We are at our hotel in Guangzhou, China 9 hours through a 12.5 hr layover. The nice part about flying with China Southern through Guangzhou is that you get a free hotel and breakfast on layovers that are over 6 hours. Craig and I went for a nice walk around a huge inner city (man made?) lake after breakfast. We were both impressed with the literally hundreds of seniors partaking in numerous activities of exercise, singing, dancing, tai chi , etc …. many with their grandkids too.
We are maxed out on our baggage allowance which is largely made up of: 169 various Nepali scarves, 300 Khada scarves, 24 wallets, 18 purses, 15 large size wool toques, 2 packages XL prayer flags, 2 packages lg prayer flags, 6 table centre size Nepal flags, 2 large Nepali flags, and a few personal treasures.
We visited 6 different schools in the Sharada region, conducted many meetings in the field, visited SODEC sponsored Macadamia nut tree farm, a SODEC sponsored “pilot” coffee farm which is 5yrs along and producing fantastic coffee, attended meetings with a Chainpur farmers co-op about expansion of coffee farming as a means for them to escape the poverty cycle of subsistence farming. This is the strategy behind the macadamia trees as well. We have much more to share on these topics.
On our return to Kathmandu from Sankhuwasabha we had many tasks to accomplish in a very short time. We met with my friend Mingma, Randy & Alana’s trekking friend/business owner Himal, and probably of greatest value , we met with Ghambir from Creative Services (engineering firm who designed & oversaw our first school build). His experience, knowledge and willingness to share their strategies around school construction and budgets will be a fantastic help to ABIN.
Due to unforeseen events we were unable to visit Bandevi School in Apchaur. I did however arrange for Parshu to head out to the village later this week with 22 more money boxes. As the team from last fall will recall, we had imposters and the grand opening celebration meaning than some of the Bandevi children did not receive a money box gift. Parshu will also get us pictures of Aish Rai with his grandmother. Our board is supporting this young child as his father died and mother left the village, leaving Aish behind with his grandmother.
I will wrap things up now as we are now at the airport and will be boarding in about 45 mins. In summary, the trip was a resounding success. Much was learned, accomplished, and evaluated.