“Work ethic and teamwork” making lasting change in Gorkha

30th March 2017

When I was in Baltar on our first community phase I met up with 73 year old Rup Narayan Shrestha whose family is a beneficiary of one of the earthquake resilient houses we started constructing. He agreed to talk to me and tell me how the work Raleigh and project partner, Build Up Nepal are doing is changing his life.

He began by talking about his family which consists of him, three sons, one daughter and six grandchildren. Two of his sons have moved to Kathmandu and Dubai to try and raise money to help provide for the family and one son and the daughter live nearby in the village with their children and help look after him.

Describing his daily life, Rup Narayan said: “I spend a lot of time at home. I am unable to do as much work as I used to because of my age, despite the fact that I want to work because of my family’s financial situation. I spend a lot of time at home thinking about my family. I wish I could go and visit my sons.”

I asked him if he could explain why the family’s issues were occurring and he replied: “My family’s income and survival depends on growing crops. This has been limited by the lack of water since the earthquake and is making it much harder for my family to sustain itself.”

I then asked him how he sees his life changing as a result of the work we are doing alongside community members. He became quite emotional and said, “I just want all my family to have room to sleep inside, safe from any future earthquakes. That would be my dream!”

Guy working onsite with Host Country Volunteer, PK, and Volunteer Manager, Dave
Guy (right) working onsite with Host Country Volunteer, PK (centre), and Volunteer Manager, Dave (left). Photo: Saoirse

When I asked him how the he felt about the Raleigh volunteers working on the construction of his family’s future home, he said: “I am amazed that people from all around the world would come to work just for my family. I am so impressed with the work ethic and teamwork they are showing.”

We then began to discuss the youth within the village, or rather lack thereof, as several members of the group including myself had noticed a large age gap between 20 and 40. He said that this was because a lot of young adults were leaving the villages to go and work in more economically developed countries, especially in the Middle East.

His big hope was that a more educated youth would stay within the village to maintain it as well as bring new more advanced ideas that the current community members were lacking due to their poor education. “I was poorly educated and so were many members of our village. A large majority of the village is illiterate.

“It’s great seeing people with a wide mix of backgrounds integrating with the villagers. The Raleigh volunteers are very relatable to the villagers, despite the language barrier, and it’s amazing how much effort they are making to enjoy each other’s company. If there are people reading this who are thinking of joining Raleigh as a volunteer – Nepali or international – they should go for it. It really does make a difference.”

As for his personal hopes for the future, Rup Narayan said: “I just want to keep my family as happy as possible and continue to contribute to the local community.”

Words: Guy
Translation: Preity
Main photo: Flo

What’s next?
16 April – end of Phase 3; return to training centre
18 April – ‘endex’ (end of Expedition); Venturers depart
22 April – Volunteer Managers depart

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