A Day in Kathmandu
At the suggestions of several people, we ventured out with our camera today to record some snippets of our day walking through Kathmandu! We also finally tell the story of our cook almost dying! Continue reading this post below the video to learn more about the next steps of the Conscious Connections Foundation and what Cameron and I will be doing for the month and half we have left in Nepal!
Future Plans and New Connections
We returned from our two week trek with a massive amount of information, amazing memories, and an entirely new understanding of the Nepali people and their current situation. Now we were faced with this question: with all this new information, how can the Conscious Connections Foundation most effectively help these people?
As has been mentioned in several recent blog posts, the resounding message from the vast majority of the villages we visited was that they lacked permanent shelter and that their current temporary shelters were largely inadequate for the deadly, chilling winter. With this identified as the greatest need, we knew we had to do something to help the shelter situation. CCF, as a smaller organization, obviously can’t rebuild an entire village – no matter how much we wish we could. Different approaches were necessary to address this pressing issue. With this in mind, the organization is already putting into motion earthquake recovery programs that largely aim to achieve the following two goals:
- Spread new, innovative, earthquake resistant building techniques to villagers to promote sustainable rebuilding and to increase future resilience
- Supply villagers with warm, high-quality clothing and other necessary items for the winter
This first goal seeks to provide a long term solution to the shelter crisis by empowering villagers with new ideas to build new homes and a better future. Cameron and I have done extensive research and contacted many experts on earthquake resistant building techniques such as earthbags, rammed earth, and gabion bands. All of these techniques have been shown to survive earthquakes, but again, CCF can’t build homes like these for every single villager in need. Instead, CCF’s shelter recovery programs will work to build sample homes in the villages using these techniques, giving villagers the opportunity to learn about and understand these new ideas, allowing them to decide for themselves what materials they want to use to rebuild their own homes. Additionally, these new ideas could also be applied in the villages in the rebuilding of permanent schools and health clinics (such as the one in Baseri!).
With our remaining month and a half in Nepal, Cameron and I are undertaking the project of building one earthbag house in Baseri. To prepare for this, we be heading back out into the field in the next few days to volunteer with another organization on an earthbag building project in the villages. We will then return to Kathmandu, gather materials and tools for our own project, and head up to Baseri to begin! Though it is unlikely that this house will be completed before Cameron and I have to leave in December, we will be working with experienced earthbag engineers and supervisors so that we can leave the project in capable, trustworthy hands. This first earthbag house will serve multiple purposes – being a model house for the villagers to possibly base their own homes off of, as well as being a test to see if earthbags could be a potential material for the future, larger project of rebuilding the Baseri clinic!
The second goal is more of a short term band-aid for a much larger problem. Clothing and blankets won’t directly fix the shelter issue, but they may be the difference between life and death in the winter. Almost immediately after returning from trekking, we set out to find a way to send warm clothes up to some of the remote villages we stayed in. This goal is already becoming a reality thanks to the amazing people and products of Everest Hardwear, a Nepali manufacturing company that produces excellent clothing and trekking gear! Sonam Sherpa and Ghyami Hyolmo of the company were generous enough to sell us 100 high-quality jackets at a ridiculously low cost, as well as donating 100 fleece hats to be distributed in the villages of Rasuwa! Even though it meant a loss of some profit for them, they were more than happy to partner with us in this endeavor to help those in dire need. I’m happy to say that out of this experience, we not only acquired this clothing to help people, but we also made some wonderful friends.
Ram, who left on another trek a few days ago, took all these jackets and hats along with him to distribute them to the people of Rasuwa. Hopefully we’ll have some pictures of that to share once he returns! In the future, CCF will continue to work with Everest Hardware and other partners on this sort of project to provide potentially life-saving winter items to the people of Nepal who need them most!
We are incredibly excited to be starting soon on this earthbag project and other CCF recovery programs – it’s an amazing and inspirational feeling to be doing this work! Stay tuned for more details and pictures in the future! Thank you!
All the best,
Check out Everest Hardwear at their website (http://www.everesthardwear.com.np/) and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Everest-Hardwear-371079756430780)!