Nepal Odyssey: the Plight of a Remote Village
By S. Glass
Carol Williams went to the remote village of Koshidekha, Nepal, with two colleagues in April 2015. Her plan was to spend a month of concentrated time (six days a week) teaching English at the Shree Ram Secondary School and working with the teachers to model, coach, instruct, and guide teaching in a western, more exploratory style of education. Following the month of work, she hoped to spend three weeks trekking in the Himalayas.
“Nepal Odyssey: the Plight of a Remote Village”
Sat, Feb 20, 2pm
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Eight days after their arrivals, the country experienced an earthquake registering 7.8 on the Richter scale. With her village destroyed, schools closed, and no certainty that the after-shocks would end, Williams and her friends had to decide whether to stay put and help the local villagers, figure out a way to get home, or find a way to continue to teach the local school children who wanted so much to learn English. With the airport in Kathmandu closed and roads made impassable from landslides, each of these decisions was fraught with difficulties.
Williams left the States seeking an adventure, but little did she know just what challenges she would face. Nepal hadn’t had a major earthquake in eighty years, and no one knew what to do in the face of such adversity. Every home and building except for the school was destroyed, as the mud and fieldstone construction materials simply couldn’t withstand the shaking. As it turned out, it wouldn’t be the only earthquake Williams had to dodge. A second one registering 7.3 hit the area again on May 12.
Koshidekha is a rural village of nine hamlets in the Kavre district of Nepal. Some children walk as many as two hours to get to school each day. Although the village is only about 50 kilometers from Kathmandu, it’s an arduous trek by bus on dirt roads over which one cannot travel more than five miles per hour at the best of times. It takes two to three hours to get there. Subsistence farming along terraced hillsides rising up from the Koshi River at the bottom of the valley is the primary means of making a living, though most of the young men leave to earn a living abroad. In the distance, the great Himalayas make their presence known on the occasional day when the clouds and mists rise. It’s a picturesque scene that belies the devastation.
Williams came to Nepal under the auspices of two organizations: HealthCare Nepal (HCN) and the Nepal Children’s Aid Center of Kathmandu. Both groups help all children (with special support to girls) to attend and stay in school. For 17 years, HCN has organized healthcare clinics in Nepal, bringing health services to rural schools and communities. Together, the two groups organized several substantial food relief drops, as well as school texts, clothes, and supplies for all children whose homes were destroyed, working hand in hand with local leaders and villagers.