My first day on All Hands project Nepal happened to be a day off so a few of us volunteers decided to take a walk up the mountain Nepalese hill opposite from base. Base is what’s left of the Melamchi River View Hotel and over looks the river Melamchi.
I’m situated in Sindhupalchok, the least developed district in Nepal and the 7.9 earthquake last year has only made things worse for communities in the typical Himalayan valley.
After an hour of walking we decided to hitch a ride in the back of a truck with some kids running errands with their father. A few scary bends and sheer drops but we made it up in one piece.
We got off at a remote mountain village which was considerably smaller than Melamchi and the majority of buildings were simple mud huts or temporary aid shelters. It was incredible to see people going about their daily lives which couldn’t be further away from things back home.
Most families have a goat and a dog and some also have a pig, buffalo and chickens. Families here live in small shacks with two rooms. The second room is for women to sleep in when on their periods, something I learnt when working with locals. Toilets are a small out building with a hole and most washing is done at the village well.
I helped this family whack seeds on the ground with some wooden sticks they had made. It was incredible heavy and hard work, I couldn’t believe the elders and children were joining in too. I learnt it was roxy – Nepalese homemade liquor – they were making.
The trek down was somewhat harder, now miles away from base and incredibly high up. We lost the path and had to make our way down the rice terraces, jumping each one.
The forest was dense in parts but every now and then we came across a straw hut with some animals or a rest space inside.
People of all ages were working in the field and I spotted monkeys too. Despite being up in the hills, the air here is a little muggy and it’s often hard to see in to the distance. I believe this is because of people burning rubbish and the pollution from kathmandu. It only takes a clear day to be blown away by the scenery here. I can see the snowy peaks in the Langtang National Park.
Life is incredibly simple here but everyone greets me with a smile. I’ve already fallen in love with Nepal, it’s culture, it’s people. Maybe not the food (!) but I can let that one go. Nepal you’ve surprised me. Now I see why people return time and time again.