Meet Prem Magar - a very important member of our team.
Prem is 36 years old and after three years of school he started work in a rice mill.
Rice mills are extremely hard physical work with a less than stellar safety record. It was not guaranteed work and he only got paid when they needed some extra muscle. He filled in by dish washing in people’s houses.
Prem married Sita and came to us looking for some extra work on one of our then only two sewing machines. That was 18 years ago and he worked hard and has worked his way up. He is honest and hard working and he is now the workshop manager and looks after just about everything and everybody, including putting me on the wrong buses. Thanks Prem – I’ll get you back for that one!
Prem has always been a very important part of the business which has supported him and his family far beyond his normal salary, including buying him a plot of land in his home village. We started by buying him a bicycle so that he could go and get spares for the machines, then a motor bike and now he uses the company van for business and private use. We have built him a small house on the workshop site and we pay for his services (electric, water etc.), a lot of his clothing and if he needs extra money, he just asks for it. He also has a company life insurance policy – something very rare in Nepal. Prem and Sita have a son, Prashant, who is 12 years old and Black Yak pays for him to go to an English medium school.
In a thinly veiled attempt to create some work and look busy when we come around with a camera he has obviously quite needlessly taken apart a perfectly good machine and decided to lay out the innards on the table. I am guessing that he still has some of the extra parts in his pocket. Why do machine manufacturers always put in those extra parts?
Looking highly amused in the background is Prem’s wife Sita. Sita has a nice little side line in selling scrap metal that she finds in trouser pockets.