Wrapping up, for a short break…

#1 July 4th saw another much needed weekend of R&R in Kathmandu before my final 2 weeks in Chautara (for now). Monsoon rains are in full swing causing increasing difficulties for everyone still sleeping outside their homes and those trying to pass by landslides to deliver support. On the other hand the rains have helped the garden to become incredibly lush and are vital for a successful rice harvest so extremely important and necessary;

01 rain

#2 Back to Chautara Monday morning but with a temporary change of accommodation and serious upgrade. Luckily for me, my final two weeks coincided with the free, ramping up period of a new humanitarian camp built in Chautara. More details with the next photo but first – what a location! Everywhere you look this country is just so beautiful…;

02 camp

#3 Each large white tent, holds six ‘pods’ for six guests. This was serious glamping after an extended period in a small, normal camping tent, often sounding like I was sleeping directly under a waterfall in the monsoon rains and taking showers in a bucket in a toilet. Upgrading to a proper bed, hot showers and even a Swedish chef on site was pretty amazing, especially for free whilst the camp facilities were being completed. I’m not sure this will be repeated but it was certainly nice while it lasted;

03 glamping

#4 The camp even had a space age-esque office tent for us to make the most of working late into the night… Otherwise grabbing every chance to walk up the nearest hill, even in the rain to look down on Chautara from a distance after viewing the latest status of the demolition on the way through town;

04 daily life

#5 Another key thing about the monsoon season for me, especially up in the hills away from the city, has been the sheer weird & wonderfulness of the bugs – and in many cases the sheer size! Excuse the poor photos but many of these fascinating creatures only active at night which gave wearing a head torch a whole new sense of bravery and adventure;

05 bugs

#6 This particularly stunning creature greeted us one morning, complete with the Himalaya peaking through the clouds in the background – what a way to start the day. After some investigation I think it’s probably an actius selene moth. The rest are still to be identified;

06 moth

#7 Some food highlights also; for Ropain – the rice planting festival – though we couldn’t take time off to join in the celebrations I did manage to join in the traditional breakfast of banana, beaten rice and yoghurt; the staple daal bhaat eaten regularly twice a day, though to be honest I maxed out at once a day even though the local restaurant/hut cooked up a very tasty combo; one Saturday we visited a nearby town in the next district of Kavre to sample the local delicacy of fried river fish (here’s before and after); finally a new one for me – sweet dhedo,a sweet version of the dish I learnt to cook in Pharsidol;

07 food

#8 As an example of the kind of thing I’ve been doing, here’s my partner in crime Emilie and I celebrating my last day/night by working into the evening to create a map of cash activities for the district to aid coordination between the agencies using a wide variety of cash modalities to support affected families. Plus taking our photo with the wonderful didis who had been feeding me daal bhaat for weeks;

08 pals

#9 And the reason this is my last two weeks in Chautara for a while? I’m simply home for a holiday, after almost a year in Nepal and almost 3 months since the earthquake it feels like the right time for a break. As I left Chautara, heading back to Kathmandu to discuss future plans before I head home, this shot sums things up for me; Sindhupalchok is now beginning to get to the stage where the dangerous buildings are being brought down so that people can truly start to think about rebuilding. In the meantime they continue to amaze with their resilience and grace in the face of a crisis, building transition shelters, planting the rice crops and getting their children back into school. Speaking of which, I was honoured to find I featured in my 5 year old niece’s annual school report, I cannot wait to hear some of the ‘snippets’ she’s been sharing;

09 return

#10 Hiking near Dhulikhel in the Kathmandu valley, making the most of a day off, a chance to enjoy yet more stunning scenery. I am openly excited about going home to the UK this weekend and getting to see my family and old friends as well as catching up on a few months worth of sleep. However, Nepal and all of the people I have met here are firmly in my heart so in mid-August I will be coming back for another year – watch this space!

10 nepal

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4 comments

  1. Pam Hemmings

    Hi Jessica, You may be home by now. Thank you for your reports, I have really found it useful to read them. Have a good break and return to Nepal with renewed vigour. Hope you don’t suffer too much with the reversed culture shock. Have fun and stock up on food. Cheers.

  2. hi, I am reblogging this 🙂

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