Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Leaving Okhle, Nepal

Thoughts on leaving Okhle.

As we bade farewell and walked past the line of villagers my emotions were a mixture of elation and sadness. Elation at what had been achieved during the year, and sadness at leaving these gentle, unworldly and courteous people.
The opening of the water project had been a wonderful occasion. Cutting the ribbon and seeing clear, fresh water flowing from the taps was immensely satisfying. And how hard the villagers had worked – 2 water tanks, 1200 metres of pipes and five new standby taps, all for £3500. What would this have cost in England?

The visit to the Secondary School had been no less enjoyable. On climbing the steep path, we reached a plateau and then walked through a 150-metre guard of honour, posies in our hands and garlands round our necks.
Our welcome at the Primary School had been just as exhilarating, and providing the funds for an extra teacher needed by these delightful children was a source of immense satisfaction to us all.

Squatting over a hole in the ground or washing in the cold water was a small price to pay, and who knows, by the time of our next visit the two toilets and two showers we have funded may well be installed.

Looking ahead at my companions, I felt enormous gratitude. Clive Davies and Richard White had been with me at the outset, and had given much needed support and encouragement throughout. The remainder of the party had all made donations, helped to raise funds and most importantly, had provided considerable enthusiasm and friendship.

As the village disappeared from view I was joined by Bimal. “You know, I feel quite proud of what I’ve achieved for my village” he said. What an understatement! His contribution to Okhle will never be forgotten.

Richard Backwell


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