Making momos with Stef Reid and Dr Indra

Stef with prosthetics
Stef Reid visits the prosthetics department at Anandaban Hospital

On her recent trip to Nepal to visit Anandaban Hospital, Paralympian Stef Reid spent time with staff including Anandaban’s Medical Director Dr Indra Napit and his family. Former Celebrity Masterchef contestant Stef had the chance to try her hand at Nepalese cooking at one of Dr Indra’s ‘momo parties’, where he gathers friends together to make momos before tucking into a delicious meal together. He’s provided us with his recipe, so now you can make them too. Why not hold your own momo party and let us know how you get on?

How to make momos

480g plain flour
1kg minced chicken
50g chopped fresh coriander
150g chopped onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and chilli powder to your taste
Non-stick cooking spray

1. Mix together the flour and 375ml water in a bowl. Knead the dough well until it is medium firm and flexible. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, mix together the chicken, coriander, onions, garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, lemon juice, salt and chilli powder (we use a tablespoon of salt and half a  teaspoon of chilli powder) in a bowl. Mix in 250ml water.

Kneading dough

3. To make the momo wrappers: break off a piece of dough weighing roughly 30g and roll into a ball. Place the ball on a flat surface and roll into a piece about three inches round with a rolling pin. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Rolling the dough
making wrappers
4. Spray a steamer pan with cooking spray.

5. Place a teaspoon of the chicken filling in the middle of a wrapper. Holding the wrapper in your left hand, use your right thumb and index finger to start pinching the edges of the wrapper together. Pinch and fold until the edges of the circle close up, then place the momo in the steamer pan. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

Adding filling
Uncooked momos
6. Fill the steamer pot half full with water and bring to a boil. Set the steamer pan with the momos on top of the pot and cover with a tight lid. Steam the momos for 15 minutes.

In the steamer
Cooked momos
7. Serve your hot momos with pickle (read on to find out how to make it) or another dip of your choice!

Stef Reid with finished momos

How to make pickle

500g tomatoes
250g sesame seeds
100g peanuts (fried)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and chilli powder to your taste

1. Boil the tomatoes until soft.

2. Fry the sesame seeds (be careful not to burn them).

3. Mix the tomatoes, sesame seeds and peanuts together and blend.

4. Heat the oil in a pan and add all the other ingredients – garlic, ginger, cumin powder, turmeric, lemon juice, salt, and chilli powder – to your tomato mixture. Add 125ml water and cook for about 15 minutes.

Stef Reid visited Anandaban Hospital to show her support for the Heal Nepal appeal. Until 27 April, the UK government will double your donations to Heal Nepal, meaning that every £1 donated will become £2, making twice the difference to find, cure and heal people affected by leprosy in Nepal. Give a gift to Heal Nepal today.

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Once abandoned, now thriving, Alina has found new hope at Anandaban Hospital

Alina, a patient at Anandaban Hospital in Nepal
Alina, a patient at Anandaban Hospital in Nepal

When you first meet Alina she seems just like any other 13-year-old girl, but her hands tell a different story.

She developed signs of leprosy at 10 years old, but was not given the correct treatment. This meant that she was not cured of the disease and that it began to affect her more severely, leading to clawed hands. The lack of sensation in her hands had led to Alina accidentally burning herself, causing infection and permanently damaged fingers.

Leprosy had also started to affect Alina’s eyes, putting her at risk of blindness as she became unable to blink away dust and dirt.

But her greatest pain, we found out, comes from being abandoned by her father. He left the family as soon as he found out she had leprosy and has not returned. Her mother works abroad and so Alina is cared for by her grandparents, the only other family she has.

Alina’s story of being rejected by someone so close to her is not unusual. There is a lot of stigma surrounding leprosy in Nepal and deep-seated fear of the disease means that so many patients at Anandaban Hospital, where Alina is receiving treatment, have had similar experiences.

Alina is having physiotherapy to help her regain use of her hands following reconstructive surgery.
Alina is having physiotherapy to help her regain use of her hands following reconstructive surgery.

The cure for leprosy, surgery and physiotherapy can provide physical healing and thanks to you, Alina has received the treatment she needs at Anandaban, undergoing surgery on her hands and eyes. But what’s just as important for people like Alina is experiencing emotional healing. While at the hospital, she has received loving care and support that has deeply touched her.

The staff there told us that Alina reminds them of a lotus flower. The flowers, native to Nepal, grow out of muddy waters, rising above the surface to bloom. Alina is determined to thrive, thanks to your generosity and the staff at Anandaban. Since the earthquake in Nepal, in 2015, patient numbers at the hospital have doubled to 40,000 a year, meaning that they are incredibly busy. But their passion for transforming lives remains.

