We wanted to follow up on a story that dates back to the earthquakes in 2015. Although the terrible destruction from those 'quakes quickly faded from our news feeds here at home, the conditions for residents living in a destroyed village have not changed much over the years since.
Our friend Pradip lives in Ramailochaur, a remote village on a steep hillside west of Kathmandu. All of the stone buildings in the area were completely turned into piles of rubble. By the time we visited his family in spring 2016, they had cobbled together some sheet metal huts for shelter (with Jackets for Jasper donations, thanks J4J Village!)
But we learned during our visit that the village's water spring was affected during the earthquake: water now came out of the hillside several kilometres away from the village centre. Carrying water for household purposes at any time is a difficult chore. Carrying water kilometres for cooking is a trial. And carrying any extra water for washing and sanitation is a luxury not often indulged.
Pradip reached out to us after the earthquakes. He wrote:
"hello namaste .how are u liz didi .we have made a house to live but we have a problem to make toilet and buy water tank I hope you help us to buy tank and make toilet"
We had long since spent all of our financial donations on building materials for shelters, so we put the request to you, the J4J Village. And you came through!
We were able to provide enough funding for almost the entire "shopping list" of materials that would enable the village to have a water pipe from the now-distant spring to a 1000L water tank, and build a private shower and toilet building with a soak-away pit. This really is the Cadillac of wash facilities for such a resource-free area.
Over the many months it took to build (hard to hire labour as everyone is working on fixing their own homes), Pradip sent us photos of the project's progress; they are snapshots from his old mobile, so the photos need to be quite small to be clear.
Feast your eyes on the most community-funded "bathroom reno" you'll ever see!
It starts with digging a giant square hole - a soak-away pit, just like a septic field.
The pit is then lined with stone. After all the houses fell down, there was no shortage of building stones available.
A removable lid was constructed from rebar and cement, and placed over top of the pit.
It may not be fancy, but it is private, clean and sanitary. Eventually, it will be painted. Or... maybe not, but it's still a great bathroom!
Here is the inside of the village's new sanitary toilet facility. Pradip, his family and neighbours are really pleased with the end result!
Here is one very happy Pradip taking a selfie in front of the new toilet. "toilet is ready and we will colour it soon". He likes it enough that he would take and share a photo of himself beside a toilet.
Now that is a bathroom reno to be very proud of!