Well the Nepal 17 trip is over and I am pleased to report that we had a wonderful and successful time.
Electricity in Nepal
We found Kathmandu still in chaos with bad traffic jams and some of the worst air pollution I remember. However, one fascinating and rather bizarre improvement this year was that there was no electricity cut. For at least 7 years now every Nepal trip from school has put up with ‘load sharing’ which some years has meant as little as 4 hours of electricity a day. We were told this was because there is a lack of power available in Nepal for all households. This year we had electricity every hour of every day. What happened was this; last October the minister in charge of power was replaced and his successor quickly discovered that there was no electricity shortage at all. Far-fetched though it may sound, all it took was the right engineer (and a government desperate to show its people progress) to uncover and dismantle a web of corruption that was stealing power from households for nearly a decade and distributing it round the clock to some industries. Those at the helm of the state-run monopoly exaggerated for years a largely manageable power crisis. Their aim was to create a market for inverter importers and the alternative energy lobby, which in return lined the pockets of their benefactors. One of the greatest befits of having power this year was that we no longer had to put up with taps running dry because the water could always be pumped to the roof tanks. It did not however mean that we always had hot showers because electricity is still very expensive and the heating of water is all done using the sun.
We still found very little evidence of rebuilding in the villages round the schools although the schools all seemed to be doing well themselves. The teaching in the schools went really well this year and it was great to see how enthusiastically they greeted us again. Arjun showed us what is left of his house; he had cleared up the rubble from last year and all that was left was one room: his toilet. The Tri Ratna School in Bungamati village had moved completely and it was great to see the new paved surface that we had paid for after our visit last year (when the dust round the school was dreadful).
Spending of the money we have raised.
oWhen were there this year we were able to see several benefits of our spending from the previous year. I have listed them below:
Lots of pupils in each school with new glasses,
This year we took with us a dentist Mrs Marie-Louise Toward and noted that many children had received recent treatment for dental caries. (We also discovered several more that need a visit to the dentist),
The roof of the Noble Education School (which blew off last year) looked very secure,
The Annandit Charity Centre were working to improve their facilities and rebuilding the church because of the damage caused by the earthquake,
The orphan children we support were all looking well and danced for us,
The Peace Garden School had some new furniture in the Maggie Cotton room,
There was some very comfortable carpeting in many of the new classrooms.
New paved playing surface in the Tri-Ratna School
Some good progress had been made at the Annadaban Leprosy Mission Hospital on rebuilding a new laboratory badly damaged in the earthquake.
o We then made some decisions on where the money available to us this year could be spent. Since our return we have:
Paid for a teacher from the Peace Garden School to go to the UNICEF teacher training course
Paid the salary of a new teacher to replace the teacher on the UNICEF course,
We have given funds to the Tri-Ratna school to help towards the cost of building new classrooms
Given money to Milan at the Annandit centre for its work and the new church building
Given money to Shusma for the orphan children
Paid for new toilets at the Peace Garden School
Paid for more new furniture at the Peace Garden School and more underlay and carpets
Given Ashok money for the leprosy colony and the Annadaban Leprosy mission hospital
Paid for some drainage work to be done on the new play area of the Peace Garden School which flooded last year in the monsoon.
Given money to a wonderful project run by local doctors and dentists. One of the members of this group came to the International Club where we were staying and gave us a talk – see this link
Thanks to the work of another wonderful medical team this year we identified children in the three schools who need a visit to a doctor, dentist or optician and we will pay for their treatment and the bus to ferry them to the hospital, dentist etc. This will be done once the monsoon rains are over.
Thank you all once again for your continued interest, prayers and support
I will try and put some photos on the Nepal Updates Facebook page
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