At theJanuary meeting we were welcomed back after the Christmas and New Year celebrations. Judith Walker, our President, wished everyone a Very Happy 2013 and also reminded us that this year our WI will be celebrating it`s 80th Birthday. With this in mind the committee are organising one or two events. The first of these is proposed for Saturday April 20th and will take place in the Village Hall. On August 31st it is hoped to arrange an Arts and Crafts Exhibition also in the Village Hall. Both of these events will involve the whole village. Other news was that more volunteers are needed to help with Kidzclub , the after school activity. The recipe sharing and the book club both continue to enjoy support.
Our speaker for the evening was Heather Alford a physiotherapist who volunteered to work in a leprosy hospital in Nepal. Heather described the area where the hospital was situated as remote in the hills above Patan south of Katmandu. 60 years ago there was no cure for leprosy and victims were kept well away from the general population. Even today when great strides have been made to halt its spread there is still no outright cure and there is still a lot of superstition surrounding it. Katmandu is the capital of Nepal and is a busy ,colourful, modern city. The nepalese people who live around Patan have a very primitive existence. They are virtually self supporting. The women do most of the heavy work which includes tending and harvesting the rice which is their staple diet. They bear the children and are mostly responsible for their care and upbringing. They collect the wood for their wood fire ovens . They shop,cook and wash the clothes in the river. There is no gas or electricity. They sell what little produce they can to scrape together enough money to send their children to school. Amongst all this poverty leprosy is still prevalent and Heather related the story of a patient she treated called Mia. Mia was a young woman in her early twenties who, at the age of 18, had contracted leprosy. Although the desease had been halted Mia`s fingers were permanantly bent in towards the palm and , with the feeling all gone, she was unable to do very much. Over nearly 18months, with the help of Heather massaging the fingers to straighten them and then putting them into plaster the fingers were eventually normal looking and Mia was taught to use a sewing machine. She now earns a living working for a dressmaker. From a very depressed and withdrawn young girl of 18 she is now a confident and happy young woman. Heather Alford has fallen in love with the country and it`s people and has been back to visit her friends there and hopes to revisit in the future. A very enjoyable and informative talk well illustrated.
The next meeting is February 13th when our own member, Jacky Legge will be encouraging us to "Have a go!!!"