Good Earth Experience
“Namaste” means “I salute the God in you”, and with that lovely greeting you’ll be welcomed at the airport by Good Earth staff, all college educated and English speaking. From that first Namaste your safety and security becomes our highest priority, with creating an unforgettable experience running a close second.
First off we take you on a brief tour of Kathmandu. Its crowded, chaotic, an assault on your senses-and you’ll love it! Then half a day of classroom building instruction at our headquarters in Thamel (downtown Kathmandu), using curricula designed by project partner and technical advisor Dr. Owen Geiger, the world’s leading authority on Earthbag building. The more you learn the more you realize Earthbag building is just common sense, so the class will be a breeze. And for lunch we’ll treat you to the best, most authentic dal bhat (traditional Nepali dish of rice and lentils) in all of Kathmandu.
Soon you’re escorted to one of our Earthbag worksites, and the adventure of your life.
Expect a few hours of travel by public bus, car or jeep, and some rigorous hiking at the end. The journey will be rugged but safe and the landscape spectacular. Along the way, be prepared to see, and experience, a very different culture, and a very different way of living. Nepal is a poor county, more so in the rural areas we serve, and is still recovering from the earthquake.
At the worksite you’ll be greeted by our team and brought to your homestay, where you’ll meet your hosts, a village family who’s accommodated our volunteers in the past. Expect only the most basic of amenities; creature comforts are definitely not a part of the program. That’s part of the fun!
You’ll drink bottled water, and tea, and eat freshly prepared food at least twice a day, sometimes over a campfire. Be prepared to eat lots of rice and veggies; though you might eat a little chicken, goat or yak (beef is considered sacred), meat in Nepal’s poorer regions is considered a luxury. If all these wholesome foods sound scary, feel free to bring your own snacks and junk food.
Our building program is the farthest thing from “voluntourism” so you’ll be doing hands-on manual labor, alongside other volunteers and local villagers. Depending on the stage of construction you might find yourself digging a foundation or stuffing and stacking Earthbags, or sewing, or painting and plastering, or doing any of a hundred other tasks vital to building a safe, sustainable structure. All under the supervision of experienced site managers speaking fluent English.
At the end of the workday you’ll have plenty of time to explore your surroundings, meet with villagers and otherwise make the most of a unique experience. Or just relax, and enjoy the sunset.
A typical day at a worksite might go something like this:
7:00: Wake up, eat breakfast
8:00: Work begins
11:00: Time off for tea
3:30: Free time to relax and explore
7:30: Free time