I arrived in Nepal after a couple of weeks in Tibet. Contrary to the peaceful meditative lifestyle in Tibet, I was greeted by intense chaos, colors and noise. Children fluttered around insisting on carrying my luggage. A welcomed voice broke through the motion of people, “Hello, my name is Probin. Welcome to Nepal. Come this way to our bus.”
Breaking through the sea of children, we were seated on the bus while our luggage was being tied on the top. A few children and men jumped on to the roof of the bus at the last minute hoping for a free ride down the mountain. As the bus started moving, I had a chance to talk with Probin about life in Nepal.
In between military checkpoints searching for Maoists, I asked Probin about AIDS in Nepal. Without any hesitation, he responded, “Oh, we have a terrible human trafficking problem.”
So, this was my answer to the AIDS problem in Nepal. As we discussed poverty and health issues in Nepal – we arrived to the crucial question about condoms. Yes, I even asked Probin about condom use in Nepal. He chuckled and told me the following story.
Many non-profits would go to this village and teach the same people over and over again the use of the condom. For instructional purposes, each non-profit educator would arrive, select a broom to demonstrate, give a presentation to the villagers and then leave. The following year a non-profit educator returned to research how well the previous year’s instructions had been followed.
When asked, the villagers would say they were faithful to using a condom every time. They followed exactly what the educator before had instructed. The villager went on to explain that before sexual relations, they would put a condom on a broom top (just like what the educator had done), put the broom outside the front door and then after sexual relations take the broom in. The birth rate really had not changed and it certainly had not declined. But, AIDS….?
However, Probin went on to say that condoms are more readily available now and are even put on the shelves where the cigarettes are located.