“It is a real joy to see the happiness in the faces of leprosy patients after surgery,” said Dr Indra Napit, Medical Director.

A busy ward at Anandaban Hospital
A busy ward at Anandaban Hospital

There are many more people just like Alina who need help today. In 2017 there were more than 3,000 new cases of leprosy diagnosed in Nepal. At Anandaban, the country’s flagship leprosy hospital, people have the chance of regaining their mobility, freedom and dignity – and you have an amazing opportunity to help them.

Thanks to UK Aid Match, the UK government is doubling your gifts made to our Heal Nepal campaign before 27 April 2019. So a gift from you of £10 means that £20 will go towards helping to find, cure and heal people like Alina. This is a rare opportunity to make a huge difference to people affected by leprosy. Every gift from you will mean that more people can look forward to a more positive future thanks to dedicated staff at Anandaban Hospital.

Click here to give your gift, that will be doubled until 27 April. 

 

Mithu’s journey to a new life

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Mithu in 2013, as an inpatient at Anandaban Hospital, where she was treated for leprosy reaction.

When we met Mithu in 2013, it was four years since she had been diagnosed with leprosy and her journey to Anandaban Hospital had been a long and painful one.

Growing up in a very poor family in a remote area of Nepal, Mithu started work – as a cleaner in a hotel – at the age of 13. She had been working there for two years when she started to develop loss of feeling and swelling in her hands, which soon made her job difficult. The local health centre was not able to offer her any advice. Scared and not knowing who to turn to, Mithu was listening to the radio one day when she heard about a clinic in Surkhet District – and she decided to make the journey there in the hope of finding out what was wrong.

Travelling alone, it took Mithu three days to reach the clinic – two days of walking and a day’s bus journey. She didn’t tell her parents where she was going or what she thought was wrong with her. Then her worst fears were confirmed. Mithu was given multidrug therapy and sent away. She didn’t want to tell her parents about her leprosy, but in the end, she felt forced to. The signs of the disease had become visible – her nose had partially collapsed.

Because she had leprosy, Mithu was asked to leave her job at the hotel and had to return to her village. Once her neighbours found out about it, they began to stigmatise her.

“When I used the common tap or wash area, people would clean it before anyone else would use it. Sometimes I would not go out – I just stayed at home and cried.”

Mithu’s sister-in-law did not even want her in the family home and refused to let her touch her young son.

“Either Mithu leaves this house or I do. I will go home to my parents,” she told the family.

Mithu loved her nephew very much and was hurt that she couldn’t look after him any more. But she would not leave home and in the end, her sister-in-law made the decision to leave instead, only returning when Mithu became an inpatient at Anandaban. She was showing signs of leprosy reaction and was referred there for treatment in 2013.

At Anandaban, Mithu was diagnosed with severe leprosy reaction, which can cause intense pain, skin nodules, fever and nerve damage. It took more than a year to successfully treat the reaction and Mithu was scared about what the future could hold for her.

“At Anandaban I have made friends and have people to talk to. At home I will be alone,” she said. “While I have been away my sister has also been diagnosed with leprosy. I have cried a lot because I think it is my fault and that everyone will blame me. How much blame will I face at home when I go back? I don’t know what I will do.”

Mithu, who had never been to school, was learning to read and attending other education classes at Anandaban. She wasn’t sure what her future held but was reluctant to go back to her village due to the stigma she had faced, even though she missed her family.

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Mithu at Anandaban in 2016, where she now lives and works after finishing treatment.

Recently, we were thrilled to meet Mithu again and hear about the amazing transformation in her life since she first came to Anandaban. Now 22 and completely well, Mithu has had reconstructive surgery on her nose. She’s still living at the hospital, but this time as an employee, with her own home next to the self-care unit where patients learn to look after their leprosy-affected hands and feet.

“I clean, cut the grass, look after the animals and the garden,” she said. “I also help the patients with their self-care.”

Mithu shares her life at Anandaban with another person who has helped her find love and acceptance there – her husband. He is also affected by leprosy and has stayed on at the hospital following treatment to work at the self-care unit. They’ve been married for a year and Mithu smiled widely as she told us about their life together.

It’s clear that her time at the hospital has not only helped Mithu heal physically and emotionally, but has also given her a new purpose in life, new friends and much happiness. It’s what makes Anandaban Hospital such a special place – and why people like Mithu appreciate your support and prayers for The Leprosy Mission’s work in Nepal so much.

Find out more about the projects you support in Nepal.