Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Climbing to new heights, in Nepal

Monday, April 15, 2013

We had time this morning to work out at 6 AM.  I was surprised to see how many people were there.  They have lots of machines and almost all of them were occupied.  We had a leisurely morning to hang out till meeting Rempp’s & Mendenhall’s for lunch at 11 AM.  We got a bit lost, but found a ‘White face’ who told us where to find the sandwich shop.  Afterwards we met with Rakesh and more government people, only this time in the government buildings where we needed not just a copy, but our real passports.  I forget all their titles, but they have something to do with our projects in Nepal.  The first man exaggerated the Nepal government’s involvement in getting water and sanitation to their people, but we just smiled.  He spent some time in the U.S. and finished first in a prestigious test in his country.  The second was a lady, newly appointed, and we quite liked her.  The last was another man, and we noticed that each building got nicer, so he must have been a little ‘higher up’ than the other two.  Afterwards we went shopping in the ‘cheap’ marketplace with Mendenhall’s and met that evening with Rempp’s who joined us for our special dinner at our hotel.  We planned many of these events for Elder & Sister Dodson, who weren’t able to join us as planned because of his health.

One of three government officials we visited.  This lady was newly appointed and we really liked her.  The women in government seem to be a bit more likely to really help their own people.  After all, they are the ones that fetch the water and carry heavy loads on their backs.

Tuesday: This was an incredible day.  If it weren’t for my pictures I wouldn’t remember all that we did.  We began by looking at a project that Jim and I had seen in 2010.  We found our water tank on a very tall tower just as we’d seen it long ago.  Our logo was on the top and TRUST’s was below it, both written in large lettering, but the weather had gotten to it, staining the paint.  The project was still working, and we were pleased.  They had just changed their taps to brass, and claimed that they had changed them long ago, but they probably knew we were coming and changed them for our visit.  No matter, the only thing we found wrong was that the area they sat their buckets in to collect the water was not draining properly and silt was contaminating the bottom of their water cans. 

A project that is still working.  This tank services many water points—some are public and some are metered if they go directly to someone’s home.  They still come out of one water tap, and are usually just outside the house.  If you look closely, you can see our logo, smeared by weather.

The next project we stopped to see was also done in 2010.  We saw the latrines at the school and they had fixed the doors as we requested, but the water to the school was no longer working—they had let it fail.  Rempp’s will have to come back to that one to nudge them to fix it—we suspect it won’t take much money or work to do that.  The pipes were broken at the inlet and they claimed that they had no money to fix it, that no one was paying.  We suspect they stopped paying when the water broke and the school refused to fix it.  This was a disappointment, but nothing TRUST had done wrong, just the community. 

I should mention that we were traveling with TRUST and Rakesh.  This driver was skilled in another way—the other driver managed the mountain road without getting in a head-on.  This driver had to travel up dirt roads that were very narrow and steep, with hairpin turns so tight he often had to do it in two tries.  We were on them so long that I was beginning to long to be off of them!  As we traveled higher and higher and places had been washed out by rains, I wondered if our tires would have room to stay on the road, and the down side was becoming more cavernous.  We also walked on an up and down, very narrow path to the river below.  I once again had my own ‘Sherpa’ but this one was a woman.   She held my hand to make sure I didn’t fall over the steep edge.  She thought I was 50.  I like these people more all the time!

This is our lady ‘Sherpa’ assisting Carol Rempp, but mostly she held my hand, even when it wasn’t necessary.  It was comforting though, as many times a fall off the edge would have no doubt done me in.  We were quite high up.

We began by looking at the water source at the bottom by a river (by hiking) and then climbed higher and higher by car to each water tank, the last one being near the very top of the mountains.  We decided to continue on instead of going back the way we came.  This turned out to be a very good decision.  I didn’t realize it but going the way we did we eventually hit tarmac, even though we continued to climb even higher up the mountain.  As we did, it began to rain, and then pour—if we had gone back the other way, we would not have been able to get down that road in the mud.  Surely, we would have slipped over the edge; we would have had to stay put for the night.  Each day I am happy for these ‘tender little mercies’.

We arrived back to Kathmandu just when it got dark.  They dropped us off at Kentucky Fried Chicken, Nepal style, and then we walked over for some ice cream at Baskin & Robbins.  We took a taxi to the outdoor shopping area, filthy and exhausted, and later it even began to rain there.  We took another taxi home, dragging ourselves into a blessed hot shower.

Love, from Nepal

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