It Takes A Village

“It takes a whole village to raise a child.” ~ Nigerian proverb

Manju Shree Primary School students

Manju Shree Primary School students

The village may be physically located in a poor area of Nepal but the residents now include people from Australia, New Zealand and Scotland.

I’ve just recently returned from a Community Project trip to Nepal with World Expeditions. It was an opportunity to help in the post-earthquake rebuilding of one small corner of Nepal unlikely to receive government help.

Seven Aussies, one Kiwi and a couple of resident Scots (actually, Sheila is Irish and John is English but they live in Aberdeen) dug, picked, shovelled, carried, hammered, pulled, shaped, bent, chipped, cut and ran their hearts out for nine whole days to provide a solid foundation to a new school building in the village of Lura, Lower Solukhumbu, Nepal.

The Lura School Project Team - Sheila, Emma, Pic, Jenny, John, Simon, David, Heather, Judy & Carolyn.

The Lura School Project Team – Sheila, Emma, Pic, Jenny, John, Simon, David, Heather, Judy & Carolyn.

 

An Experience in Gratitude:

For the warm welcome we received from the school and wider community.

For sunny days and the satisfaction of hard work.

For the things we take for granted back home.

Like a truck full of gravel.

Or a cement mixer.

Or a wheelbarrow.

Or for the easy availability of supplies.

For the smiles and fun of children.

For new friendships.

New friends - Project members and school teachers

New friends – Project members and school teachers

For the fulfillment of achieving more than expected.

Solid foundations

Solid foundations

A Story

Based on my previous Community Project experience, I was expecting a lack of access to electricity and mobile phone reception while working in the village so imagine my surprise to have access to both of these luxuries. (What I hadn’t counted on and much worse was the lack of access to chocolate. Tough days…)

Our trekking crew successfully jerry-rigged a powerboard and electric light in the dining tent, feeding off a line from a nearby house.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. As were we. I’m getting to that.

One night, Sheila asked our guide the question that had been on all our minds. “Shouldn’t we pay someone for the electricity?”

Bikash shook his head and explained. “Everyone in this village is so grateful you are here. They are so thankful that you have come to help them. They ask all the time, ‘What can we do? What can we offer them?’ They want to do whatever they can to say thank you for what you are doing.”

There was silence around the table. I think all of us were deeply moved and felt both proud and humbled. The people of Lura have so little and we were the ones to be thankful for the opportunity to do such a simple thing to help them.

Changing the World

In a physical sense, we have changed the world of the community of Lura and the children of Manju Shree Primary School, helping them on their way to a new and sturdy school building.

More importantly, however, our own worlds have changed in ways we are still discovering. We may never see our lives in quite the same light again. And a part of us will always be living in a small village in Nepal.

 

 

 

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68 thoughts on “It Takes A Village

  1. I read this with big tears in my eyes. To be part of something that is a huge deal in a small corner of the world is both life affirming and life changing.
    I’m humbled … I think of all our conveniences and tendency to get irritated at the insignificant.

    Great photos Heather and a great post about a very powerful experience.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This may sound weird but I’m glad you had tears. It means I was able to get across the whole emotion of it because, believe me, there were many tears from us over the days we were there. Truly amazing and, yes, life-changing experience. And such a good dose of perspective.

      Thanks, Joanne. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. As it is Thanksgiving here in America, I am going to give thanks for special people like you, H, and your comrades, who did so much to help this small village in Nepal have a school for its children. THIS is what the world needs right now…taking care of each other as humans, with love. God bless each and every one of you.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks so much, Hilary. It was a highly emotional journey for us all as well as being so satisfying. We loved it so much that when we were offered a day off, we refused. What the local people do with the little they have is absolutely extraordinary. It’s humbling.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This was such a heartwarming post. What an experience it must have been, getting down and dirty with the cement mixers and all that wood building foundation for the school, and I’m sure the village and children were egging all of you on. It looks as if you were the sunshine to their village. The cake at the end was certainly a nice touch, and them sharing a bit of their culture with you. Life is so simple for them 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the kids were a bit wary when we first turned up (even though we were the second World Expeditions team to arrive) but it didn’t take long for a bit of a mutual admiration society to start up. 🙂 There’s something very satisfying about doing a hard day’s physical work. I loved it. All the more satisfying to be working alongside the locals to achieve something together.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Like Joanne my eyes grew teary reading this Heather. Such wonderful and arduous work you did and what a difference it has made for these people of Nepal. Thank you for your big heart and huge efforts.

