Ganeshmaya was feeding her cow when we arrived in her courtyard near about 3:00 p.m. As she heard us calling “Aama(mother)”, immediately she came out from the cow shed. She looked happy, and a genuine smile was running around her face. She gave us tools to take a seat; but we moved to see the shed.
“How much milk do you get form this cow?” we asked.
“I sell nine liters everyday” she replied with a live smile.
“ … and how much do you earn per month ?” I inquired.
“I sell Rs. 35 per liter. I’m illiterate. I don’t know the exact amount how much I earn. It’s enough for bread and butter”, she answered with her cheerful expressions.
We calculated her monthly income and told her that she earns eight thousand and one hundred rupees from selling the milk. No sooner she heard her income, the horizon of her happiness expanded and said, “I haven’t begged any penny for food, clothing and medicine for myself. It’s a great blessing of this cow to his old granny”.
This is the story of 72-year old Ganeshmaya Dannekhu of Changunarayan Municipality ward No. 17 Jhaukhel, Bhaktapur. The owner of single member family grandma is always optimistic to her life. Her husband passed away when she was 40; a childless old granny Ganeshmaya had been passing multiple ups and downs of her life for more than three decades. As we started talking about her husband, she started groaning.
She had to face a great challenge for living after the earthquake destroyed her home. She sheltered in the neighbor for some days. Anyway, she constructed a small hut for her; and she is still living in the same hut.
After her husband’s death, her days were passing. She had some land too. However, she could not be able to farm her land as she was getting old. Luckily, she had got the financial support from Nepal Red Cross Society under the Livelihood Program. She had collected a great courage after receiving 19 thousand Nepali rupees( about 190 USD) in total (9 thousand rupees in the first installment and 10 thousand in the second installment) as a cash support. She decided to buy a cow with the money and bought a cow in 35 thousand rupees. She had collected remaining fund on her own.
Proving the saying ‘the god supports them who work hard’, her cow gave birth to a calf before the three months. She had a milking cow and her days of happiness started.
Every day she wakes up 5 am. She cleans out the shed, feeds the cow and starts milking. Before half past 6, she arrives at the dairy – 20 minutes walking distance from her residence –for selling the milk. She is paid fortnightly. She is a role model for the villagers –who are much inspired by her hard work in the old age too. As a result of her hard work, some unfriendly people in the past also come to her resident and share their happiness and sadness with her.
She is very happy because nobody had excluded her being a single and childless woman; and hadn’t begged for any penny form anyone. She is grateful to Red Cross for providing a courage and giving a hand to generate income in the old age. Furthermore, she requested Red Cross to support other people suffering from the situation like hers.
After talking to her, we wanted to take a photo and request, “Can we take a photo please?” Immediately, she went to the shed near the cow and stood in the attractive pose with the big smile on her face.
Ganeshmaya is a real role model to prove ‘age does not fence the yard of labour and courage’.
(Prepared by trainee Laxmi Khanal and Roshan Darnal during a course of Writing Story)