Johan’s Diary – 22nd of January 2016
07:00 Woke up to the clock, and slept really well last night. When the internet starts working I start with uploading yesterday’s blog onto Lööf Foundation’s website while I make breakfast, everything on the Internet takes an enormously long time, compared to what you are used to at home in Sweden. For breakfast I am having porridge with apple and cinnamon and coffee, which tastes good! I then start packing for the trip to Ratankot.
7:30 Shyam shows up, even before the scheduled time. I cannot put up any pictures to the blog because of the slow internt, which easily frustrates me. I pack up, and am ready on time!
08:30 We drive in a four-wheel Mahindra jeep and our Belgian friend Brecht follows. We drive past Shyams apartment to collect the medicine and other items we purchased for the village. We pick up Karma on the road outside of Kathmandu.
It’s really bad air with lots of smoke from garbage being burned on the streets and there are very long queues at the gas stations. Apparently it can take some days just to buy 5 liters of gas for the people’s motorcycles. Other days, they wait in long queues, and when they reach the front of the queue, there is not more gas left. I realize that most of the vehicles traveling on the roads probably run on fuel from the black market, at very high prices per liter.
9:30 Suddenly, the driver of the car stops at a garage to get the tires changed, however he cannot get them changed there as previously thought. We throw the new tires up on the roof and continue driving. Karma reads newspapers in the back seat and explains that there have been demonstrations along the border of India and that three people have been killed in various clashes. We continue driving. There is not much traffic along the way and many long queues at gas stations.
11:30 We stop for lunch at the village where I was when the earthquake struck last spring. There is a garage next door to lunch. So we change the tires here instead. As we sit and look out over the river, I realize how much pollution there is here, with huge amounts of rubbish along the beaches. Some men go out to draw rocks in the river, as it is low tide now.
Shyam borrows a motorbike and heads off to get buffalo meat. We thought it would be a good idea to invite the work team for a good meal as thanks for the great work they have done!
Along the drive, I see a lot of rubble around the collapsed houses, etc., in some places they have begun to renovate or build new homes but most people seem to still live in huts, tents or shacks next to their destroyed houses.
12:30 We roll on and it goes pretty fast, not so much oncoming traffic.
13:15 We get out on the quite rough road that will take us to Ratankot, in four-wheel drive. It goes quite well and we get halfway up Ratankots side of the valley, where we get stuck. We get ourselves out after some tricks with the jack and some manpower.
14:30 We arrive in Ratankot, and as usual, we are welcomed with scarves and a big crowd that greets us. They have just finished the foundation of Home of Hope, and it looks really good. I feel really happy and hopeful! We immediately start prepping for the dinner, and it reminds me of when we offered goat stew last spring.
15:30 Most of the work team including Shyam and Brecht set off to retrieve the timber to be sawn. They come back just before dinner is ready with large logs on their shoulders.
16:00 It seems that this dinner is very much appreciated, which makes me happy.
17:00 Many of the villagers help me settle into where I will stay for the duration of my trip. They help by smoothing the ground for my tent, setting up my tent, bringing my bags, making a fire, and bring me wood. I feel really well looked after when I come here!
18:30 It is dark now, but everything is done. My tent is set up, my things are unpacked, and a fire is going. I sit in front of the fire as I wait for the water to boil for dinner. I still try and stay away from the food here, in order to not get sick.
19:00 The food is ready and I’ve got two new “bonfire friends” who sit by me at the fire, none of them know English but speak incessantly to me.
19:30 I creep into the tent and into my sleeping bag. It is quite cold out there now, about 3 degrees. I make a cup of coffee and send some text messages to Sophie and the children. I also test my new Nepalese SIM card. I write in my diary on the computer, but the screen does not like the cold, as it keeps flickering hysterical but works better when I heat it up in the sleeping bag for a while.
21:45 The diary is finished, and now time a bit of crossword before bed.