Last Friday, late at night, I arrived in Kathmandu for the first time in 16 years. In the last few days I have been able to see many old friends and my Nepali families as well as contacts that want to help with the rebuilding project in Lamjung. Bibek and I have spent many hours discussing the project and all of the things that have happened in the last 5 months that we have have only been able to talk about by text or the occasional Skype call. I was also able to spent time with our lead architect Prashnna Ghimire.
My other home in Nepal besides Lamjung is Patan, and I visited my family there at the perfect time. One of their biggest festivals is the Rato Macchendranath festival, during which a chariot is pulled down the street, stopping in each neighborhood. The street is filled with people making offerings and in each house families and friends are feasting.
Bibek and I on our way to Patan
Statues are tucked away into every corner, yet they are lovingly tended to with offerings
Enjoying some time with my Newari family before we head out to Lamjung
This year the Rato Macchendranath festival was happening at the same time as the earthquake and they had to delay the end of the festival for five months. It was great to see such a joyful celebration after the difficult times that people have endured after the earthquake. Everyone had a story of where they were when it happened, and which field they slept in during the weeks that followed.
Around Kathmandu, many of the damaged or destroyed buildings have already been cleared away. However, in the old part of Kathmandu, where the alleyways are very narrow, there were a couple of destroyed old homes that have not been cleared away, and when I saw them I felt how truly frightening it must have been to experience this event.
On Friday, Bibek and I will travel to Lamjung to start the work on site during my visit. By Saturday we will likely be in Rainaskot and I will have the chance to meet the villagers for the first time.
The Inauguration in Lamjung
Just before my arrival in Nepal, an inauguration ceremony was help in Rainaskot to mark the official start of construction. As with anything in Nepal, any new project starts with offerings, also known as puja. In the photos above, the first five foundation stones are being laid into the ground to symbolize the auspicious beginning of the this new project.
There are many rebuilding projects around Nepal, but with this official start, we can say the we are the first in Lamjung to begin permanent reconstruction.
Thank you as always for your support.
US Director of Fund for Lamjung