I very much miss visiting my colleagues in Lalgadh and Kathmandu in Nepal. This is due to current worldwide travel restrictions in 2020, in response to the COVID-19 virus.
This time 2 years ago I was there for the 25th Anniversary celebrations of Lalgadh Church. It was a very special visit and I got to meet many of the people who were instrumental in setting up and establishing Lalgadh Hospital in those very early days. It was great to hear the stories first hand of clearing the land, developing the building and of the engineering involved. All with little or no infrastructure, certainly no phone line!
The travel route out, if you were lucky with flight times, can be done in less than 24 hours. Travelling through the night from Dublin, touch down in Dubai for example and arrive in Kathmandu the following day. Stay overnight in Kathmandu and take an early morning flight from there to Janakpur , flight time about 25 minutes. The journey from Kathmandu to Janakpur can be done by road, a little nerve wrecking on mountainous roads with hairpin bends and adventurous drivers. My return on this trip was by road !!
Flying from Kathmandu is equally as exciting an adventure as travelling by road. The flight was on a BAe Jetstream that can take about 30 passengers (no room for hand luggage) and a tiny air hostess, as the internal space, seat and pathway is very tight! As you can see from the image below, it’s a twin engined aircraft, usually with Yeti Airlines.
I met up with Mike Houghton and Sue and Mike Wells, who had arrived from the UK, on my arrival into Kathmandu. We flew together to Janakpur the following day and were picked up by a hospital vehicle and staff for the last hour of our journey to Lalgadh Hospital, our destination. Mike Wells was the project manager for the design and construction of the hospital which started in 1990. He lived in Kathmandu at that time with his wife Sue and family, working with NLT until 1995.
I also got to see the almost complete structure of the Girls’ Hostel, which was under development 2 years ago. The hostel is now fully operational and has accommodation for 10 girls to live in during school term. They are supported and encouraged with their homework tasks and are also learning life skills like gardening and animal care during their free time. You can read more about hostel life and its students here.
During this trip I visited some of the Village Alive project villages. The one I remember most specifically on that trip was Dhumaura and the huge transitions and development I had seen with a 9 month period. The Village Alive Project is run over 3 years in specific villages, see more about the project here. Posted by Vera Nov 2020
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