Is it seriously already Friday? It feels like we just arrived here but today is the last day before we must head back to the city …
The morning starts with some preparations for saying good-bye. Even though we don’t have too much special to give, we prepare an oversize thank you card and our obligatory Finnish candies for the ICIMOD guys before they arrive for the day.
All squeezed into our sleeping room, we then start an intensive interview Q&A with Govinda and Ram, who worked in the village since the beginning, to get as much information as possible. Following our interview guideline, we try to tackle sustainability issues as well as communicational aspects and knowledge transfer. Since we are nine people asking questions and there is only two that can answer, we are occupied until midday. Happy to leave the house, we take the everyday dhal bat and prepare for the afternoon interview sessions. Luckily, we prepared detailed list of whom to visit to get a picture as diverse as possible: farmers, merchants, our little restaurant, teachers, young, old, reconstructing and already reconstructed house owners … It is a long list and we could already cover many of them yesterday but since this is our last opportunity, we have to be efficient now.
One special example is the ‘demo house’, a building newly constructed out of CSSBs that were made in the village. The widow living in the house is one of the most vulnerable elements in the Dhungentar society due to her status. That’s why ICIMOD decided to pay for her reconstruction and provide her with a variety of different technology solutions. There is a bio-gas plant in the backyard, which is fuelled by the feces in her toilet. There is a solar cooker and a solar food dryer in front of her house. And there is a rainwater irrigation system under construction on her roof. This was probably one of the most effective ways of communicating these new technologies. Everyone in the village comes to visit her and she can explain the up- and downsides of everything in a way, that everyone understands: by seeing it – and therefore believing in it.
Until the sun is going down, we keep roaming around gathering all our data and so much more from the people we talk to. Every single interview is an individual life with its inherent characteristics, fates and dreams. Sometimes it is not as easy to explain that we are effectively not there to help them in their recovery, but to study what means made them able to uplift the community situation. But our AITM team members are wonderful in transporting even the slightest nuance over the language barrier.
Before dinner, we initiate a small farewell celebration with ICIMOD to express our gratitude and then say good bye before they depart home! Our last dhal bat, our last evening in front of someone else’s house and our last night in someone else’s room. It’s beenn an intensive time. But it’s been an impressive time. It is hard to explain such an experience, but I guess not too many people get the opportunity to connect with such a remote society on such a deep level. It feels like we have been there only for a blink of an eye and forever at the same time. So many truly touching stories, so much joy and happiness. So much hospitality and honest gratitude. So much strenght.