Shakha Ratna Rai, 61, was at Kathmandu Airport last month, waiting to return to the UK after a family visit. Like many army wives, she had left Nepal with her husband, former British Gurkha soldier Bal Bahadur Rai, 78.
The Rais feel more at home in Nepal, but were attracted to stay in the UK because of the monthly allowance, free medical facilities, house rent, and even an extra heating allowance for the winter for ex-Gurkhas – but most of all it is the free health care.
Rana Bahadur Thakali, 76, and Krishna Sherchan, 65, have been living in the UK for four years now, and are happy they came here. “If I was in Nepal I would have suffered or even died by now,” says Thakali who has hypertension and thyroid problems. Sherchan shows a drawer full of medicines she and her husband have to take.