Bachchhala Camp Shutdown

There isn’t a lot to say about the shutdown of our campsite up on the hillside. We mostly dismantled everything, moved into tents and had a sale of left over materials for the community.

Here is a slideshow of some images over the week:

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The Final Touches – Painting

Painting

There is only a few days to go and the pressure is on! Most of the work that is left includes touch ups, tidy ups and general prep of the site to have it nice and ready for hand over.

I spent most of my time during these days painting the staircases. Ginny and I must have done at least 7 coats of paint on both banisters combined. By the end of it we were pro’s and had a great little system going.

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This is the before and after of the second staircase, not only were we painting the banister a couple of other people were painting the walls around us. There was also even a clean up team trying to clean the same space we were working in.

Elsewhere on the site….

At times it  felt like there were so many people working on top of each other, but it did really work. Everyone could see what needed to be done and jumped in where needed. Towards the end we had a community sale where we offered excess materials and tools to the locals.

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To support All Hands in Nepal click here to visit my Just Giving page. You can also find out more about All Hands and the work they are doing across the world by viewing the All Hands website.

BACHCHHALA – The Final Excavation

It’s been a year and 10 days since the first excavator came to site. Today marks the last day we will need an excavator.

Our site is one big mound of mud, the past year we have changed the floor level by almost a metre in some places. This is just excess mud from previous excavations, left over materials from activities such as sand sifting and just general use of the land.

It took 1 excavator almost 2 days to level both the top and bottom terrace for us and about 1 or 2 days for us volunteers to hand level the area behind the buildings that he wouldn’t be able to reach. It’s now ready for us to complete the final touches to the land for the handover.

To support All Hands in Nepal click here to visit my Just Giving page. You can also find out more about All Hands and the work they are doing across the world by viewing the All Hands website.

WASH – Toilet Block

A massive thank you to those who have donated to help raise £260 of my £325 fundraising target. I have 3 days left of my 10 day goal and wanted to share with you what this money equates to on site. Roughly the £260 raised is the equivalent of approximately 40 bags of cement and today we completed a 40 bags cement pour.

40 Cement Bags

Today’s concrete pour was once again for the WASH, (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) project. This time for the lid of the septic tank, which also acts as the floor of the toilet block. Here are some pictures of the team, laying out and prepping the area before we got started.

Next the team in front of the mixer needed to prepare for the mix…

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Then just like on the previous pour I was back on the movement of the wet mix, which this time was a little more difficult as we had to navigate a mini obstacle course to get to the slide we were sending the mix down.

Down the slide

Progress images…

and that is what 40 bags of cement can create when mixed into concrete 🙂

To support All Hands in Nepal click here to visit my Just Giving page. You can also find out more about All Hands and the work they are doing across the world by viewing the All Hands website.

WASH – Water Tank Pour

Today on site we had a concrete pour for the walls of the underground enclosed water tank for WASH, (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene). To get to this stage we had already dug out a hole in the ground and poured a concrete base. A team had created form work around the placed rebar ready for the whole team to be able to complete todays pour.

Counting the mixes

Today also marks the week I’d decided to start a fundraising push to help me raise enough money for All Hands Volunteers to equal the price of 50 cement bags. My goal is to reach £325 within 10 days. That’s £6.50 a bag, or 9 USD or 900 NPR.

So with that in mind I wanted to share with you what happens on a cement pour and how we all pull together as a team to finish as quickly as possible. This pour took about 30 to 40 bags of cement to complete with a similar number of mixes.

To make the morning run smoothly the volunteers are split, those in front of the mixer and those behind. The jobs of those in front of the mixer revolved around the dry materials where they would shovel and shift the sand, gravel and cement needed for each mix. The mix team would collate this, (add in a waterproofing agent) and then mix.

The back team is then responsible for moving the wet mixed cement to its location, where some more volunteers and masons are waiting to receive it. In this instance we would wheelbarrow the mix to the form work, tip it and then the masons would vibrate it to ensure the concrete was evenly distributing around the form work.

I was moving the wet mix today, which isn’t easy. Especially if you get a full barrow in a broken wheelbarrow. Here is a little photo journey of my task.

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A couple of weeks later, we removed the forms and had to waterproof paint it all, which was not fun in such a tight space!

Waterproof Painting The Tank

To support All Hands in Nepal click here to visit my Just Giving page. You can also find out more about All Hands and the work they are doing across the world by viewing the All Hands website.

Bachchhala – The Gravel Run

At least once or twice a week we would have to head back down into the local town to collect our gravel. The delivery truck wouldn’t make the drop at the top of the dodgy windy road at our site. So instead we would have to take an empty truck down (about 1h journey) to where the drop had been made and hand shovel the gravel into our truck. This was not an easy task, but quite a quick one.

Some days we would fill 2 or 3 trucks and others we had a lot of waiting time between work, where we would take advantage of the town shops that sold ice cream, cheese and lassis. After filling the trucks we would then have to make the bumpy ride back up to our site, sat on top of the gravel.

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To support All Hands in Nepal click here to visit my Just Giving page. You can also find out more about All Hands and the work they are doing across the world by viewing the All Hands website.

Day Trip To Jalpa

It’s only taken me a year, but I finally got the chance to visit Jalpa, another school site that opened the same time as Bachchhala last year. This year they have reopened it to complete a WASH, (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) program for the school.  There is currently only a small team up working up there, so they sent a bunch of us on a day trip to help out with a big slab pour for the water storage tank.

