Elderly Woman, Pottery Square, Bhaktapur, Nepal


An elderly Newar woman suffering from tuberculosis in Bhaktapur, Kathmandu Valley, Nepal.

I could see her hobbling along the cobblestone-and-brick streets of
Bhaktapur. Her vivid purple shalwar kameej stood in stark contrast to
the beige and ruddy hues of old-town Bhaktapur.

As we approached, she moved toward us slowly, carefully, her frail
body illustrating every ache and pain. Hunched and somewhat crippled
from age and a difficult life in Nepal, she only came up to my ribcage.
Clasping her hands in a begging position in front of her face, she
explained in a shrill voice through rotted teeth that she was suffering
from tuberculosis and had no money for food, let alone medical care.
"Please," she wailed, "please, sahib, please help me."

In Nepal in general, it is not customary to give money to beggars
unless they are physically or mentally incapable of helping themselves.
This kind old woman certainly feel into the acceptable donations
category, and thus I gave her what I could. It was but a financial
Band-Aid – she needed far more money than I had to ensure a healthy
life and a positive future. But, it was something, and hopefully that
night she was able to fill her belly and buy some medicine to help her
rest comfortably…

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