Bumpy roads, meandering through mountain landscapes, lead us to the village. Small houses cling to steep mountain sides. Corn grows on fields that are more vertical than horizontal. Here on this slope, far from the peak of the mountain and far from the valley, people live their lives.
We’ve traveled here to observe Build Up Nepal’s training of the villagers and part of the construction of an earthquake resistant house. As we arrive they are making blocks. A mixture of earth and concrete goes in, a block comes out. A villager lifts out the block, blows away the dust that’s left on the surface and puts the block where the other ones are. Looks easy enough. But when we try it it’s hard to get a good grip. The block is heavy and as soon as you put your fingers too far out then the edges break and the whole block has to be scrapped. The new blocks are very frail. It will take almost a month until they are ready to be used.
Then we observe as they bend and place rebars on the foundation of the house that they are building. They get instructions as they work. We film, take pictures and ask questions.
Unfamilar bacterias and food has made most of us a bit sick by now. I felt worse a while before, really weak and sick, but now I’m feeling better. Hoda, whom I’m working on the project with, got sick a little bit later and is at the worst stage. Also no one of us has eaten since breakfast and the travel has been long so we’re all pretty tired. We sit down to rest and look at the landscape. The mountains are so large. There is a big difference in altitude between valleys and peaks which makes their size much more impressive. And they are completely covered in forest, cultivations and villages from top to bottom.
After a while the nice villagers put a foam rubber mat for us in the shadow of what looks like a banana tree and bring us some food. Beaten rice and cauliflower curry. We rest there almost until it’s time to leave.
In late afternoon they help us look for somewhere to stay. It turns out to be hard. We are told that there are school exams and all the children of the area are in the village now, occupying all the rooms. When it’s already dark we finally find two free rooms in a simple house with an unfinished upper floor. The family brings us some dal bhat which tastes excellent.
In the night some of us sleep bad because of mosquitoes and other insects making noise and being annoying but I sleep well almost the whole night.
In the morning Hoda still isn’t feeling very well so she leaves with our driver who is heading back to Kathmanu.
We hike up the mountain to the construction site which takes about half an hour. It’s raining a little but it’s still hot and we’re soon covered in sweat. The work at the construction site isn’t supposed to start until 10 so we hike and explore some more.
At the construction site they are still making bricks and also tying the rebars together. The engineer from Build Up Nepal is at another construction site that is too far away for us to walk to now but he says that he will be where we are in 20 minutes. After one and a half hour he still hasn’t been able to leave the other place so we hike back to the larger village and find a little dusty restaurant to eat lunch. At the restaurant they don’t speak English but we order dal bhat which is one of the two dishes we know the name of.
After lunch we explore the village a little. On the roads colorful trucks and busses travel. Their horns sound as funny as the vehicles look. Besides being very loud they are also musical and they are used all the time, constantly.
The engineer from Build Up Nepal is still stuck at the other place. We decide that there is nothing left for us to see at the construction site today so we walk down towards the guest house again. Back there we meet the engineer who is heading up the mountain now on his scooter.
We haven’t got much else to do today. We explore the area around the guest house and chat with a boy from the family who owns the guest house. He is the only one who seems to know English and is happy to talk to us. He wants to be a civil engineer in the future.
We are thinking of going back to Kathmandu but it’s 3 o clock in the afternoon and the last bus has already left.
In the night I have dreams about spiders. I can’t get rid of them so I turn on the light and see a really pretty large spider at the foot of my bed.
I knew it! I think.
It’s the same kind of spider as I saw in Togo. Probably related to the ones we have in our basement in Sweden as well, just a bit larger. Sooner or later one had to show up. I was just waiting for it to happen.
I take on my clothes and leave the room. At least I don’t panic too much, just hurry to put some distance between myself and the unpleasant creature.
It runs around the whole room at and amazing speed. Then it finds the exit to the corridor and runs along the corridor towards the front door. It doesn’t seem to be happy about how light it suddenly got in the room.
Eventually I go back to my bed and sleep a bit more with all my clothes on.
The next morning we meet the engineer from Build Up Nepal who answers our questions from the previous day regarding the construction. Then he helps us get on the right bus.
Another long, warm and dusty journey begins.
(This entry originally appeared on my own blog https://theothertrain.wordpress.com/category/nepal-project/ )