Earthbag School, Agara, Makwanpur Week #1

 To many Nepali's relief, the countries most celebrated holiday of Darshain has finally arrived. It has been a long tough year for Nepal. The earthquakes of April and May, followed by the uncertainty of the new constitution, the strikes, the border blockades and fuel crisis have understandably stretched thin the spirits and patience of many people here. Amidst all the chaos of material shortages, inflated costs, trucks running out of gas, and untold mental and emotional anguish, Good Earth Nepal and Expansion Nepal have been persevering with their humanitarian aims. The Agara Earthbag Elementary Project has finally broken ground ! 

 Day 1 of Digging the Foundation Trench. 

Day 1 of Digging the Foundation Trench. 

After 2 weeks of a drawn out logistical nightmare of dimension calculations, cost analysis, purchasing and transporting materials and tools, struggling with a severe shortage of fuel, Good Earth and Expansion Nepal finally got down and dirty with community members of Agara, Makwanpur. The initial stages are underway of the valley's first permanent school structure since the Earthquakes of April and May saw the school completely collapsed, reduced to rubble... 

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Luckily, the school was empty of its 200 student children when the earthquake struck. There has since only been a corrugated metal frame with a rocky earthen floor with a few benches and tables for the school to work with. Attendance has understandably drooped. As the villagers of Agara live a life of constant subsistence farming work, the task of adequately rebuilding the school on their own without extra support is relatively impossible. Good Earth and Expansion Nepal have made it their latest mission to support the community of Agara in their development into a dream village, putting the children first. 

 8 year old Nambrita takes notes during a chess lesson in her temporary home in Agara. Her family has been hosting Good Earth and Expansion Nepal members during the preparation and initial building days before the holiday break of Darshain. 

8 year old Nambrita takes notes during a chess lesson in her temporary home in Agara. Her family has been hosting Good Earth and Expansion Nepal members during the preparation and initial building days before the holiday break of Darshain. 

 Sandesh, 5, sits with a Good Earth Volunteer's solar charger and laptop. He and his sister Nambrita enjoyed their first week time hosting volunteers thoroughly and will be attending the Agara Earthbag school upon its completion. 

Sandesh, 5, sits with a Good Earth Volunteer's solar charger and laptop. He and his sister Nambrita enjoyed their first week time hosting volunteers thoroughly and will be attending the Agara Earthbag school upon its completion. 

As Nepal settles in for the Darshain holiday festivities with family and friends, the time has come to reap the seasons harvests and put work aside until the end of Darshain. In the meantime, The Good Earth and Expansion Nepal team are taking some time for themselves as well, reflecting on the journey with more news updates to keep followers informed. Happy Darshain from the Good Earth and Expansion Nepal team in Agara and Kathmandu Nepal ! 

 

 Agara, Makwanpur, with the Annapurna Himalaya faint in the distance.

Agara, Makwanpur, with the Annapurna Himalaya faint in the distance.

 Expansion Nepal discussing wooden roof plans and work agreements with Agara community members.  

Expansion Nepal discussing wooden roof plans and work agreements with Agara community members.  

Article and photos by Good Earth and Expansion Nepal volunteer Erich Burton.