After settling in we assigned ourselves roles within the team for the next three months, and began piloting our baseline survey. Charlotte and Samikshya were elected as our weekly leaders and did a brilliant job, setting the bar high for the next three months. A group of us trekked (an hour in the wrong direction under Vivek’s guidance) to Lamidada to introduce ourselves to a Forest User group and conducted a focus group discussion. Another group walked an hour from our village and discovered a school in Manahari that we weren’t aware was there. The school has been badly affected by last year’s earthquake and are excited to see how we could work together.
The community have made us feel part of the village and we were lucky enough to be part of Shwastani Purnima, which is a celebration after a month of fasting and reading a holy book. We all gathered outside the village leader’s house and listened to traditional Hindu music, and Vivek impressed us all with his amazing harmonium skills. The village mothers put us to shame and danced until midnight under the light of the full moon. Another lovely evening was spent celebrating Sukant’s birthday with a bonfire and a mixture of Nepali and British music.
Our first community network event at Basuki school was a great success, where Mason and Ashish organised a sports day which over ninety children attended and participated in our very own Raleigh Olympics. We managed to raise awareness whilst having fun and hope to do it again after the children’s exams are over. Since the Raleigh Olympics, children from other villages have come to Basuki and played the same games with all the volunteers!
We look forward to continuing this trend in the weeks to come, integrating further into the community and working together, along with our project partner as we develop our livelihoods project.