Field Note #2: Santosh - Padampur, Nepal
The people our volunteers meet on their travels are often the memories that last a lifetime…
In April of 2015, the South Asian country of Nepal was devastated by a terrible earthquake. Homes were destroyed, infrastructure was in shambles, and clean water had become even harder to obtain, especially in the rural villages outside of the city’s capital, Kathmandu. Since then, Wine To Water has been committed to helping Nepal rebuild, and Lisa is on the front lines.
Lisa, the Director of Volunteer Programs at Wine To Water, recently took her third trip to Nepal since the earthquake. Along with a team of Wine To Water volunteers, she visited two schools near the capital city of Kathmandu, and travelled to the country to check on wells built in small, rural communities. One of these communities was Padampur, where Lisa met and bonded with a nine-year-old boy named Santosh.
Santosh has a million-watt smile, but only one set of clothes to wear. These clothes barely fit him, with only one button holding the halves of his too-large shirt together, and his pants (which are full of holes) slipping off of his hips. Both garments are caked with dirt, as is Santosh’s face. His mother does not wash his or his two brothers’ clothes often, and often the children do not bathe. When they do, it’s in freezing water, and not one complaint is heard.
Padampur is a poor village, and Santosh and his community do not have much. The small community is home to eighteen families, but before the well was built, they had no water access. While the earthquake in Nepal was devastating, it gave Wine To Water the opportunity to help those not only suffering from the aftermath of the disaster, but those who were already struggling with poverty like the residents of Padampur.
When the Wine To Water volunteers arrived to check on the state of the well, they were greeted with a glum sight; it was not working properly. A roadblock, but a solvable one, the volunteers then buckled down to try and do some repairs. They inspected the well, did some preliminary work, then left the village for the evening.
When they came back the next day, Lisa and the volunteers saw something incredible. The people of Padampur had come together, as a community, to fix their own well.
At Wine To Water, we believe that providing a community with clean water means more than digging a well or handing out filters. It means working closely with the people who live in these places, building relationships and giving them the tools they need to ensure improved quality of life for years to come.
“I think that’s the greatest impact of Wine To Water,” Lisa said, “Empowering the nationals, and seeing them taking initiative...when you see something like that, it’s so rewarding. It means we’ve come full circle.”