School, Gosshing Kaule 2008/ 2009

From 28 December 2008 to 26 January 2009, a group of 12 architecture students and architects spent 28 days in Nepal experiencing developing world architecture, people and culture, and participating in a community development project.

The group flew into Kathmandu, and spent two days acclimatising and touring Boudanath and Pashpatinath, the two main temples in Kathmandu, undertaking an introduction to the Nepalese language and exploring Thamel. A group dinner was held with the project partners and the Australian Ambassador to Nepal.

The next destination was Bhulbhule, which involved an eight hour bus ride, Nepali style. On arrival at Bhulbhule mid afternoon the group was officially welcomed by the village. After reducing the weight in their packs the next day, they began the long walk up to Gosshing Kaule – the village where they spent the next ten days sleeping in tents, and assisting the village with the construction of their new school.

The tasks that the group was involved in for the ten days included digging to excavate for footings and classrooms; discussion of solar access, space planning, and 3.4.5 triangle; mixing concrete and assisting in pour of a concrete layer; carrying rocks from the quarry to the site; and playing games with the community and teaching children.

One exciting program they had the privilege of being involved in was the Solar Light For Children program in conjunction with Kathmandu Environmental Education Program (KEEP). The lights are solar powered LED desk lights that connect to Photo Voltaic (PV) cells from which three hours of charge will provide eight hours of light. The AWF/OzQuest group were able to donate a prototype for the village who will work with KEEP to see the installation of PVs on the school roof. Each school child will be given a light to take home and bring to school the next day for charging while they conduct their lessons. Gosshing Kaule is a village with no power supply, so these lights will be in demand.

On the final day in Gosshing Kaule the village presented a farewell program, and the following day everyone again reduced the weight in their packs, broke campt and went on a four day trek. The trek took the group along the Annapurna trail through Synge, Taal, Baagachaap, and back to Bhulbhule.

Next stop on the itinerary was a trip to Baktapur, a world heritage city filled with architecture and atmosphere. After a guided tour of Bhaktapur the group spent time exploring the sights of the city. On the final day there was a visit to the Nepal Engineering College, where they met with the Architecture faculty and some students, discussing architecture education in Nepal, and viewing some student work.

The trip was a success, benefiting the lives of both the children in the Gosshing Caule village as well as the participants in the program. AWF thanks all the volunteers for their participation.

 

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