Friday, April 26, 2013

Pictures, after the fact...

We've been home for about a week, but still fighting a bit of jetlag and Jim still getting over being sick.  His worst day happened to be the day we flew home--a miserable flight for him.  He is still coughing but feeling much better.  Elder & Sister Rempp sent me some of their pictures of our travels:

Receiving our award for bringing water to a hospital.  Sister Rempp on my right.

Just one of the several government people we met at their offices.  The lady in red was recently appointed and we really did enjoy our few minutes' visit with her.

A woman and one of her goats--so picturesque.

Above & below, it was fun taking a rickshaw!  They don't get as much money as a taxi but they sure work harder on the uneven pavement.

Jim checking on a holding tank below the spring.

We have our tika's and we are ready for a long hike up the rice field 'steps'.

Someone had left a fun piece of equipment at this little school up on the mountain.

The strength of these older women in Nepal is amazing--these bushes are so heavy you can't believe it.

An incredibly beautiful picture taken by Carol Rempp.

Dancing with the little old gentleman who later became my 'hoist' up the ancient rice fields.

At the beginning of one of our hikes to a spring.

Brother of the groom, looking pretty fancy himself.

The beautiful but treacherous Mt. Everest.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Final days in Nepal

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Every day I have to ask what day it is.  I have totally lost track of the time and have a hard time remembering what we did each day.  Without all the pictures I take, our days would all run together like a dream.  Today we met Rakesh and both couples and drove to the outer Kathmandu area, looking at possible water and latrine projects.  They had varying degrees of possibilities, from ‘not at all’ to ‘maybe’.  I thought we were done with high hill driving, but there we were again, way up in the nosebleed section of the mountains.  Luckily, it was a much quicker drive to get there, we didn’t stay there long, and our hikes up in the hills were very short (however, Rakesh fell in one muddy spot, knocking Elder Rempp down with him—I was so glad it wasn’t me!).  We finished earlier than we thought, ate our lunch and went shopping again.  I purchased one skirt, we exchanged one ski jacket for my daughter-in-law, and Jim bought some shirts that will be great for our travels in hot countries.  He also purchased a couple of ball caps that had the LDS Charities logo sewn on them.  They are cool. 

These people live on the edge of the cliffs, etched out of the sides of the mountains.  Narrow dirt roads wander all over these hills.  If a lorry can’t make it to the spot, they haul their building materials the rest of the way in on their backs.

That evening we had a Skype session with our Area Welfare Manager because he was unable to be with us.  It was not too bad, the three couples plus them, all discussing the direction the Church wants to take with our humanitarian work and how we can apply it as much as possible to Nepal, because it is so much different than most countries we deal with.  We all went to dinner at a steak house, which they didn’t seem to like (I ordered something else), and then the Mendenhall’s went home, we went shopping some more to take care of the embroidery on the hats, taking a rickshaw…pretty fun.  We are at last back at our hotel and I am very sleepy, and Jim is getting a cold. 

Thursday: This morning we went to Rempp’s house where we held meetings with the two NGO’s we work with to determine their bids for future work and to decide which of those were the best projects to do.  These meetings turned out to be very important ones.  For some reason, things came out in these visits that really helped us clarify the better people to work with.  Joining us in these meetings was a man from India that Elder Rempp invited named Robert that works for the Church.  He is the first person that these project requests go to.  He asked some important questions, and in fact, all of us did, till we could determine the very best people to work with and the best projects to do. 

One of the discussions involved the handing out of hygiene kits to children in schools.  It was determined that this was an expensive item that led to nowhere—after they used up their kit, did they go and then buy soap to wash their hands?  No one knew.  Instead I discussed with Sister Rempp about adapting our hygiene program for the schools and to use members to implement the projects in the Kathmandu area; after the children and teachers ‘graduate’, then they will receive those kits.  We had so many ideas about how to change the program to adapt it to Nepal, including changing the pictures to look like the people here.  We both got really excited as we discussed how this will work to meet the criteria the Church has set down for us, to involve the Church members to do more volunteer work in their communities, and to employ more members, even if temporarily.  And we were happy to think that those hygiene kits might be more useful, really teaching the importance of hand washing.  Sister Rempp will be removing some lessons that don’t apply, and adding new ones about cleaning up their environment—those things are mentioned, but we want to give that more emphasis.  We really want children to teach their parents not to dump their garbage wherever they want.

Jim had begun feeling really sick so we left before we met with the second NGO, but Rempp’s are quite capable of asking the right questions without us.  Even Robert, the man from India, already had a flight back home and couldn’t be there.  This NGO was to meet earlier, but weren’t as prepared and needed the extra time. 

Friday: This morning we had breakfast in an out-of-the-way place called Mike’s.  Carol Rempp said it was the only place that served real pancakes.  It was really good and we sat outside with the flowers—lovely.  I always crack up at Greg Rempp—he often has dessert before his meals (should we tell his mommy?).  Today he had lemon meringue pie before his breakfast! 

We are back at the hotel and saw the groom’s car, remembering we had seen him last night.  Today was the marriage, but yesterday he was decked out in his pre-wedding clothes and I was so sorry I didn’t have my camera with me.  He was all in white, but with embroidery on the edges of his clothes, plus the hat and flowers, etc.  The bride will wear red, as they all do here.  We did see the wedding party downstairs.   

Having a delightful breakfast at Mike’s.                                                       

The wedding car, waiting for the groom to arrive.

