An update from our project manager Bikram Piya:
“First of all I would like to beg my pardon being late to report on the school and village because I have been very busy for the official opening of the Bandipur social enterprise. Finally it was opened on 12th October. It is named “BANDIPUR CHHEN” HERITAGE GUEST HOUSE AND COFFEE SHOP. There was a grand program in front of BANDIPUR CHHEN on that day. Our headteacher Rameshwor and SMC chairperson Resham Bhujel took part in that program. 12 Rotarian guests from Scotland stayed at the guest house from 12th October. There were 16 Rotarians from Scotland and many Rotarians from Kathmandu, including District Governor Mr. Sanjay Giri. Rotarians from Scotland stayed 4 nights in the guest house.
On October 15th all 16 guests visited our school and they looked at our classes and interacted with the teachers. The Headteacher answered the question asked by the guests. I explained how the Aandhimul Project has been helping the school and village for 10 years.
Rexsona (a government teacher) participated in 3 day training from 15th to 17th October that was organised by ROOM TO READ. This time training was focused on how to teach students to use the library.
With best regards,
Can you help our village and the surrounding communities?
As you may know, there was a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Central Nepal last Saturday. The Aandhimul village, also in Central Nepal, was only 35km from the epicentre. We have been informed that all villagers are okay. The school has not been damaged and some of the villagers are staying in the school grounds and have erected tents to sleep under.
However, some of their houses have been damaged, and we are not sure to the full extent as yet. Our project manager based in Bandipur, also affected by the quake, is going to visit to assess and take pictures of the damage. And we as a project would like to gather funds to cover these costs.
To make a donation via the UK or Europe please visit our fundraising page here http://igg.me/at/aandhimul.
To make a donation via Australia please send Angela an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Angela will then give you a reference number so we can properly receipt and track your donation with World Youth International. When you have received your reference number*, you can make a lump sum donation to the following account:
Account Name: World Youth International
Reference: your personal reference number*
Once you have made the donation, please email Angela confirm the donation amount and frequency for our records.
Thank you from all of the Aandhimul Project team.
On Angela’s trip to Aandhimul in December 2014, Angela brought her daughter Hannah, and Hannah’s boyfriend Jack to Nepal. And on this trip they had planned to make a small documentary about the project, its activities, and its impact. Both Hannah and Jack did a wonderful job in volunteering their time to film and produce the above video.
On behalf of the project we thank them very much for their passion, time and efforts in producing this lovely documentary about the past 7 years of the Aandhimul project. Enjoy!
This time in Aandhimul and Bandipur, with no wrapped presents and no families or decorated Christmas tree, but amazingly great people, chips, pancakes, hot bucket of water as a shower and bottles of wine!!!
The morning was cold and the night in the village was for some disturbed by mouse, or a light in order to scare the mouse. That did not work and for me it was one sleepless night. When asked if we felt comfortable as the mother and her daughter laid down on a rugs of clothes to keep a bit warm, we had to answer yes politely as our luxury was a bed with no mattress. There were no comfortable beds but the comfort was found in the people, the way they interacted with us, cracking jokes and offering the best food they could come up with.
I do remember a weak point for me when I was left in Abu Khaireni alone, with everyone around me being ill, the coldness and the damp air and I wished to be in another place. The impermanence of things soon changed that with a new day, new layers of clothes to keep warm. I remember that all of this is keeping me awake and when I saw the top peaks wearing red under the evening sun I could not grasp a breath. The pettiness of my wining went and something more greatful replaced it. It was hard to talk. Walking up to the Bandipur was an exhilarating experience, waking up to the sun, to the mountains to the possibilities of not eating rice and get spoiled by comforts a tourist place offers, and yes messages, messages from home from loved ones saying Šťastné Vánoce….or Merry Christmas – unwrapped presents these were.
In December 2014, Aandhimul Project members Angela and Joli were reunited back in Bandipur, joined this time by Angela’s daughter Hannah and partner Jack. Together, they spent three weeks visiting Aandhimul village and nearby Yampa, meeting with the schoolteachers and community and planning for the future.
The team spent many hours with the teachers and new principal, Rameshor Lamichane, discussing plans, problems, solutions and hopes for the future of Aandhimul School. They were very happy to see that the school is running amazingly well now, with increased attendance from students, improved teaching from great staff and happier students and teachers. A final session of teacher training for the Project teachers will be run on 29th to 30th December in Bandipur and Angela will hand over a 10000NRP worth of story books with a new bookshelf made by Jack and local carpenter. Angela particularly noticed the vast improvement of the students behaviour and cleanliness at the school and that the school was transforming into a colourful and fun place to be.
Several programs were run after school lessons for the students, including craft activities and sports. The kids had a great time playing a chasey game of buffalos and tigers, with all the students dashing about around the school to escape the ‘tigers’. Angela ran a fantastic art workshop with the nursery students and older kids, cutting out and decorating little paper people. Judging from the colourful mess that was left after the workshop, everyone had a great time. Hannah and Jack also spent a lot of time meeting with students and families around the village to film a short video about the Aandhimul Project to show friends and supports back home more of what life is like in this community.
An all-inclusive community meeting was held in the school, attended by many people in the village to discuss problems and projects not only for the school but for the village as well. It was the first of many designed to encourage the community to come together and support the future of the school and village together. With Bikram, our project manager, and Rameshor leading the way, we hope that the school can become a place for the community to meet and work together to improve their village.
