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

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