Our founder, Phil Borges, along with two Volunteer Production Assistants, Rachel Gray and Catherine Cussaguet, are currently in Nepal working with Resurge International. The organization does incredible work to provide free reconstructive surgeries for the poor and builds year-round medical access in underserved areas. We will post their stories throughout the coming week.
Written By Rachel Gray
Bisanti is a courageous twenty two year old mother from the Rolpa district in Nepal. Her eldest daughter Binita is four years old and is a very energetic child. Her youngest son Bishal is a year and half years old and sufferers from severe burns on his face, head, and hands. Since the accident Bisanti’s husband has abandoned their family, running off with another woman in India.
Cooking over an open flame is very common in Nepal, and in many developing countries. Women in rural villages often work in the fields harvesting for their families. Often the children are left to take care of themselves while their mothers are out working. When Bishal was eight months old he crawled into the cooking fire while his mother was out fetching water for the family.
When Bisanti came home to see her son in flames she was in total shock. She immediately scooped him up and rushed him to the nearest hospital, a six-hour journey by bus. They stayed at the hospital for one week and then returned home after little care had been provided. Bisanti was determined to get her son help. She sold a portion of her land for 100,000 rupees to be able to afford a bus ticket to Kathmandu, an eighteen-hour journey, and surgery for her son.
When they arrived in the city, the family lived at a brickyard in the foothills of the Kathmandu. We accompanied Bisanti and her children to the site for our first day of filming. Families who live there greeted us, and Bisanti reunited with old friends. Even though it was not the season for brick making, there were still women in the fields shoveling dirt. Bisanti gave us an example of what work was like, strapping a cloth around her forehead carrying heavy bricks on her back, with her baby strapped to her front. Bisanti worked in the brickyard in exchange for housing (a small brick shack), while her son was being operated on.
In addition to selling her land, Bisanti had to take out a huge loan to afford the initial surgeries performed on her son. These surgeries are very expensive and it was hard to find a surgeon who would operate on such a small child. Eventually, Bisanti found out about Dr. Shankar at the Kathmandu Model Hospital, who provides surgeries for burn victims free of charge with the help of ReSurge international. Dr. Shankar has done two surgeries on the child to repair his eyelid and done askin graft on his forehead. Bishal will need many more surgeries in the future.
Bisanti is a brave single mother. “There are not many brave people like her in this society. The society maintains its integrity because of people like her” (Dr. Shankar, Kathmandu Model Hospital). Bisanti explains that she will never abandon her children (like somemothers do in her case) and will always take care of them. She will send Bishal and Binita to school and expects them to have a good education.