Field Note #87: Pavan’s First Field Trip in Nepal


 

Read about Kaushal’s experience in Dahakhani here

People around the world, especially in developed nations, can all learn something from going into the field. The field can be different destinations for different people. In the military, going into the field means going to war. No matter where you are, the field will push your heart, mind and body all to be tested as if it were in a battle. Victory is the only option, but circumstances like food, weather and even people can make us feel that defeat could happen at any moment. My recent trip to the field had all sorts of challenges, but I needed the challenges to realize the good that is in every place.

My field trip began with a long, six-hour journey by car to the Chitwan region. The car ride was where the challenges began for me. Anyone from the developed world will quickly appreciate their own road quality once experiencing the roads here. Leaving Kathmandu, the journey started with a quick view of the Himalayas. Then, down the mountain we went. The road had many bumps and curves. People were overtaking each other constantly on a two-lane road, and if there was any sort of accident on the road, you could be sure to expect more than a bit of traffic. The road was not all bad because as the trip progressed, I began to see the beauty outside the window through the river, farmland, people and the most common animal life I’ve seen here: dogs.

Once down the mountain, the view began to flatten and the roads remained bumpy. Finally, we pulled into the city of Baratpur. This city is the launching point to all the communities Wine To Water works in. The Global Hotel provided the necessary comforts for any westerner, and a good night’s sleep prepared me for the next day.

Pulling into a village can be compared to waking up from a long sleep and not knowing where you are when you wake up. Villagers were busy with their morning routines, such as teeth brushing, bathing, heating up breakfast or beginning their walk to work. They all gave us passing stares as our van went up their village road toward the local village restaurant. The community leaders were there to meet us, and conversation began about acquiring villagers to help us work for that day. We were in need of laborers to cut down a path for us through the forest, as the engineers would be needing a clear path to outline the pipeline.           

Villagers were brought together, and we all departed as one group into the jungle. Our destination was the water source which was about an hour hike away. I’m always amazed at the joy of villagers. We had young, old and middle-aged among those willing to assist us. They were all working for one purpose: to serve their community. They serve their community because they too want this piped source of water. They know, as we do, that water can increase their quality of life, and they were willing to buy into it with their time.           

For two days, the different villagers helped us navigate the jungle, and we finished our surveys. We walked many miles and mapped out a tap-system we hope is possible for this community. We ate at the local restaurant and got to be a part of the community. Work concluded, and the job was done in Dahakhani. We reached our goal, and would come back in a few weeks, hopefully bearing supplies and volunteers for work to begin.     

The last day in the field before departure was labeled as a follow-up. We traveled to all the communities where a well had already been dug by WTW. The amazing thing is that every well was working, and the communities loved it. WTW Nepal has made wells that last, and the people were so grateful. We received smiles and blessings from everyone. The follow-ups make clear why we do what we do. Serving others is the most satisfying thing to be a part of. The field may be different, dirty and hot, but seeing people’s lives changed is worth it all.

 

- Pavan, Nepal IPM