Last night, around 10p, the news was broadcast throughout the country to cheers and celebration. Today shops have reopened, cars and motorbikes have filled the roads, and people are walking around with an extra spring in their step. Life has returned to normal!
Now that we can move freely about the country, we are headed to the project site on Tuesday to get ready for the arrival of our first volunteers. It takes a solid day to get from Kathmandu to the site. The first half of the trip, around 5 or 6 hours depending on traffic, is on the major “highway” that connects the primary cities in Nepal. The second half of the trip, around 3 or 4 hours, is up windy roads into the mountains. We will be tackling the terrain in Jeeps to get to the top.
The building materials have arrived at the site! The project timeline is 6 weeks, in three phases, to complete the new, environmentally friendly campus. Timed with the volunteers’ arrival, each phase of the project lasts 2 weeks. During the first phase, we will focus on the water supply, toilets, and foundation. In the second phase, we will begin constructing the walls, windows, and doors. And in the final phase, we will attach the roof, complete the concrete flooring, and install our Help Hard Wall of Fame for all donors who have contributed $100 or more to the school.
As to be expected, change is a constant in Nepal. It’s a part of daily life. For example, we have been planning for months to build our school out of stones from a local landslide. This week, to keep within our budget, we decided to use red brick instead. In addition, we have decided to build the new school next to the old school because in the last few months, the community built a road that runs too close to the original plot of land. We’ll tear down the old school once the project is completed. The community is envisioning a playground where the collapsing school once stood. Flexibility is the number one trait to pack when headed to any developing country.
In just eight days, we will be greeting Paul Guttenplan, Ryan Larkin, Heather Davis, Kevin Sun, Katie Mackenzie, Heather Jarochym, Carrie Spelts, and Aileen Walsh at the Kathmandu airport!