Monday, April 15, 2013

Happy New Year in Nepal

Sunday, April 14, 2013
(Because of the lack of good Internet here, pictures and most future blogs will have to be added after we return home.  Many new pictures have been added after my last post list of pictures.  A new day, get to add pictures again here at the hotel--must have been because we complained, finding out they didn't give us the best Internet!)
Happy New Year!  (In Nepal, that is)

Jim woke up in the middle of the night and then, so did I, and then he was in a chatty mood, and then, I was thoroughly awake at 3:30 AM.  Since today is not our day of rest here, we met Rempp’s at our hotel and departed with their driver that they use whenever they can.  He has a miniature van, and it is a wreck and cramped with no air conditioning like most taxis.  We got a little lost, but eventually made it to where a turnover ceremony was going to take place.  There was a tank off to the side of the road, a very large one, which was part of this project and where they began to greet us with flowers.  Jim looked into the little hut they had constructed to house some of the piping and found it to be leaking rather badly.  The other problem he found was that they had a lid on the tank and venting system that the rain, wind, dust & smoke will likely contaminate the clean water—they promised to fix this also. 

The tank and kiosk were both nicely painted and had our LDS Charities signs on them, but they had a couple of problems.  Leaking in the kiosk, above; on top of the tank (below) they had a venting system and a square cover you could open, both would allow dust, smoke and other debris to enter the clean water system.

We continued up the road till we reached the spot where they had set up for the ceremony.  Sister Rempp said that they usually have to sit out in the sun for hours, so we were both grateful for the colorful cloth tent that covered not only us on the stage but those in the audience.  They had plastic chairs, but we sat on comfy couches with rugs placed under us on the dirt.  CHOICE employees sat behind us on the stage, also in plastic chairs.  They gave us a large bottle of water and had light refreshments afterwards for everyone. Their PA system kept breaking down (thankfully, since they shout into the microphone), and it was a bit boring since we didn’t know what they were saying. A few times someone would say a few things to us in English.  We could tell when they were giving us credit for the project though.  CHOICE finally has this part down pat—there was on the kiosk and tank our own sign, and we were also briefly mentioned on the CHOICE sign with the Nepalese words.  Luckily, the people must have been told to be brief because we actually ended on time at about 11 AM.  We received various awards, but it is best to show pictures to describe what was put on the men.  We ladies received a gift bag with a homemade picture frame in it.   At the end LDSC received a beautiful picture frame with a certificate.  It was a wood-carved frame, with the typical design you see everywhere you go here in Nepal.

Above, sitting on the upper level on carpet in soft couches, under the colorful canapĂ©.  Below, the men are definitely the peacocks around here, with a wedding thingy around their necks.  Guess  this must be for our golden wedding anniversary this summer.

Afterwards we traveled to a beautiful hotel where we ate a light lunch.  All this eating is killing us off—we will look like water buffalo by the time we get home.  Afterwards we went to a water project we’d seen 3 years ago when last here where CHOICE took all the credit.  When we hiked up to the tank we saw that there was a nice permanent LDSC sign now attached—we were very happy.  We interviewed a few households that were getting this metered water, and also those on the committee to ask even more questions.  It is still working—86 households are receiving this water, representing many more in that household. 

It was very interesting to note that when we first visited this area 3 years ago, there was a moderate amount of poverty.  Surrounding the area now are beautiful, enormous homes recently built but they have different water sources. 

I was happy to learn that it was time to go home after our short but sweaty and dusty walk up to the water tank—it finished me off.  We returned to the hotel and happily got to shower off the dirt and sweat and get ready to go to a dinner with several government people, quite near our hotel.  All I really wanted to do was sleep.  We walked a short distance to this other hotel where they had a room set aside for a meeting with several government leaders.  They had kind things to say about our projects and everyone was given an opportunity to talk.  They were people that were over water, sanitation, women’s groups, humanitarian projects, NGO’s, etc.  There were five men and one woman that Rakesh had invited. Mendenhall’s were also there.  We then went out to eat the buffet provided for them.  We visited some more and then they went home—it was very short, and therefore very sweet.  We were home by 7 PM and very ready to catch up on our sleep.  I went to bed a few hours before I normally do and instantly passed out.

I am happy.  After three days of trying on the weak Internet service, I was able to finish adding pictures to one of my blog posts.  And, most of them were added in the middle of the night when others are asleep!

Till later…love, mom & dad, Jim & Karen, E/S Greding

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