5/27/19 - 6/4/19
We have spent the last week in Namsaling assessing for future EWB projects. We are staying in a homestay in the Shukrabare bazaar. It seems like everyone we meet here knows Bhupal. This makes us feel welcome, however makes walking anywhere about three times slower. Also, many of the local women are very interested in Cosmo’s nose ring. He is quickly pulling ahead as the favorite, especially at our homestay! No one believes he isn’t from Nepal!
The main project we have assessed for is a drinking water distribution system in Hatitar. Hatitar is a small village, of about 18 homes, in Ward 4 of Maijogmai. It is about a two hour walk from our homestay, including our usual stop for chiya and kaja (tea and snacks) at one of Bhupal’s friends house’s on the way there and back.
We met with Hatitar’s drinking water user committee and discussed the potential project, and so far we feel the project will be a good fit for the team. The community members are excited to work with us, and are creating plans to contribute capitol costs and labor for the project and establish funds for maintenance. Once every home in Hatitar has a tap, the community plans to create a meter system to measure and conserve water usage.
On the technical assessment side, Hayley and Mike have bonded over their passions for hand surveying. We have all refreshed our trigonometry skills learning how to use Abney Levels to measure elevation. We have started water quality testing of Hatitar’s spring source, measuring for parameters like E. coli and nitrate content. We’ve set up a makeshift lab in Cosmo and Evan’s bedroom (if you were wondering, growing E. Coli smells terrible!) However, our homestay family was a little suspicious when we asked to borrow the kitchen stove to heat test tubes.
We have also met with officials from Ward 3 of Maijogmai to discuss the EWB-USA community partnership application and creating a water quality profile for the area.
In addition to assessing the Hatitar drinking water system, we have checked out two other potential drinking water projects in the area. As we walked through the town on the way to a spring source above the Sukrabare Bazaar, several people sitting on the porches began yelling at Bhupal. When we asked Bhupal what they had said, he told us, “they asked why I was taking you up there where you will be eaten by leeches.” Walking through the jungle, we saw many leaches, but not nearly a fraction of what Evan imagined had gotten under his socks.
When we are not working, we have enjoyed playing soccer with some of the locals. On Saturday night we played a big game. Mike and Cosmo got to relive their high school soccer glory days when the team they played on with Hayley took a narrow victory over Noah, Eliza, and Evan’s team. A few of the Nepali kids really seem to enjoy headers, yelling “heading heading” loudly as they pass it to us!
Today, the team heads back to Ilam for the next week to monitor past EWB’s past projects, and tomorrow we say goodbye to Mike and Jennifer as they return to the States.
Until next time,
The travel team