National

Rautes did wash themselves, for Rs 200 each

- DURGALAL KC, PAKHAPANI (SALYAN)
Rautes did wash themselves, for Rs 200 each

Jun 5, 2012-

When Dr Sushil Koirala picked up the cause of teaching basic hygiene to the nomadic Raute community, he had not a faintest idea as to how these tribal people were loathe to the idea of taking a bath.

The Rautes living in the Pakhapani forest of Dhanbang VDC in Salyan flatly rejected his proposal to wash themselves. Dr Koirala then had to bribe them into bathing in a nearby stream. Only five community members agreed to the idea.

“I first offered them Rs 50 per person, but they were reluctant still. So we finally had a deal on Rs 200 each,” said Dr Koirala.

Ain Bahadur Shahi, a former tribal leader, had the first go at it and the other four followed suit. They were using soaps for the very first time.

After washing themselves, they all approved of the soap and asked the doctor if they could keep the remaining soap bars for themselves. They were also worried that their tribal chief would disapprove of them using a soap so they hid the bars under rocks for future use.

“If our chief sees us, he will not let us use the soap,” Shahi said. “Our people will not clean themselves without the permission of the chief.” Dr Koirala said he was happy that the Rautes agreed to wash themselves and use soaps regularly. “I know change is not going to happen overnight. It will take some time for them to get used to the idea of hygiene.”

He said that the community members did agree to brush their teeth and wash their clothes. Some female members of the committee reluctantly received combs and mirrors, while some male Rautes accepted shaving kits. They, however, shunned inoculating their children against polio and other diseases.

Dr Koriala, who has been supporting the health and development of Raute on his personal expenses, said the government must also come up with different health programmes and facilities for the community.

Published: 05-06-2012 08:14

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