Raji, Raute, and Chepangs were the last of the nomadic hunters and gatherer groups in Nepal Himalaya. Although a group of Raute are still living a nomadic life, Raji decided to settle down a few generations ago near Dailekh, in Far Western Nepal. In 1980s, a flood took away most of their homes and lands, forcing them to relocate. With the help of government, they have since settled down in a few villages in Terai. In this essay, we present our experience visiting the Raji communities in Nepal. Shot with GoPro Hero4 and Nikon D50
Interested in knowing how we collect samples? Watch this short time lapse video (30 seconds). In this video our team members are using a survey questionnaire to collect a variety of information from two participants from a Nepali indigenous community. During the interview, each participant is also collecting his own saliva samples in a plastic tube.
We filmed this video after a few hard days of work in Sarlahi district, which is in Southeast of Kathmandu. While Nepal is known for high mountains, ~50% of the Nepali population lives in the flat plains at the Himalayan foothills, known as Terai. Terai, also known as Madhes in Nepali is the breadbasket of Nepal and is home to several diverse Indo-European language communities. The oxen cart, known as bail gaada in Nepali, is a hallmark of Terai using which corn, rice, sugarcane, etc. are transported.
A narrow dusty road winding through the hills is the only way to get to this Chepang village. Two privately operated jeeps are the only means of connecting this village to the rest of the world.
Our research team was covered in dust during the three hour journey to this beautiful village.
Without irrigation, electricity, running water, and telephone, life in this Chepang village is hard, yet beautiful.