Here it was, my first day to live back in the village by myself. Again, a little nervous because I’m not yet fluent in Nepali and only the young teacher Kissan can speak a little English. But I was just excited to be back their living, eating and working with them. Whilst doing my best to try and understand how they live to hopefully give me more ideas on how we can help them.
As you can see in the image above and the video below. I made quite an entrance this time, not on a bus but on a tractor fully ladened with cement from the local town. That was a fun and bumpy ride into Aandhimul, and the local children looked a little bemused on my arrival. Actually, I think we arrived at the wrong time as the villagers had just killed a buffalo and were cutting it into pieces not far from where we stopped (see image 4). So at first help was slow to come, as understandably, food was a more important matter at that time. I think the local dogs agreed too!
However, when things started moving we cleared the tractor’s trailor very quickly. These cement bags are not an easy carry, they weigh in at 50kg a piece. I found it difficult just taking it from the trailor and onto the ground. What happened next was pretty impressive (as you can see in image 5). Mina Gurung, one of the teachers from the school said she would help, and I thought are you sure? She only a few inches over five feet, and slender build. But I remembered not to under estimate the strength of the Nepali women, who grow up carrying things on the back. After a brief struggle putting the cement sack into her rope head strap, she was off. Almost every working person has one of these head straps, a vital piece of equipment, especially when there isn’t much flat land to pull things on wheels. The amazing thing is that she weighs the same as the cement.
A few of us decided to take a cement bag each to the school, and what a challenge that was. It was about 500 metres on foot, the first 350m going down tight mud paths and up for the last 150m. Wow, after one trip my neck was sore. It took us 10-15 minutes, and once at the school we were sweating buckets. But because we were near the end of the day. We decided to take the remaining cement bags to a house just by the road at the top of the hill, and start taking them again to the school the following day.
Just as we had finished with the cement we also had a tractor’s load of sand arrive (see image 6). This time we just got the labourers from the tractor to dump it on the road side and we would deal with it the next day.
Before settling in my family’s house for the evening, I wandered down to the river to have a wash, as there are no are no showers or bathrooms here. Then after I was lookng forward a big plate of Dal Bhatt, and luckily for me it included the buffalo that was killed earlier that day. And I was lucky, because eating meat is rare in the village, it may happen once a month, more during festival times.
Afterwards I tried speaking with the little Nepali I know and enjoying the moonlight, hillside view, before retiring to my sleeping bag and inflattable mattress.