Update from Richard

hello all

i am back in nyc today, and will return to detroit tomorrow at 5 pm. rachel, matt, and i had a fabulous trip. i will attach some pics for your viewing of toilets, new scholarship students, the sub-heath post construction, and our initial report from our new nepal director keshab. i will briefly outline trip below.

we arrived kathmandu uneventflly. after a quick day, we went to airport to fly to lamidada, khotang only to return to hotel 8 hours later secondary to no flight. we were more succesful the next day and arrived khotang aroung 10 am.

we were greeted by jeevan and two porters mongal and charma sing. it was two hot (about 90 degrees) days long walks to sungdel. we camped first night at phedi along river. we bathed in rivers twice each of the first 2 days, and even 6 liters water during the day drinking did not keep us hydrated!. keshab was with us for his first trip to khotang (our new nepal director). keshab was fantastic in all respects! our third day we viewed many toilets of our current project in khotang. last visit in december they were way behind, but i am proud to report they are now 100% complete and have done a great job. we walked to dipsung later that day. our sub-health post construction is making fast ground and will be completed before the monsoon later this month.i am pleased that nava jyoti has been in close contact with the district health office, and we have a letter from the government committing a nurse midwife upon completion of the birthing center within and appropriate supplies, equipment being obtained. i am proud to state that this will be the first birthing center in the area! it will take lots of work to outfit the birthing center, and to have educational programs scheduled so the locals will know the benefits of prenatal check ups and delivery at our health post. we also viewed some of our original dipsung toilets from our first project. dipsung, with the help of diana and ben and paul finkel, became only the 4th vdc (out of 76 total) to be declared "open defecation free" by the government of nepal! while in dipsung, we also met with our 31 scholarship students in this village, and distributed book bags/pen and writing tablets/geometry sets/shoes/sandals/underwear/pens to each of them, and two hand tailored school uniforms for each are on their way. after two days in dipsung, we walked to rakha. our toilet construction phase was viewed there, with 100% completion as well. however, there were many minor issues that will need to be addressed to get all toilets up to our code. as on prior visits, i was surprised that many toilets were unused untill we arrived for our review. i am not sure if i am expected to "bless" them, pee on (or in) them, etc...?? we also had meetings regarding our upcoming sub-health post construction in rakha (to begin jan 1 2015) and our next phase toilet project (to begin fall 2014 after monsoon). we will complete toilets for all homes and schools in rakha and sungdel within the next year, and both vdc's will join dipsung in the "open defecaton free" declaration. our efforts in dipsung were solely d2n, and in rakha and sungdel were collaborative with other ngo's. we also met 25 new scholarship students in rakha- all beautiful young girls! realizing female students in nepal face many challenges, we have also asked both cps and nava jyoti to devise a plan to assist female students in schools who need additional help to make sure they stay in school and progress appropriately. after leaving rakha, we visited libraries in bakachol and aishulikarkha, learning much. we plan to upgrade the libraries in these two villages, and build the first one in dipsung this fall.

our visit also included discussions of further proposals to review, including 25 new female scholarship students in baksila and sungdel, upgrading two schools in dipsung and rakha, one water project, and others. rachel and matt also got to visit our hydroelectric project in rakha, providing electricity to about 1000 homes.

rachel matt and i then walked up to the foot of the everest region over the next 7 days to lukla. the walk was beautiful, and i did my best trying to keep up with rachel!

as you know, there was a terrible tragedy on everest when we were in nepal this year. 16 sherpas died in an avalanche just above base camp, and all expeditions were cancelled. one of my friends leading an expedition lost 3 sherpas in the avalanche. rachel matt and i had tea at the foot of the everest region with a base camp cook (who has worked base camp for 20 years). his nephew was caught in the avalanche, survived, saved others, only to walk down to his village days later and be struck dead by lightening. and all of this just one year after i lost my brother namgyal on everest....

d2n remains strong, and it's projects are progressing extremely well. this is only because of your support.

thank you,

richard