Schools closed as Yarsagumba collection season starts

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By Lokendra Joshi,Darchula, May 18: The schools in Apihimal Rural Municipality in Darchula district have been closed with the commencement of Yarsagumba (Chinese caterpillar fungi) harvesting season.

Following the departure of students from Apihimal Rural Municipality with their parents to the Himalayan region in search of Yarsagumba, the valuable medicinal herbs,  most schools in the rural municipality have been closed.

Madanraj Joshi, Technical Assistant of the Education Branch of the Apihimal Rural Municipality, said, "Schools are closed during this Yarsagumba harvesting season, and this break will be adjusted in winter and summer holidays. Students hardly attend schools in the Yarsagumba picking season even if the schools remain open."

This year, the School Management Committee has been granted the authority to decide whether to operate or give holidays during Yarsagumba collection season. 

The School Management Committee has decided to close the school only when Yarsagumba is available. He said most of the schools have been closed and the rest will also be closed by May 17.

There are 24 community schools in Apihimal Rural Municipality and the schools in the area will remain closed until May 28 as teachers, students, and parents are involved in Yarsagumba picking activities.

Students from other local levels have also abandoned their studies to venture into the mountains to collect the herbs. Local Bal Kumari Bohra said that most of the villages in Apihimal are now deserted. 

Yarsagumba is being collected in various Himalayan areas of Apihimal such as Lolu, Rokahapu, Ringdepani, Raunyad, Satganga, Chaimtela and Kalidhugan. The residents of Byas, Duhun, Marma, Naugad, and other regions of Darchula too have left for the Himalayan terrain in search of Yarsagumba.

The people of the Himalayas region manage their yearly expenses by selling Yarsagumba they collect over a month. Apart from children and the elderly, everyone in the village participates in the Yarsagumba collection, often bringing along food and other essential items while venturing into the mountains.

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