– We will stand up again –
This slogan, painted on a bus, undoubtedly shaped and guided our thoughts throughout our 3 weeks trip in Nepal. We mainly wanted to visit our dear friends in Karmidanda and also check the actual status of the school and of the project in general. Beaten Sitter from Sülzhayn, who was able to gather unforgettable impressions after the unique donation campaign of the Jugendsozialwerk Nordhausen last year, was now accompanied by her daughter, Franziska Sitter, from Dresden.
The reconstruction is taking place at a really slow path and there is still a lot to do. Everywhere foreign tourists can see and touch the tangible consequences of the Earthquake. The oppressive mood of the last year has given way to a general excitement. Noise, dust, vehicle congestion and traffic jams are bringing Kathmandu back to its everyday chaotic routine.
During our trip, we celebrated one of the largest Hindu festival: the Dashain Festival.
The speeches were quite emotional, not only talking about hopes but even featured by worries and needs of different generations that, unfortunately, have been affected by the same tragedy.
At last the constant aftershocks have stopped. A part from the earthquake, Nepalese people have to struggle with other climate issue! For example, during the monsoon season is quite usual that buses gets stuck for hours do to landslide blocking problems. For us, Europeans, it is incomprehensible to stand, several hours or even days, patiently In a bus!But the experience of taking a bus ride of 10 hours, allowed us to share this “routine” with the inmates of hundreds of buses ahead of us and behind us as well.
We didn´t go to our school in Karmidanda empty-handed. Close friends and family members gave us 400 € to buy missing school material. This action was carefully prepared by our friend, the teacher Jhabraj Neupane.
The purpose of the money and prepared a list of the most urgently needed things.In a specialty shop in Kathmandu, we bought visual and experimental materials for chemistry, physics and biology lessons. The result was surprising not only for us, but also for the shopkeeper. He gave us all the book at a special price with enthusiasm. Once the jeep was full loaded, we started our journey!
At our arrival, the teachers and students received us curiously. The packages were frenetically unpacked and a telescope quickly became a highlight!Somehow we thought it was like Christmas … the joy was huge. A heartfelt thanks to all the donors!
Until now we couldn´t imagine that all natural sciences were only taught theoretically using textbooks without images.
At present almost the entire lessons of the 10 classes take place in makeshift two-lined corrugated iron huts. We took part in some of the lessons to get our own picture.
We couldn´t understand a word and the teacher took a self-evident break. We asked him how he could teach to such a big number of students and she replied smiling: “You should come back here during the rainy season. Then rain is so strong and drums so loudly on the tin roofs that the lessons must be turn out partially.”
In his words, we immediately had a flashback of our first sleepless night in our accommodation in Karmidanda, when it rained so heavily and terribly. At least, that was our impression, but for our friend, however, it was just the last drizzle of the past rainy season. Reconstruction has not been an easy task! The originally planned site for the new two-storey building was firstly rejected, because extreme climatic conditions represent a great challenge for the construction.
Violent down pouring water masses, as well as the risk of a subsequent landslide, had to be taken under consideration. Similarly, regularly onset before the rainy season, extreme storms were observed. For example, in the past rainy season the path to the school was washed away. Stone blocks had to be re-piled up and the route partially had to be laid completely.
Together with an Italian friends and consultants, as well as the local architects, the Walk Alpin association has given preference to a protected location. A school building severely damaged as a result of the earthquake was already demolished this year and now made room for the new one.
The rainy season is finally over and the construction can begin. Last difficulties were solved during our staying. Building material can now be ordered and, starting in the middle of November, a volunteer from Germany will stay in Karmidanda on behalf of WalkAlong eV and will supervise the construction by local builders.
Many unforgettable moments, impressions, experiences, but above all the cordial hospitality made our trip through this beautiful nature something very special.