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. 

 

From fear and desperation to hope for the future in Nepal

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Surroundings of Anandaban Hospital. Photo: Tom Bradley

Laura Stopczynski shares her experiences of visiting Leprosy Mission projects in Nepal.

Nepal is a breathtakingly beautiful country. Despite the devastation of the earthquake two years ago, it’s also a very resilient country, with an incredible testimony of survival through great hardship. I don’t think I could have fully prepared myself for what I was about to encounter there.

There is not one word which can describe my trip to Nepal. Meeting people affected by leprosy and seeing the Mission’s work for the first time was quite an overwhelming, burdening and sad experience, yet at each hospital that I visited, I saw an outpouring of God’s love and the hope of Jesus and realised that being part of the Leprosy Mission family means we are all helping to transform the lives of people affected by leprosy, in many different ways.

But I also felt overwhelmed by the amount of desperation and need. I wasn’t sure how to process everything. Over and over again, I kept thinking about what was next for these people? What was their future going to be like? What will happen to them? It’s hard, knowing that ultimately there is no ‘quick fix’ for people whose lives are so affected by disability and poverty.

Despite this, I repeatedly saw the staff interact with each and every patient, showing them kindness, love, support and ultimately hope through their actions. It showed me that whatever role we have, whatever we are doing, if we act with love; genuine and integral love – we can make a lasting difference.

There are many stories which I could share about my trip but one in particular has stuck with me. I would like to tell you about meeting Suman.

I met Suman when I was in Surkhet, a beautiful and peaceful place. The clinic there is relatively small but is a safe haven and beacon of hope for so many in the rural western parts of Nepal.

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Suman at the Surkhet clinic, where he receives ulcer treatment

Despite the huge cast on his foot and his struggle to walk, Suman had so much energy about him. He had the biggest smile on his face and was quick to make me smile too.

It was obvious to see his joy and comfort from being at the clinic, especially when he saw counsellor Gyann Gurrang.  It was wonderful to see their undeniable friendship and the strong bond between them.

Gyann is so invested in his patients and my admiration for him is unbelievable. His role is to listen to patients day in and day out, trying to help them deal with the mental and emotional pain of having leprosy. It takes a lot of inner strength to carry those burdens.

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Gyann, the clinic counsellor

Suman’s leprosy journey began when he first noticed a loss of feeling in his hands and feet and then also discoloured patches on his back. A devout Hindu, he was terrified that he had done something to upset the Gods. He was so afraid that he went to a local healer straight away. When his patches didn’t disappear and his loss of sensation only grew worse, he was in complete desperation.

“Why have the Gods done this to me, what have I done to deserve this?” he remembered thinking.

After confiding in his uncle, who directed him to the clinic to get help, Suman was diagnosed with leprosy at 50 years old. To his amazement, the doctor explained to him that the disease is curable, totally changing Suman’s outlook on what was happening to him. He started to take multidrug therapy and was soon cured.

However, Suman’s story didn’t end there. He has been in and out of the Surkhet clinic for the past 11 years, suffering with recurring ulcers, a common side effect of leprosy. Even though he has disabled hands and feet, he still has to provide for his family. As a manual labourer, he has little time to rest and little chance for his wounds to heal. Sadly, this is the case for a lot of people who are affected by leprosy. The need to earn a living and provide for their families has to take precedence over recuperation.

When I asked Suman about his future and what he hoped to do, he got very excited. His eyes widened and I could tell he was extremely pleased to tell me this part of his story. He explained he has been provided with five goats and that he has sold some and made a profit, but will rear the others and sell their milk.

It was just so wonderful to hear him so proud of what he was achieving despite his struggles.

Suman’s life has been transformed, from being full of fear and desperation, to healing, joy and excitement about what the future holds. This wouldn’t have been possible without your support. We are all playing our part to help Suman and so many others like him.