5. Being healthy

The medical care available in the Suri of the late 1980s was quite basic, and many villagers preferred to consult the local faith healers or jhankris. This chapter records the role of jhankris, as witnessed on a number of past occasions. The current provision of medical services is also described.

A Kathmandu-based friend once advised me, “You cannot work in countries like this and let yourself get depressed by people in villages dying – however sad. The simple statistics mean that out of the people you get involved with, over 18 months some are bound to die”. Although these words seem harsh, they were nevertheless true. A number of people whom I knew in Suri did die – and they did so from medical problems that would not have killed them had they lived in the West or (probably) in Kathmandu…