Group back from Nepal aid mission

HELPING HAND: Geraldine Tramping Club members work on a project to provide clean water.
HELPING HAND: Geraldine Tramping Club members work on a project to provide clean water.

A small Nepalese village is another step closer to better living thanks to the Geraldine Tramping Group.

The group has returned from its latest visit to the village of Damar where it continued its humanitarian project to improve the region's living conditions.

Ten participants spent two days trekking into the village where they installed a water tank. Initially, the aim was to provide solar lighting throughout homes, a continuing initiative.

For health professional Marg Stocker, it was the third trip she had made to the village. Her focus has been to provide first aid and to improve hygiene.

George Hunter, who also travelled with the group, said the focus of this trip was to help install a water tank so residents could access clean water.

"Clean water is an aid to good health," he said.

Mrs Stocker said health issues this time round, particularly skin complaints, were not as bad as they had been in the past.

"But we dealt with a lot of stomach complaints, eyes, ears and teeth. We also had a day where we de-nitted the children. We washed their hair and had a solution we placed in their hair and gave them clean clothing."

The children were also treated for worms, and adults with eye problems were given magnifying glasses.

"[Eyes] will be something we will work on in the future so if people have glasses out there that they would like to contribute - it's more they just need them for general reading," Mrs Stocker said. The group also treated one man who needed a tooth removed. A girl who had been treated by the group during an earlier visit after she impaled her foot with bamboo, was apparently doing well, Mrs Stocker said.

The group, made up of health professionals, farmers and a skifield manager from around Canterbury, travelled with 100kg of clothing, which was given to the residents.

A former Canterbury resident now living in Scotland also joined the team this time round.

Before returning home, the group spoke to staff at Phaplu Hospital to establish possible future projects.

"We talked of our commitment in the future to setting up a health facility in terms of maybe a health post, or possibly a mobile unit."

The group has also established a trust called Forgotten Sherpas of Nepal.

The Timaru Herald