What an amazingly positive time we’ve had in Bhummlu Salle! After returning from Nuwakot two weeks ago our few days in Kathmandu were taken up with coordinating the preparation for our second building mission up in the mountains of Kavre; with speed and efficiency being pinnacle to our race against the monsoon, we met with other small aid organisations to discuss and share techniques in aiding Nepal to rebuild itself.
During our first visit to Kavre on one of our early food aid delivery big missions, we made good friends with Raj Kumar Lama, an outstanding and well respected member of the Bhummlu Salle community and, as we came to understand, really a very selfless man; his own house was demolished while we worked together to find the families and individuals in need of shelter, and yet he still committed all his time to helping find those in need. In Kathmandu, before setting off to return to Bhummlu Salle, Raj Kumar informed us that the VDC community forests had been opened up, with a designated amount of timber and bamboo made available for every family. Knowing these resources were available to all those in need allowed us to push the reach of your donations further: we were able to focus our attention solely on supplying tin roofing panels and be more ambitious with the number of shelters Secret Garden could construct.
But it wouldn’t be just us building: prior to construction we were able to hold a meeting with the community, to push an agreement that in order to get ready for monsoon the village needed to come together and work together to begin to reconstruct the damage that had been done. The effect was overwhelmingly positive and as the build project went on it became clear people were all too willing to pitch in and help out. One wonderful example of this was the school, the building had been deemed structurally unsound and ‘Red Stickered’ after the earthquakes cracked the classroom walls, leaving the teachers no choice but to give their lessons out on the cracked steps of the broken classrooms. Immediately we were able to begin making plans to construct a temporary school building for all one hundred students. Initially we worked with a few local carpenters to get the frame up, but as word passed round the village, the school governor himself was not only heaving timbers up from the forests but even went door to door asking all the families whose children attended the school to give a full day of work to the building. Really very inspiring to see.
Within our first week constructing, thirty shelters were up and ready as they’ll ever be for monsoon. These thirty families under nothing but tarpaulin and leaking tins, in lean-tos that used to house their buffalo now have a fighting chance against the rains, but it is already beginning to fall, and fall hard. There will be a time in the not too distant future when we cannot gain access to these remote parts, and this is where the most exciting part of our mission is coming into play.
Already we have begun to train Nepali builders in Kavre, sharing expertise to build a skilled work force of small strong teams that can work with the families displaced by the earthquakes to create safe and sturdy temporary homes for the monsoon. This workforce will be a paid workforce, which not only puts these lovely people back in employment but also allows rapid and efficient rebuilding work to continue and spread throughout the communities of Kavre’s 9 VDCs. Though perhaps most importantly, having teams of local Nepali villagers building in the village instills a sense of power and positivity, the people your donations reach are there with us, building alongside people from their own community, everyone’s still trying to make sense of their own devastation but they’re there together, helping each other to get ready for the next trial.
Our team is still up in the mountains as I write, so more progress updates on the way, but for now we just wanted to share with you where we’re at and say the biggest warmest of thank yous to all our supporters. Early next week we split the team, some will continue in Kavre, the others will continue our work in Nuwakot and Sindhulpachowk! So as ever, keep donating, keep sharing – we’ve come too far to forget Nepal now!
Big Love. x