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.
I’m happy to report that the school is progressing well. We spent yesterday morning onsite reviewing construction and meeting with the school management committee. Here are are few pictures for you to see.
Most importantly the one million rupees ( about $12,500.00) that is overdue from the local government should be forwarded to SODEC very soon. Ultimately the school should be completed in the 14 months that was original construction timeline presented to us.
It’s 9:40 Saturday night here in Nepal and I’m done! I will try to send another email in the morning describing our day today. One school visit, Buddha’s birthday celebrations, a farm visit/meeting with farmers with our SODEC friends, and dinner tonight at a friend of Parshu’s here in Chainpur…. that’s how 6 am to 9 pm happened 🙏
We fly back to Kathmandu tomorrow at 10:55 which wraps up a very productive 5 days out here in Sankhuwasabha.
It’s 10:45 pm here in Khandbari and I am exhausted. Tonight we had a 5 pm meeting with our SODEC partners followed by a very long (but good) dinner. We were up at 6 am, gone at 7:30 back to the hotel for lunch at 11:30, then out from 12:30 until 10pm.
Following our successful visit to Banibilas school on Tuesday we travelled some 3.5 hours yesterday along a very rough series of roads to reach Him SS in the remote village of Swachi. The final 8 or so kms into Swatchi was along a road that simply did not exist one year ago.
Large group shot is at Him School. Smaller group shot was taken earlier today with the Mahendra School hard of hearing class. Those of you who were here in October will have recognized both the amazing children and the building that we are standing in front of. Before leaving I shared with the students via their signing teacher how moved we all were when they used the 1000 rupees ($12) that I gave them in October to buy chickens for their dinner rather than candy. They all laughed ! Today Craig and I gave them 1500 rupees so they they could get chicken and perhaps some treats too!
I already have lots to report and am also very grateful to have Craig along for his invaluable assistance and insight. We have 2 days remains in the field and will be visiting Sharada School in the morning. Tonight is our last night at the Arati hotel as we will be staying in Chainpur for our final 2 nights in Sankhuwasabha. I will miss this incredible king bed!!!
Best to all,
Here are a few pics from earlier today. Bani Bilas Secondary School, about 25 mins drive from Tumlingtar Airport. I just woke up from a lovely nap (7:15 pm Tuesday night) here. As you can see, we are at the Hotel Arati….. they put us on the 5th floor !
Tomorrow morning we will be visiting Him SS. To get there it is a 90 min drive and then a 2 hr hike. I will keep you all apprised of all that we will be doing over the next 4 days.