An uninvited roommate and a growing sample size

Once again I am back at my little sanctuary in the village Sobru, by Okhaldhunga community hospital. I have just finished cleaning my room thoroughly. I have these rats on my tarpaulin and wood ceiling and I thought we had an agreement, I live down here and they live up there and we stay out of each other’s businesses. I was wrong… In her defense, she may have thought my room was permanently vacated. Anyway, when I came back last night, exhausted as usual and anticipating a good night’s sleep in my own (sort of…) bed, a rat had made my bed her new home. She had taken the liberty of pulling stuffing out of my cover and created a nice fluffy den under the covers. She had also made a brand new entrance to the room, though it is a bit on the small side for me.

It seems neither of us are too keen on having a roommate, the rat has stayed away all day and I have been guarding my territory, only leaving to eat. I have also closed off her new entrance. Not that there aren’t several alternative ways in. I am hoping she dislikes the smell of Dettol. I do, but prefer it to having rats in my bed. We shall see who wins the battle over the room.

My assistant and I have now completed interviewing in our third area. Unfortunately for me, though not for the children in that area, the prevalence of malnutrition was low. Very low compared to the other two areas and compared to Nepali data from the whole district. As my sample size is based on the prevalence of malnutrition this means I have to increase my sample size. Something I don’t really have time for as my visa expires on December 1st. Though I will come back in January, when I can get a new visa, if I have to. This has been way too much hard work to not see it through and get the data I need. I didn’t climb all these hills to end up with an underpowered study! No way.

There are so many new impressions when you see new ways of living and meet so many people. I must say I am deeply appreciative of all the choices I have been able to make in my life and will be able to make in the future. So many of us here in this world, especially women, have so few choices to make, so few options. If I were to pick one thing in my life I am grateful for it is the freedom to choose. I met this 20-year-old mother of two in an abusive relationship. Divorce is not an option as she would have nowhere to go, death is not an option as she does not want to leave her daughters behind. So this is pretty much it, this is her life. She is so young and yet her life is so settled, a life she did not choose. A hard life where she is beaten and mistreated. Her story is not unique.

Now two days of rest and then off again climbing more hills and meeting more families.

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