Tag Archives: disaster relief

Final Countdown

One week until the journey begins.  If the travel alone doesn’t cause one to think twice, the 6 month assignment in remote villages of Nepal surely should. The itinerary begins with a bus ride from Madison to Chicago O’Hare Airport.  With an extended layover in Hong Kong, the final flight lands in Kathmandu, Nepal 48 hours later.


The journey actually began a week ago when family and friends helped me move the remains of my belongings into a POD for 6 months of storage.  I am forever grateful to them for their unconditional love and willingness to help.


The weekend was full of bittersweet family reunions.  We said goodbye to our respected Uncle Tom and warm hearted Aunt Gina.  They were laid to rest next to our father.

Time stands still when I’m with my siblings, Ken and Sheri, I am grateful for their support.

Looking toward the next venture, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. Though words like “courageous” and “brave” are appreciated, I feel like anything but. Leaving behind the security of a full time job, a home, and family is terrifying as hell.


The real heroes are the members of our Namaste Nepal (NN) team who made the rebuilding projects a reality. Visit the website to learn more about their projects. Note:  English translations for all pages in the works. http://www.namastenepal.cz/en/


Yarda, my NN colleague from Czech Republic, arrived a week ahead  and is currently meeting with our Nepali partners and engineers.  (I hope he doesn’t mind my posting his picture.)  Other invaluable members of our NN team include Sona- a talented architect living in Australia with whom I worked with in Haiti, and Helca & Martina who are working remotely in Czech Republic to help coordinate the travel details and program documents.

Much yet to pack and mounds of paperwork to sort/file. Signing off for now.



Last day in Ahuachapan


Today was the last work day in the Ahuachapan community.  Though we were looking forward to the end of the work week, our hearts were heavy as we prepared to say good bye.  This is the view we saw each day during the bus ride to and from the work site – I took this photo so as never to forget the view and what it represents to each and every one of us.


Those of us who rotated among the hard core “pit diggers” filtered into the hole for a final photo.  My respect for manual labor has grown exponentially, my blistered hands will vouch for this.

We were surprised to learn that it takes the average mason and workers 7 weeks to complete a Habitat El Salvador home.  The workers are paid when the house is complete, not hourly.  Our presence on the site, in digging the septic pits alone, reduced that timeframe by two weeks.  No wonder the masons where so happy to see us arrive!

The HFH El Salvador team threw us a going away party,complete with a barbecue feast and a Mariachi Band, including dancing.  It was a fabulous afternoon with the families, workers, and local HFH team that made our trip possible.

bandband2Members of the Getsemani HFH El Salvador sewing project showed their wares for sale during the celebration.  Many of us purchased local coffee to take home and others purchased quilts, jewelry, and other woven fabrics from the project ladies.  They were so empowered by the work that they were able to sell to us.

Getsemani-sewersAfter the good byes were said and the final hugs were given, our team spent the final hours of our day  exploring another local village called Apaco.  The community is known for it’s high quality fabrics and weaving.  We watched intently as they worked the weaving machines.