After an amazing, rewarding, challenging and wholly unexpected 2 years with VSO Nepal, I completed my placement in September 2016. I was pleased to be able to handover a legacy of the NDRCS to capable Nepali staff in a strong position to take the project forward and hopefully continue to support improved coordination.
First things first, I managed to take a little time off including a short exploration of northern Vietnam. I thoroughly enjoyed a couple of weeks exploring the bustling old city streets of Hanoi, the floating fisherman villages around Cat Ba Island and the amazing hospitality of the ladies of the hill tribes around Sapa. More on this hopefully if I find the time I plan to find to write more…;
The month of October also saw the annual Dashain holiday in Nepal and I made the most of this as well, heading up into the amazing Himalayan trails of Langtang and Gosainkund for stunning views all in fabulous company. Though several blog posts could (and maybe will, you never know) be dedicated to this wonderful part of the world, here are some of the sunrise spots which were particularly breath-taking;
I also took the chance to pop home for Christmas and surprise the family. This being my first true Christmas in 3 years -I made the most of it; I managed to successfully surprise every single member of my family, rocking up unannounced in rural Norfolk then being smuggled into Derbyshire in a series of dramatic entrances. I then went on to revel in maximum Britishness throughout the holiday period and enjoy a thoroughly lovely time with the extended Stanford clan;
Since I last wrote I’ve also gone for somewhat of an image change going for the simplicity and low maintenance (style and sophistication as well of course?!) of short hair. So at the same time as I finally catch up on my blog I have also finally gotten around to experimenting with Prisma and updating my digital image accordingly. Based on an original handcarved wooden stamp I commissioned during my stay in Hanoi, here’s me in an Andy Warhol stylee;
But biggest update of all of course, which is most pitifully overdue, is an update of what on earth it is I spend my days doing nowadays. In short, upon leaving VSO I chose to continue to work to support the post-earthquake reconstruction efforts and I am currently working as the Housing Reconstruction Program Manager with Build Change Nepal.
In my current role I continue to live in this fascinating, diverse, challenging and spectacular country, and now have the privilege of working alongside a fantastic team of young, enthusiastic Nepali Engineers, Architects, Builder Trainers and more. The homeowner driven approach to reconstruction championed by Build Change puts homeowners in the driving seat of implementing the rebuilding of their homes whilst ensuring expert technical assistance is on hand every step of the way. This technical assistance offered through design support, on the job training and site supervision helps ensure that the newly built or retrofitted homes incorporate earthquake resistant techniques in essential preparation for future disasters. This gives me personally the pleasure to continue to meet amazing people now rebuilding their homes in and amongst the amazing scenery of rural Nepal;
So the challenges and the adventures continue, I will endeavour to get myself back into the habit of more regular posts and I hope you will therefore continue to join my along my journey…