Oct 22, 2013

Nepal 2013 Week 2 - Communication and Teamwork

After a communication hiccup, fantastic teamwork delivers

Category:Nepal 2013 
Posted by: Rome

This has been a very interesting week among the local villagers.

Last Friday, after a day and a half of digging in the area we believe is the source of their ground water, a group of people began to gather around us, speaking very agitatedly among each other.  We asked our translator what was going on and he said they were arguing about whether or not we should dig any deeper in this area.  Some of them did not believe that whatever water we found would actually show up at the spigot we had installed.

We stopped digging and sent for Ben whose family is our host and who has run the past 4 community meetings.  He explained that some people adamantly did not want us to dig any deeper because they were afraid we might disturb what little water they did have in the dry season. He said ‘could you put a little dirt back’?  I said ‘I think you should put back the amount of dirt that will make people comfortable”.  A group of them walked over to the trench we had been digging for the last couple of days, and filled the whole thing in!

An emergency meeting was called for 6:30 that evening, with one person from every household requested to be in attendance.  Ann and I sat quietly, while again there was lots of loud, gesture filled, everyone talking at the same time, conversation. After about an hour and a half, they apologized and said they would dig out the trench again in the morning, and would like us to continue.  Seems that several people had not attended any of the 4 meetings and did not have a good understanding of the whole plan.

The next morning brought rain and we had a delayed start, but over the course of the next couple of days, there was a new excitement among the locals to get more trenching done.  It seems it had now really become their system and they were getting into the rhythm of how it all got done.

As of today, we’ve installed 500’ of filtration system and we are soooo close to pumping water.  All the water is running very clear and we have only a few sections of trenching to complete and the solar panels to install before they will see running water.

Tasks completed this week by Diana, Jim, Shelley, Briggs, Kyle, Ann and I have been:

  • Clean out and pipe together the 6 tanks at the collection site.
  • Clean out and pipe the distribution tank up at the school.
  • Bury 300’ of water supply lines.
  • Break open the top of the concrete culvert.
  • Install the filtration system in the bottom half of the culvert and the concrete over it with a 4” layer of concrete to handle the monsoon water flow and keep the mud out of our system.
  • Doug spent 2 days in Pokhara at a welding shop to have a grate built to go over the old culvert, posts and frames welded for the solar panels and to pick up more supplies.

Dawn and Rayene continued to keep us well fed, cared for and clean. We even had our first night of S’mores around the fire pit.

Doug wins the prize for the most leech bites (20, because he refuses to wear anything but Tevas)! Among the other 15 of us who have been here so far, only 4 of us have had one of the little buggers on us.

On the cultural side, the local folks have been doing an evening of dancing and music here at the village a couple of times a week.  It’s the high season for trekking here in the Annapurnas and there are lots of international guests daily.  Fun to chat with foreigners about what we are doing….as sweat is dripping from us.

The mountains have been absolutely spectacular the last couple of days! We’ve only had 2 dramatic thunderstorms roll through with the rest being clear and beautiful days.

Week 3 should get to make the water flow!