NEPAL – Volunteering in Melamchi part 2

Everyday I’m rubbling…

(Written by Steph)

Day 1:

The first day on site was a struggle. There were some high expectations, which I found tough, but at least I had Nick. He shined as the nurturing husband, offering me help when he could see me struggling. Mentally, as well as physically, I was so glad to have him there. Clearing a school was definitely less personal than a house. However, the hardest thing that day was the lack of music. In Kathmandu, every team had a portable speaker, and even shit music, I begrudgingly admitted, was better than nothing at all. Music is one of my most motivating factors, and I would make it my mission to get on a team that had some the next day.

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The School site on the second day of rubbling there

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Day 2:

Only day two and we lucked out. People seemed less daunting when we got to know them on a one-to-one basis, and importantly, on the team we chose today, we had music! Furthermore we had The Strokes, The Beatles and The Chili Peppers, and not only that, they also knew who Kurt Cobain was. Ha! We would come to be known as “The Geriatrics” – a group of thirty-somethings fondly dubbed by our youthful 25 year old leader.

This site was fairly straightforward, and was nice because it was a house. However, there was something a little bit strange about the men coming along and watching us work. We had previously worked on homes of people that were either not physically able to take on the task themselves, or that needed to farm etc, and therefore had no time to do so. Here, it seemed that the guys were physically able, and evidently had the time to sit around watching us sweat our balls off. Without knowing the full story, we decided we would have to reserve judgement, and focused instead on the task at hand. We also had a great time enjoying the company of several household’s worth of children, who came to watch us work, and even hurled a few rocks
themselves!

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Our mini helpers 🙂
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Although we had translators for initial instructions, these sometimes changed and a game of charades ensued!
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Second site...nearly finished!

In the evening meeting, Rico had asked for someone with a good camera to visit all the different sites and take some photos. Too shy to admit his own talents, I volunteered Nick, before realising that I would have to cope without him on site.

Day 3:

Today we finished our first site in the morning, and as the rest of The Geriatrics moved onto a new site, Nick set off to take photos. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it. I was happy for Nick, I knew that he would come up with the goods, and it was important for him to find recognition in his passion. Plus, I was quite happy in The Geriatrics, singing along to 90s ballads and “rock lining” – the art of throwing rocks down a line to move them from place to place. I supplemented this with a game of, “How many songs have lyrics with the word ‘rock’ in?” Quite a few FYI.

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Rock-lining one of the big ones. These things were heav-y!
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The Demolition team surveying a building to come down
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Demo team at work

Day 4:

The Geriatrics, though the members changed slightly, would be the team we would remain on for the rest of our time in Melamchi. Apart from today. In yesterday’s meeting, we neglected to launch ourselves at the sign-up board, and were pipped to the post by some other volunteers. A mistake that we could not afford to repeat. Nick was abandoning me again. Apparently the demolition team were taking down a roof and it might make a great photo. So, this morning I had no Geriatrics and no Nick. The result? A morning of me trying, and failing, to instigate games a-la Never Mind the Buzzcocks. No one was having any of it. Sandra, a beautiful Ozzie with a great sense of humour, did try and humour me, but when every category of alphabet game ended at about G, I knew I had to get back on the other team and stay there…

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Boris, school site team leader, giving the wall a good bash
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Easy target. I must've tried to instigate one too many Buzzcock-esque games...
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Not quite finished the school, but happy to be getting there
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