Captain Thakursing Gurung Gurkha Welfare Scheme Project Officer.
Each Area Welfare Centre is manned by an Area Welfare Officer who is always a retired Gurkha soldier who has a small handful of assistants. They have returned to the hills at the end of their service with a desire to give something back to those who have so gallantly gone before them. This is typical of a Welfare Officer's case notes.
In the morning Captain Thakursing treks through a monsoon down pour to a mountain village. He visits a school where two classrooms have lost their roofs in a storm and meets with village elders and school staff. He takes photographs of the damage and receives estimates for the repairs.
In the afternoon he meets with welfare pensioners, for a general catch-up, especially on their health and well being. Two have had their houses damaged in the storm. He stays overnight in the village.
In the morning Captain Thakursing treks to a nearby village to meet a widow whose house is in danger of being swept away in a landslide. The humidity makes the trek sweaty work. He tells her to sleep with neighbours, and to come to see him straight away if her house is damaged or lost. He will apply for a grant to get her house rebuilt on firmer ground.
A clean water project was completed in the village last winter. He meets with elders to ensure its maintenance and upkeep is going well.
In the afternoon he treks to a third village where he spends the night.
On Wednesday morning Captain Thakursing meets a man who has applied for a welfare pension, but like many veterans has lost the service record documents that would prove his eligibility. However he speaks to other veterans from the village who vouch for the man's identity and service record. He takes notes to prepare a case. Back at the Area Welfare Centre, he will cross reference the details against files and Regimental history.
In the afternoon, he treks back to the Area Welfare Centre, in preparation for pension day, which starts tomorrow.
Pension payment day is the busiest time at the Area Welfare Centre. In the morning a steady stream of pensioners arrive from near and far. Some have walked two days to get there whilst those older and more frail veterans have been carried from their village. Many meet old comrades or are accompanied by family members.
The money for all the pensions has been delivered from the local bank and securely held. It comes with a detailed ledger of every pension payment. This must match with the Area Welfare Centre's own ledger, and that, in turn must agree with every pensioner's pension book. Every penny will be accounted for in triplicate.
Just after lunch Captain Thakursing takes his place at his desk wearing freshly pressed trousers, a crisp shirt and his regimental tie. In an air of some formality, each pensioner or widow presents his or her pension book, makes his or her mark on the ledger with an inked thumb, and receives the vital Nepalese rupees that will provide sustenance and security for the next quarter.
Every job has its administrative days, and the Area Welfare Officer's is no different.
Before the ledger records from pension day are returned to HQ, Captain Thakursing prepares other documents to go with them. He writes up the emergency grant application for the school, reports back on the water project, prepares a grant case for the woman whose house is in jeopardy of landslide, and lays out the case for the identity of the old soldier who has lost his service record. All will go to the GWS HQ in Pokhara for careful consideration. His thoughts will turn to those soldiers and widows who have not appeared to collect their pension and he will get out to check up on them.
Captain Thakursing Gurung and his staff will plan how best to check up on the absentees and home deliver their welfare pensions if necessary.