The distant journey
"The distant journey"
We never imagined that the 2020 Mission could be so intense, even if lived at a distance!
When the airline canceled our flight, we had to acknowledge that we would have to reschedule our activities in Nepal.
In order not to fall short of our objectives, we have interacted even more often with our Nepalese friends and volunteers to define the implementation of the projects started.
We were supposed to leave on March 20, 2020 and in fifteen days we would have visited all our schools, met the children of the Happy Child project and participated in the inaugurations of the Shree Irang Richock School, the Shree Chandrodaya Multiple College and the "Shree Jakhanisthan Basic School" (in Ramechhap district, which for simplicity we call "fishermen's school").
In the previous period, the construction times were accelerated to complete all projects on time. The greatest effort was to allow the workers to return to the villages on time, as the end-of-school exams were held in Nepal in March, after which the government ordered the lockdown.
Thanks to the photos received from our friends, we visited an incredibly deserted Kathmandu, under a smog-free sky, with its temples illuminated by a splendid spring sun.
The "Shree Irang Primary School" is finally being completed: a project that had some difficulties during the construction and that in 2019 was modified to convert from post-earthquake renovation to new construction of 4 large classrooms. The initiative was designed as a retrofitting of the school structure, already rebuilt by Hanuman in 2010, to make it safe from damage caused by the earthquake of 25 April 2015. Unfortunately, during the mission of spring 2019, to our great surprise we discovered that the government had blocked the start of the works, asking us to review the project with the construction of a new block of 4 classrooms, to better meet the school needs of the community. A new budget and a new program were therefore required, to be submitted again to the Nepalese government.
Our long experience and proven ability and constant assistance in the area, on the other hand, allowed us to complete the project. We hope that the effects of Covid, in the phase of repopulation of the villages, will be a point of greater vitality for this new beautiful school.
Another great satisfaction was the conclusion of the extraordinary “Shree Chandrodaya Multiple College”. The community, actively involved by the school committee, has increased and improved the school year by year, adding new spaces to the school activity, with related services for students (canteen, laboratories ...), managing to optimize the interventions arranged by the government with funds for post-earthquake reconstruction. Since 2018, and significantly in 2019, we have in fact found that the government had begun to build new school blocks adjacent to the structures most affected by the earthquake.
During 2019 and upon completion in 2020, the classrooms damaged by the 2015 earthquake were retrofitted and construction of the second floor is being completed in the second school block. The campus now comprises 2 new blocks, with numerous new classrooms and offices.
This is a project of unparalleled satisfaction. The tenacity and participation of the community has always been of the highest level. We have always interacted with them with the utmost availability and trust. We have always perceived, even in practice, the ability to want to achieve goals, apparently ambitious, but of great use for the local community. It is currently one of the largest school complexes after Kathmandu. It has 2 courses of study as a College: that of economics and that of literature.
Several young people from the long-distance support project attend it and 4 of them have already graduated, obtaining qualified jobs. This has translated into an important social redemption, for themselves and for their respective families.
From the boys of the Happy Home (family home) and from the students of the school, we receive images of warm solidarity, for our initial health emergency, received, with great concern, by the media and which, with the passing of days, will become lived for them too.
We move to the Ramechaap district, where we have experienced extraordinary changes since 2018. The village along the river, on the slopes of the hill where the Pragatishill School stands, has been transformed, becoming a tourist outpost on the way to India. Hotels, resorts, bazaars have sprung up and a new influx of population has arrived, which also enriches school attendance. The government intervened with several buildings, close to ours a dedicated to his friend Giancarlo, who passed away prematurely, but always present in our thoughts.
The community recognized our important post-earthquake support. They have repeatedly expressed great gratitude to us for providing them with numerous emergency houses, avoiding abandonment of the territory when the villages were completely destroyed.
Today the community has revived and regained new opportunities for the future of the local population.
The viability has also been redefined, with new roads and a water intervention for the problem of drought on the hills, due to the displacement of the water table due to the earthquake.
The latest project of the mission awaits us, with the inauguration of the 4 new classrooms, built at the Shree Jakhanisthan Basic School (called "the fishermen's school"), created thanks to the generous help of a Veronese entrepreneur. Also this project, realized in a very short time, is the result of the tenacity of the school committee, which has done a great deal for its community, which is very weak economically. The first time we met the little children of this school, about 6 years ago, they didn't even have clothes or notebooks. The few they had, were reused several times, to allow children to stay in school and be saved from other burdensome tasks, for their tender age.
Our reticence was dictated by the impossibility of knowing the government's intervention program. With the potential change of course of the new road, they would have raised or abandoned altogether the job hopes for the local families, who were tenaciously resisting the post-earthquake.
Finally in 2019 we shared the new territorial structure and the vision of a positive future for the community. And so it was: the students increased significantly and families found new job opportunities.
We shared with the community the expansion of the school complex, with the construction of 4 new classrooms to which was added the project of a new hostel, in which to welcome and care for the many children in need.
This project will be realized thanks to the contribution of AnM, which has started an important fundraising among the many coordinators, friends and supporters. The will is to dedicate the hostel to her friend Anna, who suddenly and prematurely passed away.
This trip was virtual, but only in hugs, towards all our Nepalese friends and volunteers, our students and all those who "from a distance" (only physically) make possible the efficient realization of our projects.
Despite the terrible presence of the pandemic, our expectations for a great year of important successes remain strong. In fact, the safety and reconstruction interventions of almost all the numerous schools of Hanuman Onlus, damaged by the 2015 earthquake, have been completed.
The country tries to recover from the many calamities, but still today it cannot be reasoned in terms of normality.
We can't wait to return to Nepal and the new Mission will start as soon as possible!