Nepalese school children

Over 50 new shelters, a school and still counting!

So, monsoon has arrived in Nepal. Just a week ago a very exhausted Secret Garden team, smothered in garlands and tikka paint, bounced down the mountains of Kavre back to Kathmandu after 18 days of full power building in the village of Salle Bhumlu. Our time reconstructing homes across Salle Bhumlu’s 9 wards rapidly increased pace after the training of 8 fantastic Nepali laborers – by the time of our departure your donations had built: 51 new shelters, supplied tin panels for 31 new roofs and constructed a whole new school building for over 100 children who are now keeping safe and dry in the pouring rain. So thank you!

In fact we really need to say another big thank you for the cooperation we received from the Salle Bhumlu VDC, who opened up the community forests to allow access to building materials for all in need. Plus a thank you to our Nepali builders, to Raj Kumar and the coordination team, and also just a big thank you to the whole community for pitching in and getting all hands on deck.

After a few days recuperating in Kathmandu our team was ready to move back to Chaughada, Nuwakot, back to Atula’s school to reinforce the temporary classrooms we had built in light of the impending monsoon. Here we’ve been constructing new shelters and reinforcing others ready for the rains, which are already falling. Naturally after the success we felt in Kavre, using our resources to inspire momentum into a community to begin rebuilding itself, we know it is absolutely essential to transfer this method of support and cooperation with us wherever our work is. In truth we’ve had a lot less cooperation in Chaughada than we need for our project here to be successful.

Between the ridges of the foothills, the Chaughada basin is an immensely humid and fertile land ready for harvest. Our initial assessment showed a definite need for transitional shelters within this community; 95% of the houses here rendered unlivable by the earthquakes. Yet despite there being no lack of able bodies, somehow too few have shown interest in beginning to rebuild with each other. Our local contacts have bared the brunt of aggressive intercommunity politics, greed and selfishness. If we wish to decrease a dependency on outside aid not increase it, we have to assume now that our support will be best felt within other communities devastated by the earthquakes.

Obviously this negative response by no means represents the whole, our team has been able to construct transitional shelters for a number of families without the means to help themselves, victims of caste politics shunned by others, working together to equip these lovely people for the monsoon. So today we begin wrapping up our work here to be able to move out tomorrow, to pursue new leads to areas in the district of Sindalpolchowk, to places where the roads run out and no aid relief has been felt since the very first earthquake.

Here’s some great news though: still working within Salle Bhumlu now are our 8 Nepali workers and a volunteer team of coordinators, including the ever-dedicated Raj Kumar and new boy on the block: Sulav, who even after a full day sweating in the mud and dirt could somehow remain mysteriously, immaculately, spotlessly fresh (which I think we put down to some sort of witchcraft). Anyway, these new members of the Secret Garden team are still working hard in Salle Bhumlu to complete the construction of 20 more shelters and one more school roof.

I hope you understand that all our work building both in Kavre and Nuwakot could have never been made possible without you and your donations! We will work as ever to make certain your donations may be felt by those who really are in need. Wish us luck with our next scouting mission, the roads are getting slippy!

Big love from Nepal. x

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