slum area


Bestiary - Nug

A nug is a hairless, nearly blind creature that resembles a small pig.  These harmless, docile omnivores populate the underground tunnels of the dwarves, and are known to eat almost anything they find on the cavern floors, including insects, worms, and when the pickings are lean, limestone and simple metals. Their large snouts are excellent for digging in the shallow pools and mud pits they frequent, this practice led to the dwarven nickname of “mud splashers”. Nugs can also be found in Orzammar proper, on the tables of the poorer slum areas or even as a domesticated pet. 

I was sure before the Blight they were a whole lot more rare. Should ask a Warden about that, if killing Archdemons leaves nugs all over. And the poor things don’t seem built for anywhere. I mean, they feed on anything, but they blister in the desert and freeze in the snow, and they’re easier to track than your own arse. Everything eats them (except me, the hands put me off), yet they thrive. Randy bastards outpace every tooth and claw.

Anyway, my point is, the ones around the farm are so inbred, they’re five colors and can’t stop peeing. I’m selling them in the capital as “elusive eastern bunny-pigs.” What did Father say about idiots with deep pockets?

—Excerpt from the private letters of “Captain” Byrne, lap-nug dealer, produced in evidence after seven claims of Water Terrors and death following bites in the Garden District, 9:36

Focus groups discussions (FCDs)

Finaly the time to fulfill the next of my learning objectives came! 

This week we are having focus groups discussions on our program. There was a little struggle in the beginning and it seemed like it will not be organized at all. The reason for that was that the main facilitator of the interviews, who was a nepali student volunteer, dropped out without any replacement. I talked to my boss later and explained the importance and interest in doing these focus groups. She then agreed and asked my collegue to be the facilitator and found other two girls which were note takers.

The focus groups discussions are organized in slum area Sankhamol in order to evaluate the impact of our 5 years Urban Nutrition Project in this area.The target groups are mothers, adolescent girls and mothers in law. Similar focus groups were performed in other area earlier and therefore the questions for the discussions were ready. All started with the training of these two volunteers. Main goal was to give them basic knowledge of FGD and more detailed knowledge on how to correctly take notes during the discussions. The trainig was organized by my collegue Bonica and I contributed by giving a 10 minutes presentation on Introduction to FGD, its pros and cons. I made my presentation in English, however the rest of the training was in Nepali and there was no translation avaliable for me. This was a bit of dissapointment for me as I expected to learn more.

The training of the two volunteers lasted for 2 days. After that they were ready to become note takers during the focus groups discussions. I managed to translate the questions, which will be asked during the discussions, with a help of my collegue. The discussion guide of the facilitator included 17 questions in total with few subquestions on some of them. Here is the exmple of first 6 questions:

Altogether there were 3 focus group discussion sessions held. All the discussions were organized in child center, which is a kindergarden in this slum area. Our first group were mothers and also few adolescent girls. The session was organized in the morning when their kids were at school or mothers in law could take care of them so the mothers were able to attend. There were 13 women present and the discussion took about 1,5 hours.  It was led by Bonica the facilitator and two volunteer girls who were note taking. My role was mainly to observe again as all the talks were in Nepali language. I was focusing on the body language and dynamics of the discussions. 

Before the actual discussion started, everyone introduced herself and based on that my collegue could keep the track on the names and living place of the women participants. The discussion then started and at first the facilitator asked the first question to each participant indivdually. I noticed that this took some time until everyone answered. As I was explained later, this first step was neccessary to explore the nature of this group, who is shy to express and who seems to be dominant in this group. After that, the real discussion started. In the beginning I could see the women were a little bit shy to freely express their ideas and it required more support from the facilitator. After cca 20 minutes the boundaries were eliminated and discussion continued lively and everyone participated. Some of the mothers brought their children along and so my next responsibility was to entertain the kids in as most quiet way as possible…

The next day we continued with a group of 12 mothers in law. Mothers in law are dominant in nepali families and usually have different beliefs than the mothers themselves. Culturally, it is believed that mothers in law have greater knowledge and experience and therefore are right in many things. Mothers are affraid to fully express themselfs in the households or change their eating habits if it is not in accordance with the mother in law. Based on that we interviewed mothers separately so they can freely express their oppinions and feelings and we can see the real impact of our project. This would not be possible in the presence of mothers in law. At the same time, we had to interview mothers in law in order to get the picture on how their food practices are.

The third groups comprised of mothers again, but those mothers were from a different area within the slum. Overall it was a good experience to attend this focus group discussions and even as an observer compare the different performance, dynamics and participation in each group. It was challenging experience in the same time as I could not understand majority of the things that were said. At this point, the volunteers are translating their notes into English so I can at least see the answers later. Next step is to evaluate the answers and write a report with background information and impact evaluation of the project. I am looking forward to take part in this tasks in upcoming days.

i have so many feelings…

lofty structures built into trees, and squat little homes nestled into the edges of woodlands with big gardens, solar panels or a turbine

cities with apartments that have gardens on every rooftop - an urban canopy of trees with lights and lanterns 

green technology that allows advancements in robotics, engineering and mass transportation 

the medical industry working with more natural ways to cure disease and illness, prosthetics that are biodegradable but don’t lack the durability of steel

bright cultures and minds all working together towards a common goal…

the slums and low-income areas being littered with upcycled remnants of the “old world”

underground markets for plastics, gasoline, and oil and drugs that have terrifying side effects like death

it could be so easy to explore the darker side of solarpunk.

