Nagaland: Unsung heroes of Hornbill Festival tell their tales - Eastern Mirror
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Nagaland: Unsung heroes of Hornbill Festival tell their tales

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By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Dec 10, 2022 11:55 pm
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Women loading garbage on a pick-up truck during the annual Hornbill Festival in Kisama.

Our Correspondent

Kisama, Dec. 10 (EMN): Even as the annual Hornbill Festival 2022 comes to a close after 10 days of colour-filled activities with clean ambience, the vicinity would wear a different look if not for those unsung heroes, who have to brave the freezing Kisama cold to keep the main arena and its surrounding areas clean every morning before the arrival of visitors.

Eastern Mirror reached out to two such groups, namely Kigwema and Phesama villagers, who have been keeping the place clean since the festival began earlier this month.

Diethovino from Phesama shared that workers (mostly mothers) from Phesama and Kigwema village would come every morning to clean Kisama from December 1 to 10 during the Hornbill festival. Phesama group would clean the main arena and its surroundings, while Kigwema group would clean in and around Children’s Park and amphitheater.

A 53-year-old Neilavono Kar from Phesama village shared that they woke up as early as four in the morning and reached the venue around 4:30 am to begin their work. Their work involved sweeping the main arena and roads, picking up thrashes, loading them in a bolero pick-up and throwing them in the dumping site located near the parking lot all by themselves.

“We came across a lot of trash like drinking bottles, empty beer cans, a lot of vomit, waste foods etc. Sometimes it is disgusting but we had to clean them anyway in order to feed our stomach and our family,” said Kar, who is a cultivator.

“It is hard to get daily wage work these days. They asked the department of Tourism to give the opportunity to clean the vicinity and earn some amount during the Hornbill festival,” she said while appreciating the Tourism department for the privilege. She added that they clean the area in the morning and go back home to work in their own field during daytime.

Kar, who has two sons and three daughters, said that none of them is working in the government sector and she planned on paying her children’s school fees with the amount she earned from the work.

Teisovino Yano from Kigwema village said that it takes nearly an hour to walk from Kigwema village to Kisama. In order to be at work on time, they usually hire a vehicle costing INR 300 in the morning and return home walking.

‘Cleaning takes more time as we have to clean the children’s park as well this time around. By the time we finish cleaning and dumping the garbage, it is around 9 or 10 am. We reach home around 11 am and get tired to go to the field,’ she said.

She added that around eight of them used to come on a daily basis to clean the designated areas. She plans on investing the money earned for Christmas preparations.

The first thing for Medovito Yano from Kigwema village, who looked after one bathroom along with two of his fellows in Kisama, said they have to ensure availability of water.

“We are getting water from the PHED but sometimes faced with water shortage,” he said adding, “When there is shortage of water in the bathrooms, some people would complain saying that we are charging too much (INR 10 for urine and INR 20 for toilet) and that we shouldn’t even charge when there is no water.”

He was compelled to bring water from home (Kigwema) when faced with such situations. This time too, he brought it from home by paying INR 700 as vehicle charge.

Three of them earned around INR 2000 to INR 3000 in total per day.

Vitoli Yeptho from a differently-able organisation run by Viniu Group in Chekiye village shared that they are running a stall along with bathrooms for persons with disabilities.

She said that everything was good except for water scarcity.

“We get water (pipeline) for ten to 15 minutes in the morning. But it gets over after two to three people use it,” she said.

‘Some children (persons with disabilities) don’t know how to use water judiciously and would use it all up,” she said, adding that they had to buy water.

Tourist officer, Orenponi, said PHED provided water on a daily basis but still faced shortage as there are about 70 food stalls, offices, stalls, toilets etc. In addition, the water tank is 1 lakh capacity and takes time to fill up.

As for the washrooms, she said that it is run by the landowners. The Department of Tourism provides necessary materials for free and they return them after the festival.

The worker groups from Kigwema and Phesama come daily on roster basis. Per day they get a meagre amount for a few hours work, she added.

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By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Dec 10, 2022 11:55:55 pm