533 Jackets [and 200 bananas]

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My original hope for this trip was to continue with the shelter project but with the blockade by India, materials and fuel are too expensive.  We’ve been talking about helping villagers gain access to low interest building loans but everything is at a standstill until the government stabilizes and decides how to administer aid. Instead I raised money (thank you!) for the two new libraries being set up in Ghusel by other CASD Ambassadors and carried books that had been donated to me for this cause.
But surprise! I’ve heard that the government has not allocated a …

Ghusel, Nepal

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My last stop in Nepal was the one I looked forward to the most. It was back to Ghusel, the village that we built temporary shelters in back in May. It was surreal walking into the village again and my mind was replaying memories from 6 months ago. Gorbindra, the village leader, met our taxi and helped carry our bags. He asked me how I felt being back, asked me about my friends, asked how I’ve been. We worked together when they didn’t have any other help and were in crisis. I could tell that …

Lumbini

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After being in Nepal for a full week of working we decided to take a side trip. Rick has been volunteering here for 7 years and he recognizes the importance of balancing work and enjoyment. I’m not quite there yet and felt guilty the entire time, but when else in my life will I get the chance to visit the birthplace of Buddha?
Lumbini is the name of the forest that the Queen was traveling through when she went in to labor and gave birth to Prince Siddartha. The story goes that he grew incredible fast and …

Nepali Time

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Ah, Nepal. I have been here a week and in true Nepali style, nothing has gone as originally planned. I arrived smoothly and was collected from the airport by my dear friend Rick (from Australia), and his fiancé Marjorie (French but also living in Australia). However Prakash, my Nepali brother and director of CASD-Nepal, had been called away to work for his day job and his dear wife Sanju was at her home village visiting family. So it was without Nepali company that I was greeted and spent my first two days in Kathmandu helping Marjorie …

Christmas on Crusoe Island

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On the road again. I noticed a few days ago after I missed the last bus out of town, booked a dirty room in a small Cambodian hotel (6$ with fan), and was begging the woman behind the counter to let me borrow her cell phone to reserve a shuttle van the next morning, that everything felt different. All the anxiety I had felt for weeks before, trying to get Christmas cards sent and researching bus schedules, nightmares and fried nerves, just evaporates as soon as I find myself on the move again. It’s like …