Growth monitoring

I had an opportunity to participate in a child growth monitoring session in Sankhamol slum area yesterday.

The growth monitoring sessions for children under 5 years of age are organized in this area regularly on every month basis. It is a part of plan of activities in Urban Nutrition Project, which was launched in this area for 5 years from 2011 to 2016. The main objectives of this project were: 

-to reduce child malnutrition(under -5 years)  by 25 percent from base line survey

- to increase nutrition – related knowledge, attitude and practice by 70 percent from baseline amongst  mothers and community health workers

This project phased out by 2017, however my internship organization (NPCS) continues to support these growth monitoring sessions. The sessions are organized by female community health volunteers, who were trained at NPCS, and Rita, my collegue, is also present at these sessions. The information about the date and time of growth monitoring is spread by the volunteers within a community. 

All started on Tuesday, when me and Rita left office at 3pm. We walked to the slum area and met the female community health volunteers Parbati and Jeni. We drunk a tea and mothers (including one father) with their children started to gather at 4pm. I was a little bit surprised about the location, where the growth monitoring took place. It was just on a door step of one of the houses, besides a busy and very dusty road. Sometimes it was difficult to hear what the volunteer or mothers say. But after a while I realized that these people are completely used to these conditions. Children are used to avoid the cars and there are no shouts of mothers, telling the child to stay on the side as that is how it would look like back at my home town.

When the children came, mothers were asked to take of their shoes, caps and jackets. Then the child was placed by the volunteer to weighting shorts and hanged on the weight. The volunteers know most of the children by their names and I could see the children were familiar with them. Everything run smoothly, only few kids were crying. I was mostly observing as we wanted to eliminate the stress for the children and measure their weight as fast as possible. 

Each measurment was recorder into the diary as well as to growth charts. The growth charts were brought by mothers, who received them on the first growth monitoring. The reason why mothers keep these growth chart is mainly for raising the awarness in mothers about the child growth. They can see themselves how the child is progressing and they are also encouraged to bring the chart along with them for each hospital visit or in case of growth monitoring in other location. Growth charts are aimed to provide overview of the child growth and are a useful tool in detecting the underweight in children. Nevertheless, the method how they are read is important. It is not possible to evaluate the growth from single measurement as this is not representative of her/his growth trend. Child should follow the shape of the trend line on the growth chart. The lower trend line represents -3SD which is severe underweight. 

Besides the growth monitoring seession, we are busy preparing 5 days Basic Nutrition Training, which will be organized by NPCS next week. It will be composed of presentations and practical sessions for participants, who come from different background. I will be involved in giving a presentation on Nutrition situatuion in Nepal. 

Moreover, the notes from Focus Group Discussion were finally translated to English, so I can start comparing the data with the initial FGD from the beginning of the project. My task is to write a report evaluating the impact of the project in the community. Thanks for reading!



Funny how I’ve been to SG for the 5th time yet there’s still a lot of places that are yet to be discovered. To wrap up my Singapore trip, I’m giving you a glimpse of my exquisite experience with this elegant boudoir — Antoinette, a quintessential Parisian pâtisserie that caters cake, pastry and fine food served with extravagance. It was a 5-minute walk from the hotel and I was quite shock when I spotted this place after discovering its neighbors are hawkers along Penhas road. Simply put, it’s like a beautiful house built in a slum area. 

Keep reading

PHILIPPINES, Manila : Residents pass water buckets to help extinguish a huge fire that razed a slum area overnight in Manila on January 1, 2016. Nearly 300 homes were destroyed in the early New Year’s Day fire, according to local media reports.    AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS

Milk teeth of Irish famine’s youngest victims reveal secrets of malnutrition

Tiny teeth of babies who died in the Irish famine in the 1840s, or soon afterwards when their parents moved to London in search of work, reveal they were the starving children of malnourished mothers – but the analysis may also help predict medical problems among contemporary children.

The remains, from a graveyard in Lukin Street, which in the 19th century was a slum area of Whitechapel in east London, and from the site of a workhouse in County Kilkenny in Ireland, showed the dead babies had higher nitrogen levels than found in the bones of children who survived infancy.

The levels fluctuated wildly among the dead babies, while they were comparatively stable among those who lived into childhood or adolescence. The findings overturn the previous belief that high nitrogen levels are generally an indicator of good nourishment – including a diet rich in fish among the Londoners.

“The point about these babies is that they died,” Julia Beaumont, of the Bradford University department of archaeological sciences, said. “Something else is obviously going on here.”

An Irish famine memorial in Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

PHILIPPINES, Manila : A general view shows houses destroyed by a huge fire in a slum area in Mandaluyong City, suburban Manila on November 26, 2015. A huge fire that swept through a crowded Manila shanty town has razed more than 800 homes, leaving thousands homeless after they were forced to flee for their lives from the towering flames, officials said on November 26. AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS                        

INDIA, Phillaur : An Indian girl © studies by candle light in a slum area without electric power in Phillaur, around 50 km from Jalandhar, on February 29, 2016. India’s government will work to ensure all the country’s villages have electricity within two years, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, as he presented the annual budget on February 29.  AFP PHOTO / SHAMMI MEHRA / AFP / SHAMMI MEHRA