Slab Pour

This trip involved a 5am start and a vehicle change to get us up to the village. Once there we got straight to work and completed the pour in about 3hour just before the most incredible lunch. The Jalpa site was beautiful, the team had been camping up on the hillside and had only a short walk to work each day.

BBQ Buff Stop

The work day was only half the fun and on our journey back we made a quick stop at the BBQ Buff place to treat ourselves before making our way back to Bachchhala in a gravel truck, (that another team had kindly filled up for us).

Return journey on the gravel truck

To support All Hands in Nepal click here to visit my Just Giving page. You can also find out more about All Hands and the work they are doing across the world by viewing the All Hands website.

Return to Bachchhala

So after my short trip to India and my mini stint at the Prithvi WASH, (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) program, it’s been about 5 or 6 weeks since I last saw Bachchhala. Unfortunately I didn’t take too many pictures in that first week as the build was happening so quickly I couldn’t keep up with it all.

You can just about see the second building behind the first

When I left the second building was just at 2nd floor level and on my return it was fully built with the roof pour being completed just days before my return. The other noticeable difference was the WASH program and how fast that was coming along. My first day back on site involved a huge concrete pour to complete the walls of a septic tank.

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As well as taking part on site, I as normal got many chiya invitations, most of which would include Ronni chasing the animals around the garden!

To support All Hands in Nepal click here to visit my Just Giving page. You can also find out more about All Hands and the work they are doing across the world by viewing the All Hands website.

Prithvi Wash

I got back to Nuwakot this week and found out that Prithvi had re-opened, (the same day I returned), for the completion of a WASH, (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) program. There was such a nice small group of volunteers that I said I was up for volunteering for a couple of days before I went back up to Bachchhala.

My Bee Sting

I spent one day on site…. loved it… got stung by a bee… had an allergic reaction to both the sting and the medication… then got knocked out of action for the week.

In total I must have spent about 2 weeks with the group and loved every minute of it. Not only did we have loads of fun on site, our evenings were normally quite eventful and our access to good food was plentiful.

On site we were constructing 3 things, a septic tank, soak pits and the toilet block. When I left we had finished the soak pits, almost finished the septic tank and had just started the walls to the toilet block. I think the project took about 6 weeks in total to complete.

My amazing Team

A special shout out to Team Exotic And Dances, (who may or may not have formed after my departure).

Prithvi WASH Team!

The Soak Pits

The excavator had already dug us out a nice pit, unfortunately it wasn’t deep, long or wide enough so we had to spend a few days digging away to move out the excess dirt.

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The Septic Tank

Luckily the hole for the septic tank was just right, mostly we just had to assist the masons by ensuring they had enough bricks and masala – lots of sand sifting and hand mixing in the heat!

The Toilet Block

I didn’t have a lot to do with this at the start as Neha and Karla did such a good job at tracing out the building ready for us to install rebar and pour the foundations. Again a lot of this work was masala mixing!

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Crazy

I really enjoyed my time on site. The team was amazing, hard working and a lot of fun. We would eat snacks at chiya and get to order anything we wanted at lunch! – a luxury compared to Bachchhala. Chicken Kaja set was by far my favourite.

We also had our fair share of crazy locals who would pop up and lend a hand throughout the day.

 

 

Base

Being close to the town our evenings were not as limited as they were up in Bachchhala. We could easily pick up great food, sometimes ordering take away and other times cooking for ourselves. (I even found ways to get free cheese!) Wojtek discovered the local tailor, Steph became a hairdresser, Nabaraj would dance the night away and Praj was… well Praj.

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I went back to Prithvi and took this picture of the completion. The team did an absolutely amazing job and it was a shame to leave them, however Bachchhala is my Nepali home and after a while it was calling me back.

Finished Site

Bachchhala Site Progress – My First Week Back

What’s happened since i’ve been gone

Since I left back in 7 months ago in June there have been a lot of changes on site. Due to the monsoon season a lot of the building construction was put on hold, so that work could commence on stabilising the land surrounding the buildings.

Site!

When I left in June the first building hadn’t even reached ground level. Now we have one building and the second is at 1st floor level, almost ready for the ceiling/floor slab to be poured. You can also see in the image the the baskets that make up the gabion wall that retains the land the classrooms are built on.

The clear area where the debris from the damaged school site had been cleared

The other biggest change that had occurred in my absence was the removal of the old school building debris. This image shows the site where the original earthquake damaged classrooms had been. Last year I helped with the demolition of this building and it was so nice to see the rubble having been cleared. The school has since been using this space as an outdoor learning area and as a playground.

To see some before images click here to see my original bachchhala post, click here to read about the demo week and click here to see what it looked like when I left in June.

What I got up to in my first week

Rebar Team

It won’t come as any surprise to learn that rebar was a big part of my first week back in Bachchhala. I spent my days on site with the most amazing team bending diamonds and rectangles for the 2nd building’s 2nd floor columns.

Bending Diamonds

New Rebar Station

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I wasn’t bending the rebar, I was up on the 2nd floor of the 2nd building tying the rebar. There was also a team building and painting the formwork for the next concrete pour.  Job wise, it was either work with the rebar or be in the sand sifting team, where we had to hand sift all of our river sand deliveries to clear out the pebbles.

Tying the Rebar Floor

Finished Rebar Floor

We had to hand sift our sand deliveries

To support this project click here to visit my Just Giving page. You can also find out more about All Hands and the work they are doing across the world by viewing the All Hands website.