Mustang folk descend to warmer climes

Mustang, December 18:

Most of the villages in Mustang district bear a deserted look after the villagers padlocked their houses and descended to urban areas and cities to avoid cold and to sell their products.

Children and elderly persons are the only ones left back, who look after cattle and pets such as horses, mules and dogs in the villages. Some of the villagers, however, have descended with their cattle. The elders guard the households and occassionally clear the snow off the rooftops. Local schools have already been closed for winter. Maya Bista, a hotelier in the Upper Mustang, has left for Kathmandu to avoid the chilly winter back home, leaving the hotel in a waiter’s care.

Bishnu Gurung, another hotelier in Upper Mustang, said she would also be flying to Kathmandu shortly.

The winter in Mustang this year is not as cold as it used to be, but over 60 per cent of the people have already left their villages, Karsang Gurung, a Lomathang youth said.

Their agricultural yield does not sustain the lives of Mustang locals round the year, forcing them to migrate seasonally to different cities, including Kathmandu and Pokhara, and sell items such as Jimmu, Sidenun, needles, thread and clothes there. Some of them also go as far as India to sell their goods.

Anita Thakali, a health worker at Charang Health Post, is still in Mustang.

“As the elderly people suffer from different diseases like fever and pneumonia, we could not leave them,” she said. Having hot drinks and sitting around the fire is the daily routine of the

elderly persons in Mustang, where chilly breeze blows round the clock. Locals opt for toilet paper for lavatory use, as the water is so cold out there.