From New Hampshire to Nepal: A Family Adventure
Updated: Jul 25, 2019
Occasionally, we ask those who have served on a team to Nepal to reflect on their experience. Here is a taste of what a Service Team is like.
Steve has worked for Marian as a machinist for the past 15 years. When his 11-year-old son, Zach, had to do a school project on a living person he found interesting, he decided to interview Marian. During the interview, Zach asked how a 5th grader could help with the work in Nepal. Together they decided that a jacket/clothing drive would be a great way to help. When Marian saw how many things Zach had collected from his school, he asked Zach if he would like to come along to Nepal and help distribute the clothes to the people there. Zach was thrilled at the idea, and Steve, somewhat reluctantly, agreed to go along too.
In October of 2009, Steve and Zach headed off for their Nepali adventure! Jessica met them on their return from Nepal and the entire family travelled to Goa, India where Jessica spent some time with the girls at the El Shaddai orphanage. Here, Steve recounts some of his experiences in Nepal.
We got to the main village of PremNagar where our efforts will be put to use. As in all the villages that we visited, the people had chairs out for us and offered us tea and crackers. The entire village was following us around as Marian showed us the progress of the projects. We spent the next several days working in this village. One of our projects was to test the water quality and check for coli form and e-coli. Two weeks prior to us getting there, a terrible flood moved through this village destroying homes and livestock. Everything in some homes was lost, including all the clothes, cooking supplies, food provisions, and personal belongings. We could still see the water marks on the buildings that were still standing. Our concern was that the water in the wells was contaminated with bacteria from the flood. Some wells are only feet away from the toilets. These toilets don’t have a leech field. They are only holes in the ground. We tested each well for coli form and e-coli. To our amazement, most of the wells were just fine but several had coli form and e-coli. We educated the village on how to treat the water and gave recommendations on the ones that needed to be moved. We also showed them the importance of washing their hands. We brought over petri dishes and swabbed their hands for bacteria before and after they washed their hands with soap. The following day they were amazed that the little red colonies were growing on the dish that was marked “before” washing. We explained that these bacteria are growing inside their bellies and will make them sick. If they wash their hand the bacteria are reduced as shown in the other petri dish. Hopefully they will continue to use soap after we leave.
Our other project included to survey the new land purchased for the new school. Most of this land was under 5 feet of water only 2 weeks before. We took several readings and plotted them down on paper. Several of the local village boys came out to help. I let them look through the transit scope, and they couldn't believe it! They were shocked to be able to see something that was so far away, look so close.
Working hand-and hand-for a few days with the villagers made a bond between us. It was very sad to say goodbye. I can still picture them touching the car then folding there hands in prayer and saying “ja-mashi,” meaning God bless. As we drove down the dirt road back to India, the car was quiet as we each reflected on what we saw. In our heads, plans and promises were made in respect to contributing to their future.
The journey to get to Nepal was eventful in itself, but it’s the work done there that really hits home. I hope in the near future to be able to go back and help build the school with my new friends who live half way around the world.