Kantidevi Malar, 40, looks out across her small farm where the top soil has been replaced by sand and boulders brought down by monsoon floods six months ago. The parts where she could plant are still water-logged.
Her husband’s family has been farming this small plot for generations, growing paddy, vegetables and wheat and sharing half the adhiya harvest with the landlord.
“What do I do now,” she says simply, gesturing at the devastation.
Ramchandra Mahato, 45, is a native of this part of Nepal in the plains bordering India, and faces a similar predicament. The floods covered his land under 3m of water, destroyed the standing crops and damaged his house.
Malar and Mahato are just two of the thousands of farming households who have been affected by the raging Ratu River in Mahottari district. The Ratu is not a river flowing down from Himalayan glaciers, nor was the flood this year and in past years caused by any extreme weather event.
The seasonal river that starts in the Chure Range has been mined for sand and boulders by contractors, so there is nothing to check the velocity of the water during the monsoon which overflows its banks and races across farmlands.
In a nearby village, 44-year-old Ganesh Sah also lost his newly-planted paddy. He planted it again, only for it to be washed away again and again.
“After the third replanting I ran out of seeds, and had to stop,” he tells us, sitting on the roadside with his chin in his palms to survey his field. “I will stop farming. It is just not worth it anymore.”