    How are you doing? Still in hospital? Sending hugs and much positive energy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sue. It’s amazing the connection you can feel with people in such a short time. There were quite a few tears when it came time to leave.

      Still in hospital. They will turn off the anaesthetic feed tomorrow morning and see how I cope without it and just on the pills. If I cope okay, I can go home. Had my best morning this morning so I’m feeling more hopeful than I was yesterday. Still a long way to go even when I get home but one step at a time. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Glad to hear there is some progress H. As you say one step at a time. I am so happy to say that come early March we have booked a hotel in your area for a night or two ( have to check all of our details). Anyway I hope to deliver a gentle in person hug then. For now tons of virtual ones and crossing my fingers for tomorrow for you. Xo

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This is beautiful. I’ve been sitting here feeling grumpy and fed up with the world, and you’ve reminded me of how much good there is in the world. I just need to get off my backside and go looking for it — or better still, try harder to be part of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah, Sue. I think we all need those reminders from time to time. It’s certainly one of the things I gain from the experience – that dose of perspective. It can be so easy to become discouraged with all the bad news put in front of us all the time but these experiences remind me that it can take just a small action to make a difference to somebody’s life.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing this very exciting and moving experience Heather. You did well, but so sorry you ended up in hospital on your return!
    Hopefully you are mending and recovering well. Best wishes! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Barbara. I hope to share more. It was all too much to put into one post.
      I made it home from hospital yesterday and while I haven’t made it yet to my own bed (still have to sleep in a chair) I’m glad of the peace and quiet. (Never thought I’d say that about a house full of boys!)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey Master of the Crowbar, I guess you discovered something! 😉 Isn’t making little rocks out of big rocks what they used to do to punish prisoners? I can see why – it looks like hard work! All of it, from digging to bending wires, looks like hard work. Thank you for the inspiring photo-essay and thank you even more for going and making the world a better place. Even if it is just one very small and remote corner of the globe, the world is better for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did! If only temporary. I got all the difficult nail cases, you know. 😉

      We used to make jokes about being sent to Siberia. It’s really hard and tedious work (but made fun by the company) and I still have bruises on my legs from wayward pieces of rock flying about.

      Thanks, Trent.

      Liked by 1 person

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  11. What a wonderful account of your time at Lura. I am so pleased you had such an incredible time. And isn’t it wonderful to see the school building progressing so well under the steam of the local trades-people. Come and do another community project with us soon Heather. There’s Vietnam, Tanzania … or maybe back to Nepal? (they say once is never enough for Nepal). We think you’re awesome! Warm regards – Donna

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Donna. 🙂 I would do a project trip every year if I could and I definitely want to go back to Nepal. Oh, to be single, childless and wealthy. 😉

      I loved working with the locals. They are amazing in what they achieve with so little. One day the handle came off the hammer I was using to make gravel and so one of the men made me a new handle. Just like that. It was such a privilege to provide some extra hands to get the foundation work done and it’s so wonderful to see the building going up.

      Like

  12. I have just read your posts and viewed very familiar photos – I was part of the first rebuild group at Lura and our experiences were similar – we got much more out of our time there than what we could achieve for the local community. I echo another of our team, Isabel Rios’s comments. I am amazed and full of admiration for the local community that have continued the work and have achieved so much. Amazing and beautiful people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Simon. I’m glad your experience was as amazing as I found mine. I think we have a much greater level of appreciation of just how incredible is the progress they are making because we know full well they are making that progress with very little in the way of resources. When you’ve spent time making gravel with a rock and a hammer and straightening nails for reuse, you gain a whole new perspective on the challenges others face.

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Fantastic to hear from another Lura alumnus. 🙂

      Like

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