This was the groom today—he really did look much ‘prettier’ last night in his white clothes.  The man on the left even invited me to the wedding—gee I wish I could go.  I met the brother, also decked out in fancy clothes, and asked if the marriage was arranged or was a love match—it was a love match.  They were delayed because first the bride’s family has to arrive at the place of the marriage and then the groom’s family can go to meet them.  Right before he came out of the elevator, a band was playing outside, no doubt announcing the time for the groom to go to the marriage place.  I took a video so that I could remember the music—well, not my cup of tea…a bit brassy and noisy and repetitive.  What a fun thing to see though while here!

We leave late tonight, after meeting with the couples here and the Skype call, departing for the airport at 8 PM when they kick us out of here.

See you soon,
Mom & Dad, Jim & Karen, E/S Greding

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Checking projects, traveling high up the mountains

Boy up a tree, showing off.

One of the open taps in this project, still working since it was completed in 2010.  They had put on new taps, no doubt for our benefit.  They claimed the taps were 18 months old, someone else said 1 month old--they should check with each other to keep their stories straight.  But, the project was still working!

This is the most industry we saw in this area.  Yes, many grow crops of one kind or another, but we saw a very large building just full of chickens.  Elder Rempp was jealous--he has a few chickens right now.  These are chickens to be eaten, his are layers.

They have many of these little tractors, that really help them to move materials.  Jim is having fun here.

This is another 2010 project, done by TRUST.  When we came in 2010 these doors did not close, but they do now.  The problem was that a pipe had broken near the source and they had not bothered to fix it.  This was a community problem.  It would be an easy fix, and a cheap one, but they claimed they had no money and no one was contributing.  They probably stopped contributing money when the water stopped coming.  E/S Rempp will go back here and try to get them to fix it.  This was very disappointing.   These latrines and the water was for the school.
We stopped for lunch at a local place.  It was full of flies, and the cutting board she was using to chop up the vegetables (plate in the middle of the table) so none of us touched those uncooked veggies.  Rakesh on the left, member of TRUST on the right.  Note he is eating Nepal style with his fingers.
This is the stove they use at this little restaurant.  Isn't it cool?  It is made out of bricks, then plastered over.

This is the road we traveled for so many hours up in the hills.  This was a wide place in this road, that became so narrow at times he had to look out his window to see if the wheels were still on the road.  It was a cavernous drop off the road.

The very beginning of our hike on the narrow trail, on the edge of cliffs.
Jim at the stream below the spring, where this group wants to pump the water into 3 tanks above, using city electricity.

Tufts of grass grow out of the mountain, looking a bit like hair--so interesting.
TRUST worker, Rakesh, Elders Rempp & Greding at the spring.  There is another little temple off to the above right in that dark opening.

This is the lady that held my hand so I wouldn't slip off the trail.  I kiddingly called her my 'Sherpa.'  She lives right behind this picture, house set higher yet on the hill.  As you can see, we are very high up.

These little children never smile for the photo unless you ask them to.

This is the location of one of the tanks.  As you can see, it is being dug at the edge of the mountain, cliffs below.  When lorries can go no further, they hand carry the building materials the rest of the way.

This woman had been there since 4 AM and it was almost 12 hours later that she was there to reach into the opening and hope for the recharge.  So far, she had only filled 3 containers.

Rakesh by the woman and her helpers (or were they in line waiting too?).  The girls in uniform had recently finished school for the day. 

During the dry season, this spring is only open twice a day and only one bucket per household is allowed per day.  That is why this area is asking for assistance so that they will have water always.

This is the little school that will be helped if we do this project.  They need more water here.

After we finally were finished, we continued on our way, hitting tarmac in a heavy rain.  When we reached the pinacle of the mountain there was this large temple.  Our driver (left) and Rakesh went in to worship.  I was not allowed in but could take a picture.  You have to remove your shoes.

The temple was built by a man who ruined (cut up) his hands building one in Kathmandu.  He built this one with his feet, as Rakesh tells me this story.  Now, that is dedication to his God.
We are relieved to finally go back to the hotel.  I purchased tiny little dollies on a string from a very persuasive young boy.  He had such the personality that Jim, unable to get him down on his price, gave him even more afterwards.  He was so cute! 

More pictures, Nepal

It is always a sad thing to see, nothing but garbage in their rivers.

We saw people playing lots of different games in Nepal.  This is of course a card game but we also saw boys playing volleyball.  We also saw soccer (football) but not nearly as much as we do in Africa.

We noticed that this woman left her taps open.  This is the dry season and the water is scarce, so we are asking her why she is doing this--others below her won't receive as much if she does this.  She claims it is so that she will know when they turned the water on, and yet she knows what hours they turn it on.

To keep the taps from splashing, they put rags on the ends, which of course is not going to keep the water clean.  They need to add a nozzle, not a rag!

This woman had a nozzle, a very clean area, and also some of those really large black tanks that hold water.  She collects as much as possible to store in these containers so that she has water all through the dry season.

It was so surprising to see all these expensive homes in this area.  Those connected to our last water project are not wealthy, but there are many, many new homes, all quite grand.  The grey house is owned by a wealthy German businessman.

The hotel where we met dignitaries from the government that we have to work through to do our projects.  Rakesh has so many friends in the government and he is the one who can get anyone to see us, or us to go to their offices to meet them.
I think the man at the right is the most influential of the group of politicians that we had dinner with at he request of Rakesh.  All of them have to do with our projects, which include water, sanitation, neo-natal resuscitation, wheelchairs, vision, emergency relief, etc.
Rakesh with one of his political friends, that he invited to our dinner.

Sister Rempp with the woman in the government--why can't I remember exactly what they do, except that it has something to do with what WE do!

This is a better picture of Priti, returned missionary from the Nepal Branch.