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Death ceremony for christmas

By |December 26th, 2013|Nepal|

I was not particularly looking forward to this Christmas. A long way from home, friends and family. None of the familiar comforts and traditions. Where I ended up I could not have predicted. Christmas day dawned with the now usual magnificent Hiamalayan sunrise (not that I get to see too many, usually it is still [...]

Rules of the Road

By |September 17th, 2012|India, Rickshaw Run|

Rules of the Road for driving in India: there are none. Or at least there are none that your regular licensed non-Indian would recognise. I am writing this whilst steaming along the highway number 2 in the very breezy backseat. Today is a good day, no monsoon passenger soaking rain. Where a cow on the [...]

Zen and the Art of Rickshaw Maintenance

By |September 8th, 2012|India, Rickshaw Run|

A few top tips from the manual… In India it is not offensive to honk your horn. It is the number one rule of road etiquette. It is applied more like a musical instrument to express various emotions as you drive along. It is applied to mobilize cows, dogs and humans. Please use it generously. [...]

The Rickshaw Run

By |August 6th, 2012|India, Rickshaw Run|

Team Tuktanic (aka Laura & Cathy) are off on a madcap race which entails us driving 3,500km across India in the name of charity. We will spluttering along a route as yet unknown (navigation and direction will be a daily calculation, finger to the wind) in the ultimate long distance vehicle… a tuk tuk. Unlike [...]

The importance of a good sarong

By |June 10th, 2012|Camino|

According to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a towel is the most massively useful thing an intergalactic traveller can have. In my case it is definitely the towels close cousin, a sarong. Since arriving in Bali not quite 20 years ago (!) where I purchased a blue sarong with white fish on it, I have [...]

Casa Jackson – hugging and holding

By |November 10th, 2011|Raleigh, Uncategorized|

Here is Jennifer, one of the babies I have been looking after. She is 5 months old, but smaller than a newborn. Except for the time the volunteers spend with these babies get very little stimulation and human attention. The nurses have little time for one on one. Casa Jackson is on the outskirts of Antigua [...]

Kalimati kindergarten opening

By |February 14th, 2014|Nepal|

    It is impossible in Nepal to do anything without a "program". It is also impossible to get through a single week without a holiday for one of the very many festivals (yesterday it was a celebration of Sarawati - goddess of education - naturally this meant a school was closed) Today it is [...]

Builing Kalimati 2

By |February 13th, 2014|Nepal|

Building continues… The stonemason's pushing hard against the deadline turn into plasterers and also put the roof on (which I missed whilst on a last toy and furnishings shopping spree in Pokhara) Purna (the school committee chairman) and I start breaking stones into aggregate for the cement floor At last painting begins (although we could have [...]

Tiny tots

By |January 27th, 2014|Nepal|

Here is what the kindergarten building project is all about. I get the biggest kick out of spending time with them, lots of fun, lots of "Namaste Miss Maya". Their current kindergarten is dark an empty and cold, great for photography, not so good otherwise. Planning on making the new kindergarten into one a big [...]

Building Kalimati

By |January 27th, 2014|Nepal|

  Groundbreaking Measuring Stone breaking Wood cutting Carpenters Windows! Stone delivery Stonemasons   22 days in and we have made it to roof level… happy days.

Christmas wish no. 6

By |January 18th, 2014|Nepal|

Kalimati school in their new Northface fleeces.

Nuts and stones

By |January 16th, 2014|Nepal|

We have three teams working on the kindergarten. The carpenters, Devi Lal and Babu, are in charge. The stone breaking team, working at the river below in the valley are led by Shiva, the Maoist. Lastly the stonemasons (pictured here) who hammer and chip the stone into useable shaped 'bricks'. The stonemasons are all from [...]

Himalayan nights

By |January 15th, 2014|Nepal|

Here is how we spend most nights, round the fire for warmth and light, under crisp Himalayan stars. The crowd changes nightly, the occasional trekker, villagers from the surrounding area, once a politician on tour or just the jeep drivers Santosh and Ram. Electricity is limited and changes daily as to when we will get [...]

Building starting!

By |January 11th, 2014|Nepal|

After a frustrating break over New Year which in Nepal extends for a further 4 days, each group celebrating their own New Year (which does not exclude them from celebrating other New Years – patience patience patience Cathy) we are finally getting started building the new kindergarten at Kalimati. At a meeting of the School [...]

Uri pictures

By |January 3rd, 2014|Nepal|

More photos of people and life in and around Uri… Til, the carpentner, Saran's brother Mina, sifting millet at Little Paradise Morning rush hour View from Uri school up to Annapurna Base camp Himal and Pradeep hay jumping The start of the long climb to Little Paradise Laxman, the village messenger, and his wife Asmita [...]

Uri school

By |January 2nd, 2014|Nepal|

More photos from Uri school – classes 1 – 5 enjoying their new games. No more fighting for just one ball and one game in the entire school. Enough for everyone and peace reigns in the playground.

Vet, doctor, environmentalist

By |December 27th, 2013|Nepal|

So I have been staying at Little Paradise, on the top of Kot Danda, for the last few weeks and I cannot leave here without writing about Man Prasad, the owner of Little Paradise (pronounced Mon as in the French "mon ami"). Mon Prasad does not talk much, he occasionally bursts into animated discussion, but [...]

Uri kindergarten

By |December 27th, 2013|Nepal|

Uri kindergarten was built last year in 2012 with the help of a donation from a friend, Rachel. A nice solid square room, plastered with two window openings closed with wooden shutters. However it was empty, cold and uninviting, the community having no funds to improve it further. So an obvious and easy place to [...]

Uri working

By |December 20th, 2013|Nepal|

Some photos from the working on the Kindergarten. Turning teachers into carpenters and rock designers… Til, building new windows frames and panes.. and the crucial ingredient… Father Christmas!

Uri uniforms

By |December 14th, 2013|Nepal|

New set of school clothes for every child delivered to Uri school. Everyone looking very smart. New shirts, skirts, trousers, jumpers, shoes and socks for each of the 39 children just £400. Measuring up, getting clothes made in town, then portered back up and fitted to the correct children a bit of challenge, but we [...]

All I want for Christmas is…

By |December 11th, 2013|Nepal|

1 kindergarten 2 trucks of library books 3 x 20 school uniforms 4 large buckets of paint 5 balls with bats 6ty woolly jumpers 7 boxes of exercise books 8 bags of cement 9 x lots of stationery 10 new windows 11 crazy board games and 12 wooden shelves or just cash will do fine! [...]

Nepal breathing

By |December 10th, 2013|Nepal|

It's been a manic first few weeks arriving in Nepal with Rachel and Pasha, measuring up kids and getting school uniforms made for Uri school, painting Ghalel school, sports days, teaching, wedding celebrations, elections and more. With Rachel and Pasha's departure back to the UK the mania has calmed. Now the days' routine is a [...]

Nepal writing

By |November 14th, 2013|Nepal|

I have been struggling to find the inspiration to write, even while there is so much here to write about. I don't know whether it is the cold; it is cold all of the time. When the sun comes a few rays are good, but the air is thin up here and the slightest breeze [...]

Golf balls, pebbles, sand & beer

By |October 12th, 2012|Random|

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers. A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and [...]

Rickshaw Roundup

By |October 12th, 2012|India, Rickshaw Run|

So the Rickshaw Run is over and it was amazing. An epic journey from the eastern to western borders of India, I would happily repeat again despite the exhausting intensity of it. Cumulatively, with thanks to your donations, the teams raised over £60,000 to date (or as Safi the one and only Egyptian participant said [...]