Dear Board Members,
Sorry it’s been so long since my last update to you all. So, lets get all caught up. I am back in the US and will probably be here for 5 months or so. Work continues in Nepal anyway and here’s the rundown.
1) Water in the village. We are bringing 20,000 liters per day from the new source of water to the village. Nearly everyone is now connected to this water supply. A crew of 38 people dug all the trenches and installed all the pipes to bring the water from the source (a very large spring) to our main storage tank at the farm, from which it is then connected to homes. Mark this project as done.
2) Mankhu Road. Work is now underway to widen and repair the road up to the farm. It will be twice as wide as before. The village is involved and providing part of the funding (approx $7000US) as well as manpower for hand work. We are providing the lion’s share of funding (estimate $30,000) and each landowner along the road has given up land so that the road can be widened. Mark this project as well underway.
3) Main volunteer house in Buddhanilakantha. The house is nearly finished, both of them. For the family and staff we have 4 rooms total, one of which is the dining and kitchen for volunteers, one bedroom for the girls, one for myself and Sunita and a living room that is for us and volunteers as well. The second house has 9 volunteer bedrooms, 4 bathrooms. There’s a center courtyard, parking space and small garden. And yes, it’s purple. Mark this project 99% complete.
4) I don’t have any photos to share right now of improvements and repairs at the volunteer housing at Her Farm. We added more windows to the house, finished the top floor so there’s now 2 bedrooms there as well as open space balcony. New doors were installed in many of the rooms and what used to be my room (for those who have been there) has been divided to create two rooms. Exterior plaster which was not all finished before the quakes is now finished. Last thing left to do is paint the place. I don’t know the color, don’t want to know and I stay out of that area altogether and let the girls deal with it. The photos below were taken at the start of this work. We also added 3 more bathrooms to the volunteer house.
5) The on-site tailoring program is going well. With 20 women and children living now at the farm and since we provide school uniforms to most the children in the village we need a lot of clothing made. We hired women from the village, got a sewing machine and gave them some space to work in a classroom. Recently volunteers have hired them to make typical Nepali clothing for them as well. They have paid employment ,we have an inexpensive source for all this clothing.
6) As I reported before, most in the village are still not rebuilding homes at this point and are waiting on the government. A few have been bold enough to go ahead without the government and we’ve helped them rebuild, here’s one that is rebuilding the home and the cow barn with our help. This farmer is producing paneer and we’ve invested some money in his venture to produce and sell paneer. (paneer is fresh cheese from buffalo milk) The woman in the photo is Usha’s sister-in-law and this is her house and cheese venture.
The government is still moving at a turtle’s pace and I don’t know when that will change, if ever.
I don’t have photos of this yet, but a recent windstorm took the roof off the local school. We are fixing that and building new bathrooms at the school. Photos when I can get them.
7) We are featured in the Winter Gallery issue of Mountain, a magazine published in Boulder, Colorado. The article will be on their website soon and I”ll send you a link to that once I have it.
8) Bookings for volunteers is slowly getting better. We have a Texas A&M group coming in May and 2 Australian groups booked for fall. There are 26 individual volunteers currently booked through the end of the year (that doesn’t count groups, there’s approximately 50 booked as part of groups) Since the USA dropped all travel warnings to Nepal recently, other countries are following that and hopefully bookings will continue to grow over the coming months. I’ve seen an uptick in activity since the travel advisories have been removed and hope that trend continues.
9) Namuna is now a full-fledged licensed nurse and working full-time at our clinic at Her Farm.
10) Everyday life at the farm includes volunteers teaching children and we now serve lunch to the entire local school each day with as many as 60 children coming. We were serving breakfast before but the numbers were smaller as many had chores to help with at home before school. Since there’s no lunch at the school, and we knew that many children came with no packed lunch, we switched to lunchtime to make certain all the children get at least one good meal a day.
That’s all for updates on past projects and work underway. I will have a report for you on a new project soon.
Thanks for all you do, Scott