On 16 June the Timaru Branch NZCFS viewed an interesting presentation by Geraldine Tramping Club members, Colleen and Russell Winnington, who were members of a Club group which travelled to Nepal in 2012 to install a water supply to remote Damar village.
Nepal is smaller in area than the South Island of NZ but is home to 30 million people.
Litter and rubbish is a huge problem in the towns and cities and no-one seems to have a solution for this. There are few roads and supplies are carried by yaks or on the backs of porters who can carry huge loads.
Since 2010, Club members have travelled to Nepal to improve the very basic facilities in Damar Village at an altitude of 3000m and home to 30 people. It is just outside the Solu Khumbu District which benefits from the many trekkers who pass through on their way to Base Camp and Mt Everest.
On the Club’s first visit solar lighting was installed in village houses and the nearby school. Nurses in the group treated many health problems and provided basic health education. Head lice, skin and eye infections are common. The village is surrounded by terraced hillsides where crops are grown and some forested areas.
The 2012 water project involved laying pipe from a reservoir above the village to outside taps in the village. The existing water supply was polluted and unreliable and contaminated by animals (yaks and goats) which were able to access the source. The reservoir was fenced and covered and a filter installed resulting in much cleaner water. Books and clothing were donated to children in the village.
The villagers heat their homes and cook over open fires with no outlet for the smoke. The group installed a small metal cooking stove with a flue in one house resulting in a much healthier atmosphere. They plan to install more stoves in the future. Future projects include a mobile health clinic to benefit surrounding villages.
The club have set up a trust to administer this on-going project and many individuals and groups are making contributions. Members travel to Nepal at their own cost and donations of money and suitable goods are welcome.