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Travels in Nepal

Build Day 2: digging, digging, digging

NEPAL | Thursday, 16 November 2017 | Views [239]

It's been another 24 hours in Nepal... Somehow time seems slower here..

Today was our second day on the build site. We left Hotel Water Tower around 8 a.m. in 4 jeep-style SUVs and arrived at our site an hour later. Even though it is only 12 kilometers travel distance, the road conditions are so bad that travel is at a snail's pace. We were also held up by a campaign-style event with a candidate for Parliament traveling to the rural mountain villages in the district in an attempt to garner support. Elections will  held next month and we have seen numerous vehicles pass by our building site with political flags and blaring Nepali music, which is amazing considering how remote our site is.

My vehicle mates included Raj, whose picture accompanies today's entry. Raj deserves special mention. He is a Nepali native who works full-time coordinating Habitat's Nepali builds. He makes sure we get to our site on time, have tools, have local supports, get fed, have unlimited safe drinking water, and most importantly, have fun. He is like the Robin Williams of Nepal. He is constantly engaging with volunteers, making humorous observations, singing crazy songs, dancing, and generally keeping us moving forward. Most importantly he does this because he loves his country and wants to help lift others out of poverty. 💙

Our primary focus continues to be digging the foundation for the house. The foundation trench needs to be 30" wide by 36" deep. We had a more efficient system in place today with designated diggers and soil  distributors. We got a lot of work done and should be finished with digging tomorrow 🙆

On our second day at the site, locals started to show up to observe us while we worked,  usally discreetly squatting nearby to see what we were up to. If you caught their eye, they always offered a gentle "namaste!"...

We were also joined by Hari Ram, who is the 17-year-old son of the disabled woman who will be one of the inhabitants of the house we are building. Hari Ram worked tirelessly with us throughtout the day. He told Raj that he wants to ensure that his mother has a safe home to live in and once that happens, he plans to travel to Qatar or elsewhere in the Middle East to pursue better employment opportunities to better support his mother and sister. Nepal's economy has worsened in recent years and there are few options for young workers within the country and many immigrate to other Asian countries for better opportunities. They usually do not return to Nepal, according to Raj. So in rural villages such as where we are building, you see females, small children, and eldery men, but few young adult males.

This Habitat experience is so much more than I can put into words at this point, but hopefully i can share some deeper reflections about its meaning and impact in the near future.







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