Saruli Interview

We recently reported about the destiny of the 12-year old and severely burned Saruli and her long-lasting treatment. Saruli has been back in the mountains with her family and friends since several months. Our Project-Manager Dikendra Dhakal visited her at her village to see how she is doing and how she feels. Since there was a great interest in her story, he used the opportunity to interview her in our little “mountain-office”, so that You can directly read, how she experienced the last few months and how she is doing today.

Saruli, nice meeting you again, how are you doing?

I’m doing fine. I don’t have any pain, do the exercise the doctor showed me on a daily basis and several times on a day I do cream up the burned areas of my skin with a special ointment. I also wear the prescribed special clothing, which shall help to prevent scar formation. The doctor calls them “compress garment”. I’m feeling good and I’m very happy, that due to the help of Back to Life e.V. I’m with my family again and that I am able to go to school. During my time in the hospital I always dreamed of coming back to my family and friends all healthy.

How is school doing?

School is a lot of fun. I’m going to the fourth grade and I’m very happy to meet my friends on a daily basis. The school is not that far away, just about 45 minutes. After the fifth grade I actually have to walk to a longer way because the secondary school is at another location. Right now my favourite classes are Mathematics and Sciences. I do like my classmates and the teacher, though I like the female teacher a little bit more. They are not as strict and they do have more understanding when we girls were not able to do the homework because we had to help with the household.

I often have to help my mother with the cooking, grinding spices or I have to wash the clothes of my family. Next to that I have to clean our little house and before I go to school I have to collect the water which we need for one day. The fountain is about 30 minutes away from our house and there is often a long queue so I have to wait for hours to be able to tap the needed amount of water.

My brothers do not have to do this work, since this is “women’s work” and therefore they do have more time to do their homework. I do not always have the time to do all the homework. Unfortunately I do also often miss out on Friday’s Sing- and Dance-Lessons because my parents find this unnecessary and they often send me to collect wood in the forest.
But I’m very happy that I’m able to go to school at all. My best friends are not able to go since their parents need them fulltime for the household and they have to help on the fields and they have to graze the cattle. When we are all together collecting the wood on Fridays we just make our own Sing- and Dance-Lesson in the forest, secretly and just for ourselves.

How much land and animals does your family have and what are you all living off?

We do have one cow and two oxen. Next to that we do have a little piece of land. This little piece of land does provide us only with that much food that we can live from it for about three months of a year. Then my father has to go to the surrounding villages to search for work, so that we can buy clothes and food. I do love my parents. Both do work very hard for our family. My father works in every free minute, cultivates rice, potatoes, corn and malt, but it is very difficult. Our field is right next to the forest and when there is actually something growing, the monkeys often come and eat it. Sometimes I have to protect the field from the monkeys for days by myself. I find this is often very scary.

What do you want to become when you are older?

The girls in my village do usually marry when they are still very young. Often they are just about 14 or 15 years old. I don’t want to marry that young. The life of a married woman is very tough. There is no time left to meet up with friends and a woman has a lot of concerns. The women do have a much heavier burden than the men. Men are free. They are doing whatever they want. The women do always have to work. I don’t want to get married before I’m 20 year old and I want to become a teacher or a nurse, so I’m able to earn my own money independently for my family.

In October of this year you probably have to go back to Kathmandu for further examinations. How do you feel when you think of this?

The last time I was so scared for my life and of the possibility that I was never seeing my family again, that I hardly noticed anything of the journey and especially the flight. Now I’m going to fly again in October or November and I hope that for this time, I will be able to enjoy the flight and the sight. And I do also know that the treatment is very important and I’m so glad, that I’m getting the possibility to get this treatment. It is still amazing for me that I’m doing so well though I had this terrible accident. Sometimes it feels like I’m dreaming and I do really appreciate, that I’m able to talk to you and be with my family. Therefore I’m not afraid of the treatment.
I’m also looking forward to October. It is the month when the Dashian festival is going on. It’s the only time of a year where we eat meat, everybody gets new clothes and we are celebrating with our relatives. Otherwise it is not possible for us to afford meat. But in some years, when my parents don’t have enough money to afford new clothes, we stay at home and don’t go to the festival. I really do hope that we are going to celebrate this year and that the treatment is going well.

But for me it is most important that I’m healthy and that I’m with my family. For this I want to say my deepest greetings and THANK YOU to all the people who helped me.