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Community Project Travel The story of my World Expeditions trip to fix a ‘run down’ school in Nepal including painting the building, repairing the roof, replacing the floor and installing blackboards in the classrooms.

Falling behind

NEPAL | Saturday, 25 March 2006 | Views [754]

Perhaps the biggest impact of our visit to the school is the way the locals have turned up to join the workforce. According to our guide it’s the fact we’ve come all this way that has drawn the locals into action. The school hasn’t had any repairs at all for the last twenty years and so it’s nice to think our presence here can help kick start the much needed maintenance. After all our visit is only a for a few days and the harsh environment here means the locals will be the ones who need to ensure the school is looked after.

Today in the pit there’s about 20 locals joining us from the village and the surrounding villages. Some of them have walked 2 hours up and down along the mountain ridge to be here to help. Many of them are women who carry immense loads of rocks in cane baskets strapped around their foreheads. Nepal is one of the few countries where statistically the men outlive the woman and it’s easy to see why. Along the way we’ve seen more woman then men in the fields dragging the ploughs or carrying the heavy loads up hills.

We’ve developed a good system in the pit of breaking up and clearly away the rocks. While one picks away, two others clear with shovels that have rope tied to the end so effectively one is pushing the shovel under the rocks while the other is pulling them clear. It’s a good system and it’ s amazing what we’ve been able to do thus far. While we still dream of the effectiveness of a bobcat or a bulldozer for an hour or two, we are starting to see the inroads we’re making.

In the afternoon I have a moment of weakness and need a break. It’s a mix of dehydration, exhaustion and dirt in the lungs that cause me to be fine one moment and dizzy and vomiting the next. While I’m on my back soaking in the fluids, our group starts dropping like flies. The toll of the last day and half starts setting in. In hindsight we probably went out too hard for work that we’re not physically used too. By three in the afternoon work in the pit has grinded to a halt.

A handful of locals keep going while the others who live far away head off for the long journey home. It’s an afternoon that makes me wonder whether we’ll get this wall built in time. We have only one full day left and still half of the cages to fill. It’s an early dinner and an early night tonight. The incredible welcome of two days ago seems a distant memory now and we all need a long night of rest to right for tomorrow.

Tags: Adventures

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