The first full day in Nepal was set aside for us to visit a place that related to the various projects that sponsorship will have gone towards. Each one of these was for a specific goal such as better education, and equal rights. So for this day I’d be going out at 06:30 and would be helping to clean the streets. So what this actually meant was getting up at 05:30 so I could get ready for the day, and have breakfast at 06:00. For breakfast I had a round of toast and a couple of pieces of bacon and sausage.
It was a short drive to our meeting point where we would meet up with another group in a sort of private square. As we were waiting for them to arrive we were served some lemon tea and got to talk amongst ourselves. Once the group arrived we headed down the road, to a place called Boudha.
This area was a path between buildings with two open spaces that some reasonable looking buildings looked down on. The problem here is that although the land is privately owned they don’t know who owns it yet, but the locals dump their rubbish there. The reason for this is that it’s just something they’re used to doing as they don’t understand the consequences of the pollution, and some can’t afford the collection cost (which would be about 25 rupees) either.
It may seem strange for us to clean it for them in an area with money, but by doing this we could try to change their mindset since this area could afford the collections. As a backup to this they also have a program in schools to educate all children on proper waste management. This is something we’d get to see later in the day.
We were each given a face mask and gloves and were then set to work on picking up rubbish. After a couple of hours we’d run out of bags and it seemed like there was an incredible amount left to do, but comparing it to how it was before it was actually a tremendous difference. There was still work to do though and they’d now hire a couple of labourers to finish the task, put up a new sign indicating it was illegal to dump here (this arrived before we left), put up lights for it, and initially have a guard patrolling the area.
For dinner we were led to a nearby restaurant called Vajra, where we had Nepalese dal bhat which consisted of rice, vegetable curry, chicken curry, and poppadoms. They also had some homemade pickle as well which was very hot. This actually didn’t take too long and we were soon back outside walking.
Our next stop was a UNESCO world heritage site – the Great Boudha stupa. This one had been recently rebuilt with concrete after the earthquake and had only just been reopened by the Prime Minister that morning so was quite busy. We were there long enough to do a complete lap of the square and to also get inside the grounds of part of it. Although it’s smaller than ones I’ve seen elsewhere, I believe this one is supposed to be the biggest in Kathmandu.
To end this trip we then visited a nearby school to watch the play that they perform to educate the children. I didn’t really understand any of it, but it was explained afterwards as being them showing different incorrect ways of disposing of rubbish, and then the proper ways.
We waited in the square after this for our driver to turn up and take us back to the hotel, but this took about 30 minutes which the guide didn’t seem too happy about. Traffic on the way back was slower but we were still the first group to arrive back so we collected our luggage and boarded the bus that was bound for Kakani.
It was entertaining watching them lift the suitcases up onto the roof of each bus. They were secure though as they were also being strapped down and it made me think of how they’d transported luggage in Africa. For this journey I spent most of it talking to the person next to me, but also got a few photos as we headed out of the city and up the winding mountain road.
Not long after sunset we arrived at the lower Kakani community where we had to disembark and walk through the village as they beat drums, and handed us flowers. Some of them in the group ended up with massive bouquets worth! At the other end of the village we reboarded the bus and then repeated this again a little later when we reached the proper village. Here there were also dancers leading us through, and we were shown to a prayer room as well.
Eventually we boarded the bus one last time and it dropped us off at the bottom of the path up to summit camp and the Scouts hut that was being used for the food hall. This was a chance to quickly change into warmer clothes if we needed to. We were welcomed up another hill at the sunset bar with momos, and a glass of rum and cinnamon punch. Everyone caught up on how their days had been with their respective charities whilst keeping warm around a campfire. It was a great atmosphere and everyone had stories to share as they also got to know each other.
The evening meal was then back down the hill in the scout building and was rice and choice of curry once more. This did however finish with some sort of sweet dessert. There was also proper cake for some of us as one of the group had their birthday today and was given cake.
The day ended having located the tent I’d be staying in – it was spacious but cold so decided it’d be a good idea to sleep fully clothed. My hope was that after I’d been there a while it would warm up a little. The inside of the tent consisted to two beds with wooden frames, mattresses, and also a solar-powered lamp that I think could also be charged over USB. I didn’t stay awake long though as it’d been a long couple of days.