill sometime.  In month 4 I had giardia but knew the weird signs and took the medicine before it got as far as diarrhoea. Giardia is a parasite transmitted from contaminated water or food. Up to 20% of people in majority/ developing world countries can have ongoing infection from it. After that I was almost alright for a month or so. Then for most of August I’ve been not quite right, trying to avoid dairy (a complication from giardia) and had two lots of bad diarrhea a few weeks apart. Before I’d never have told you, but as it’s become so familiar for me now I don’t mind – sorry if you’re on a lunch break!

The fact that certain medicines are so cheap and readily available shows how common the problem is. For less than 10p you can get rehydration salts – at least 3 varieties; I know my favourite now!  Also for around 10p is the giardia medicine.  And you can easily visit a small hospital or clinic to get a stool test for less than £1 – I had just learnt the Nepali for it in my textbook before I needed to try it out! My tests showed nothing – kind of encouraging but doesn’t give you any answers. I eventually took some more giardia medicine again (sometimes it doesn’t fully disappear with one dose) and then saw a doctor who gave me probiotics. Still not improved, this week I took the worms medicine (also 10p) which we have to take every 6 months anyway.  I feel quite a lot better today although I think it could be a long time before I can eat a feast. Meanwhile I am grateful for a Nepali invention called chiura – beaten rice (see photo with medicines). You can eat it dry or I like to add warm water. Very welcome when you’re birami like me – a sick person!  Be glad you have clean tap water and good hygiene and sanitation in the UK!