Friday, April 12, 2013

Nepal travels

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I am exhausted and so very sleepy, but before I forget what we did today, I thought I would write it all down.  Even though I went to sleep quickly last night, I am obviously still in jetlag mode since I awoke at 1 AM and never went back to sleep.  As we went down to breakfast we were surprised to see some beautiful scenery.  Because we had arrived after dark, we didn’t know that we’d have a view of the Himalayas, which are usually obscured with cloud cover; but this morning it was perfectly clear—it really is a magnificent site.

The grand Himalayas and the challenge that kills many climbers, Mt. Everest.

We drove on narrow roads carved out of the mountain to reach an area where they had requested a water project.  We eventually left the tarmac and drove on dirt roads.  Even though the views were lovely, the colors are so much more brilliant after the rainy season.  We were happy that it was cooler here.  We met Rakish as we neared the village and wandered till we found the right place.   

When we arrived, and several times afterwards, we were greeted officially, given refreshment, and of course, flowers.  They served us lemonade right before we hiked to the first spot.  I was surprised at how weak I was and even became slightly nauseous, no doubt from all the hiking the day before; still, it was not all that hot yet.  I decided not to go further and Carol Rempp happily stayed behind with me; we walked down the hill a ways and sat on chairs provided by a woman and visited with a young man that knew some English. 

After the men came down from the hill we were served a plate of sliced fruit: apples, bananas and grapes.  We walked down further (everyone lives on different levels in this hilly terrain) to the main road where they served us the rest of the meal.  I was not at all hungry so I had a hard time eating the food and left a little too much on my plate.  It was good, but some of it was typically a little spicy.  With too full bellies we departed and began a very long and hot trip to another town.  Rakish’s driver led the way on the main high mountain road with the large river below—the same one we used when we left the city.  Driving this highway is a particular art.  Our driver is exceptional.  We always see accidents on this winding road—constant head-on accidents.

The village on the hill: Jim checking out their request for more water points to 3 areas, one to a school.  Part of this village is made up of outcasts—they still have a strong caste system.  The lowest caste only makes money by selling produce they grow and singing and dancing, hoping for donations.  They fed us a huge lunch here.

By the time we reached the town Jim was so hot he was more than a bit out of sorts.  Usually I am the one who is about to expire.  Luckily, we arrived at the hotel where we would be staying that night to give ourselves a break and take a cool shower.  We had stayed at this nice hotel before, but because we arrived in the middle of the day they didn’t have their generator on and therefore no air conditioning.  Our room was stifling, but after taking a shower felt a little better.  We had some soda and were on our way to look at a couple of projects—one proposed and the other was completed a couple of years ago.  Even though it was already 3:30, we wanted to do both so that we could just get up and go back to Kathmandu in the morning. 

When we arrived at the proposed project I got out of the car and began to walk with the others.  This was the shortest and easiest walking we had done in two days, but I could barely put one foot in front of the other.  I began to realize I was suffering from a bit of heat exhaustion, a problem I often have on these trips.  I stopped talking to the children and women and walked around in a daze.  My body was apparently done for the day! 

We drove to see the older project and it looked as if it was working just fine.  The only problem we saw is one that Elder & Sister Rempp say is typical—TRUST had written on the side of the water tank in blue Nepalese that they had implemented this project.  Jim had Rakish read it to him.  Jim asked him where the donor sign was.  This tank is a tall one, even though many are partly buried in the earth, this one was not.  He pointed to our sign that they had put on the top part of the tank so that it would not be noticed by anyone unless they knew it was there.  We told them to remove it and put it on the side next to their writings.  We also will be doing signs in Nepalese from now on.  Even though these NGO’s have been nice to work with, they typically (accidentally they say) don’t give LDSC any credit, even though without us they wouldn’t have a job.  Their excuse was that LDSC directed them to put the signs on the top of the tanks, which does work when they are buried in the dirt.  We really have to watch them—they act so very innocent…  Because it was so late, we did not have time to check out the project thoroughly.  Elder & Sister Rempp will do that when they return to the area to interview people to find out if it is working as well as they claim it is.

Plenty of bragging in Nepalese by TRUST.  Our sign below, so high I could not get a good picture of it.  We are making them remove it and put it on the side of the tank so that it can be seen.  All our future signs will be in Nepalese.

It was dark when we finally arrived back at the hotel.  All I could think about was how much I needed to drink some juice; I had two glasses with a little food.  I took my shower and began to feel somewhat normal again.  Jim said that from now on he is going to insist that our drivers have cars that have air conditioning.  Apparently we just can’t take this kind of heat.  I had nothing left when I went to bed and dropped off to sleep like a dead woman.

The following day we returned to Kathmandu and actually had an hour to spend at the very refreshing (cold water) pool.  We definitely needed this break!

Love, mom & dad, Jim & Karen, E/S Greding

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