A few days ago, Rosha and I returned from our trip to Nepal. With hesitation to use words of such weight, it really was a trip of a lifetime - one that humbled me and that created memories that will last a lifetime.
There were few moments to relax during the trip, as it seemed like we were always up to something, from helping with the Impact Nepal Earthquake Relief team in the Sindhupalchowk district, to organizing the logistics to build a school in Harmi village of the Gorkha district, to coordinating with the Primary Health Care and Resource Center (PHCRC) in the Chapagaun village of the Lalitapur district.
The first endeavor that we undertook was to work with some of our friends at the Impact Nepal Earthquake Relief team to help rebuild homes for those who had lost their shelter during the earthquake. With about a dozen other volunteers, we helped distribute materials to help rebuild about 450 homes in the weekend trip in the Sindhupalchowk region, a rural, rugged, isolated, and mountainous region of Nepal. As you might be able to see, the homes we helped empower the locals to build are simple to build, sturdy, and most importantly, earthquake and monsoon proof, so hopefully these provide a decent shelter for the immediate and long term times to come.
One of our primary intentions during the trip was to ensure that Nepal is going to be stronger than it is now, and to ensure this, we raised funds through friends and family back home to help ensure that the children of Nepal are adequately educated. Through family friends, we were able to work in Harmi, Gorkha, a village within km's of the epicenter of the first earthquake to help rebuild a school that has been soundly destroyed. We were a bit fortunate in our timing to do this project, as monsoon season was weeks away, and if we were delayed anymore, the roads would be impassable and construction impossible. Over several cups of tea, we discussed with school officials of the ideal location to construct the prefab classrooms, and came up with a plan. We were notified that the owner of a farm next to the former school had given up a plot of his land, to allow for temporary shelters to start holding classes until our project was complete. The selflessness of these people, who often have next to nothing, is immeasurable and incredible.
Following the first trip, we had placed a deposit on the prefab building, and were able to organize the labor and transportation to commence with the project. With the dedicated help of 8 full time workers, and a few days, our classrooms were completed! Thank you so much for the support! Unfortunately, the buildings were completed the day prior to our departure from Nepal, so we were not able to physically see the buildings be completed. When Rosha's family is able to journey to Harmi again, we'll provide photos! Until then, here are photos of our journey's to/from and early construction of the classrooms.
Before this trip, some colleagues of ours at the University of Florida Clinical Research Center who we have worked with before asked if we knew how they could help with the Earthquake Relief, and graciously donated several boxes of medical supplies for our trip. Through friends and family, we learned of the Primary Health Care and Resource Center (PHCRC), a community run health facility in Lalitpur, that runs entirely off of donations and generosity to serve the local community. I couldn't help but be blown away at the comprehensive care that the PHCRC provided, given quite limited resources, and how this clinic is the first to adopt an insurance based medical practice. We forged a strong connection with the clinic staff, and hope to continue this relationship in the future, as you might be able to see in a few photos.
This trip has really humbled me, helping me realize how fortunate we are to have all of the amenities that we do have in America, and how easy life really is. The most touching part for me of the trip was seeing the gracious eyes of the village elders, and the wide dreaming eyes of the village youth.
I'm a current MD-PhD candidate, working hard to help treat and manage muscular dystrophies