I travelled to Chitwan with Village community Centre founder, Basanta. We decided to go via plane due to the weather being unsettled causing a high risk of landslides along the road from Kathmandu.
We arrived at a village, a village which I assumed at the time I had travelled back in time to; with random goats and buffaloes walking the street and rice fields surrounding the whole area. People selling local produce on the road and a considerable amount of houses built close together to ensure there was more space to farm on the land, the complete opposite of my home farm located in West Wales.
As we walked deeper into the village from the main highway linking India and Nepal together I realised how everyone was looking at me (this was obviously not a touristy spot), Basanta would explain that my visit here would be big news to the community. We arrived at the centre where I had an enormous welcome from some of the local farmers and children that were using the facilities of the centre, and all of them asking and repeating the question of where I was from and what my name is, whilst doing so I was handed a bunch of flowers and was welcomed by Basanta’ mother with powdered down red flower petals which was then used to mark my forehead, this is called Tika.
The week in Bhandara started with a tour around with Basanta and two local farmers, we walked for more than an hour, exploring the local land and showing me how people here lived their lives. Immediately I realised how self reliant the people were here, not farming to make a massive profit but farming to put food on the plate; this way seemed very calm, I could see how relaxed people were (no stress in sight) just farming and producing food to keep the community going.
This week was mainly based on getting to know everyone, and obviously people getting to know why I was there. Basanta wont be with me when I go back to Chitwan for around 4 weeks, he will be in the UK working so he wanted to ensure I got to see all facilities available and all the help I would need, it was very reinsuring especially when people were so welcoming.
We travelled around on the motorbike visiting local engineering huts, wood workshops and visited the DIY shop. The blacksmith based workers had pretty much the most basic of equipment but amazingly seemed to be producing all sorts of work (also health and safety isn’t an issue, all power based machines such as welders and pillar-drills were wired on and off from the mains electric). My favourite location was the wood workshop, simplicity at its best! Everything made my hand, limited power supply due to the Power loads throughout the day, which meant most work was made what us in UK would call traditionally made.
During the end of the week with Basanta, we worked on simple DIY jobs, such as fixing doors, plumbing and moving furniture around to create classrooms ready to hold teaching sessions within.
I plan on staying in the village for 4/5 weeks during the end of July and most of August. Now I have seen what I have accessible to work with I am able to have a rough plan of what to make and teach with the children at Village Community Centre.