After 7 years of hard work, Angela and Joli are excited with how the teachers and new principal are working at the school and very optimistic about the future of the community. They would like to give a special mention to Bikram, the project manager, who continues to be a priceless addition to the team and they were honoured to experience his overwhelming commitment to the village.
It’s been nearly 3 years since I set foot in the beautiful village of Aandhiimul. In just a week’s time I’ll be walking that hilly road back into the school. I’m really excited now – I can’t wait to see the changes in the school, meet the 2 new teachers and wash my hands under the taps we helped install.
On this visit I’ll be accompanied by my daughter Hannah and her partner Jack. They are both engineers and have worked on aid projects in India giving them some understanding of the work we are doing in Aandhimul. They appreciate the complexity and the importance of giving everyone in the village a voice in the development process.
Joli is also coming to Aandhimul this time so I have the extra joy of spending time with this wonderful woman.
Christmas will be interesting – there are very few plans in place – which really is the best way to be in Nepal – we’ll just work it out as we go. I must remember to buy chocolates today to take for Christmas lunch along with a decoration to put on a tree that we will make somewhere.
So, 6 days to go and lots to do. I’ll keep blogging while I’m away so we’ll talk again soon
I stayed only one night in Aandhimul on my short trip to Nepal this time, and it was to be in a new area I hadn’t stayed in before, with Kishan (project funded school teacher) and his family. His area is in the north of the village above the school which has a beautiful view of the valley below (see image above). In the late afternoon before it got dark we walked around the the whole community so I could say hi to as many of the villagers as possible. It was nice to so many familiar faces and in particular to see the children growing/grown up.
Kishan informed me, as we met some teenage girls who remembered me, that they were the first girls in their community to stay in school until this age. And I could notice the affect on them, they seemed much more confident than those who finish school early. It’s great to see that the mindset is slowly changing and that it is okay girls to continue their education.
Also on our journey, I wanted to see all the new water taps (a boy is washing his clothes in one (see image above)) that were built by the community, CHOICE Nepal and us (in particular Jolana’s amazing efforts and without her there would have been no water project) in 2011. I was so pleased to see many more families were planting vegetables now that the community has much better access to water. You can see a lovely example in the image below.
As we continued on our walk we asked if anyone was interested to come to the meeting in the morning, but as this was festive season it would be a difficult task. In the South of the village there was a wedding ceremony and in true tradition the celebrations were lasting days.
We were invited by Pampha another of the project’s teachers to her house for dinner. It was nice to be able to listen to them and hear there views on the school and the project. We are very lucky that Kishan’s level of English has improved significantly. I can now have a detailed conversation him whereas before it would only be basic. So having him as an interpreter was so advantageous as my Nepali is only at beginner level.
The food Pampha served was very tasty and was cooked on a gas stove, and she and her family are from outside of Aandhimul and have more access to better facilities than in Aandhimul, where most people still cook on a small hand made clay stoves burning wood and bamboo (see image below and video at the bottom of the page). Smoke inhaltion is often a concern and we have noticed some older women with bad coughs, possibly contributed to if not caused by this.
Kishan and me used this time we had in the evening and the morning to have valuable discussions about the community and potential future projects including the Health and Nanglo cooperatives. And you can see pieces for a nanglo being made from bamboo in the picture below and in the video at the bottom of the page. I also enjoyed the morning with his family and other community members and you can see in the video below Kishan’s daughter helping her grandmother to make a nanglo, special moments.
After visiting the furniture shop, Bikram and me rode on a bus to Aandhi Khola and then walked up into the village. As it is the holiday season the school was closed but the teachers so nicely agreed to come and meet us at the school.
It was a typical beautifully, sunny Autumn day and because we had only just left the rainy season, every where was so green and lush. It was great to see. Once arriving at the school I was greeted by the teachers and welcomed with a mala and some tika put on my forehead (see image below).
The two school buildings had recently been painted blue which definitely made them stand out, and the memories from my last visit came flooding back. There were many more resources in the school buildings thanks to all the teacher training workshops Bikram had been organising and the project’s money supplying to fund these resources. I also noticed the water tank, guttering and the solar panel that were new to me apart from seeing them in pictures. They were part of Jolana and the villager’s great work of improvements over the past few years.
After some discussions and updates we decided to arrange a meeting with some of the villagers the following day to plan about potential project support for health and nanglo cooperatives in the community. I was looking forward to staying in the village that night.
After four years I finally managed to return to Nepal and how excited I was. My last trip was with my girlfriend and we hoped to return 6 months later but before we could make it back we were engaged and my fiancé, as she had become, became pregnant with our first child. So the plans to visit Nepal were put on hold. A second child followed and then finally an opportunity became available for me to return this October.
The main purpose of my trip was not only to catch up with all the people in the community but to see how our new project manager Bikram was getting on after his first 6 months working with us.
It was great just to have all my senses overloaded again, the smells, the sights, the sounds. I can honestly say I missed dal bhat as was so happy to eat it again.
I arrived during the Deshain/Tihar festival period which was great to be there during this time and to celebrate with many old friends. It also gave me time to spend with Bikram and discuss about what has been happening and his feelings towards the project and the community, before visiting Aandhimul.
As you can see in the photos, Bikram’s house where I stayed is a traditional Newari building built by his grandfather and has some beautiful hand carvings that is typical with Newari architecture. He also had a plot of land in front of his house where he grew vegetables, and from there he picked to include in our dal bhat every day. And I must say he is a very good cook!