I have always had an appetite for adventure. In 2016, when one of my friends offered me to volunteer for a school building project in Phulkharka, Dhading, Nepal; without a second thought I accepted the offer. I was more energized in light of the fact that, the name of the place was not really heard by anybody. It was July: the month with the highest levels of precipitation. The roads are usually muddy and are prone to accidents. I was sure that this trip was going to be an incredible experience.
Day 1: Kathmandu to Tarebesi
We, 7 of us, reached to the bus station, Machhapokhari at around 7am and took a micro from Kathmandu to Dhading. It was two hours ride. We had our lunch there, did some groceries shopping and headed to Phulkharka on the back of a milk-truck.
It was a roller-coaster ride. The roads had been washed out due to heavy rainfall so the ride was just aggressive; they wanted to drive through the mud in high gears and with great force. Still, the truck skidded to a halt in many places. The locals and the commuters had to dig the mud for the truck to pass but to no avail. We realized that we had spent half of the day travelling in a milk-truck. Some of my friends started dodging off as it was already 10 at the night so we decided to proceed just half of the way and spare a night in Tarebesi.
Day 2: Tarebesi to Phulkharka
Next morning, we had our breakfast and again got into the ride and the process begun anew. After 2 hours of ride we found out that the forthcoming path was obstructed by falling of a tree. Consequently, we had to take 6 hours hike to reach Phulkhara. Hiking was fun! Especially when the trail was through the scenic natural attractions. We got to relax and take pictures on beautiful water streams on the way. Fortunately, there wasn’t any downpour during our hike which made the journey easier. The weather was cloudy and refreshing. And, the place looked equally beautiful.
Day 2, 3 and 4: The school building project
Ever wonder how building a school feels like? It feels amazing, especially when you are a teacher and you have your co-fellows accompanying you. In 2015, when Nepal was hit by a massive earthquake with the magnitude of 7.8, most of the buildings were collapsed. Many schools didn’t have a proper classroom to run a class. So, my friend was here in Nepal to reconstruct these school buildings using earth bag construction. We started from sewing the polypropylene bags to digging for the soil, filling the bags with the soil, stitching them, placing the barbed wire in-between each course of bags to hold them in place, tamping and finally drilling the iron rod.
Well, touring back wasn’t any easy. Had to undergo many analogous situation but everything was worthwhile. Learned how the Earth-bag construction works and the entire process of building it which was a new experience for all of us. Also, we are glad that we could be a part of the process. Being a teacher, just imagining how many children will get to read and write in the classrooms after the building process gets completed was simply amazing. It was one exuberant experience, especially because of the lively people around to have fun with. A week of a trip went in a blink of an eye.