I am so happy to announce that the action project I have started in summer last year has finally come to the very last stage. Since the oil crisis in Nepal has been almost resolved, I went there this month and supported with other US volunteers local families in construction. For one week we were reconstructing houses in Panchkhal, a mountain village close to Kavre, round about one hour drive east from Kathmandu.
It was six days full of hard work. Everyday we started around 9 am and worked for more than 7 hours everyday on the construction site. I guess I have never worked that hard in my entire life: Digging, picking, shoveling, carrying stones and bricks, mixing cement, tamping, and many, many more activities which are needed to build up a decent house.
Habitat for Humanity´s overall goal for that village is to build around 90 houses in one year for the people who got affected by the earthquake last year. Basically, the construction of one house lasts on average four weeks and costs around 8.000 to 9.000 US Dollars. I am pretty proud that the total amount of money I have raised for that project makes it almost possible to finish one single house! How amazing is that!? Thanks again for all your donations guys!! You made that all happen. I am so grateful. And I can tell you now for sure that these people really deserve it. They were so thankful for the support.
At first we were picking, digging and shoveling in order to make the foundation for a few new houses. At an average temperature of 25 – 30 degrees that work was very intense – a lot of blisters in everybody´s hands and sore muscles were pretty common – but at the same time pretty rewarding. You can directly see the result of your efforts. And that is generally good motivation.
After that we built up the walls for the house which generally consists of two rooms, the sleeping and the living room. For that, the bricks have to get initially unloaded from the truck and get carried to the right place. It was so unbelievable to see how everybody worked so hard together in order to get things done. Especially woman were carrying tons of bricks from A to B so other builders could work on laying bricks.
Around noon we were having our daily lunch break and tried to regain strengths by relaxing on the „stony sofa“.
During the week we have shoveled piles of soil aside, got many stones out of the way, mixed many hundreds of kilograms of sand, water and cement, passed many hundreds bowls of plaster, tamped a lot of square meters and picked many pair of gloves to death.
And all of that hard work to get a house almost ready like that. It is now built according new standards so it will not collapse easily like the traditional houses they had before.
In the end of the week we had a farewell celebration. There everybody of the team got a cultural specific appreciation his/her hard work. It was so nice but at the same time pretty emotional as well because we knew that the local people would have to go on working after our departure. And to leave new good friends behind is always kind of sad.
When I remember all the kids of the village who were so happy to have some new people around for a while and realize that they will have a better and safer place to stay in soon, I know that all the efforts were more than worth it!