An update from afar.

A quick update, from the last month:

Our bid process is finally over, and we’ve selected Hemendra as our contractor. In order to qualify financially for our project, he had to team up with another company as part of a joint venture. The next two weeks are dedicated to writing a good, comprehensive contract. I have absolutely zero experience in this, so I’ll be going back and forth with SP, a governance consultant we’ve hired from Kathmandu.

The gathering of contractors and Kopila representatives for Bid Opening.

The gathering of contractors and Kopila representatives for Bid Opening.

After the Bid Opening was finished, all the bids (9 of them, each containing ~250 pages) needed to be locked away in a secure room.

After the Bid Opening was finished, all the bids (9 of them, each containing ~250 pages) needed to be locked away in a secure room.

At the end of this week, I’m traveling with Chris and Jamie to Kathmandu to 1) meet with Hemendra and our consultant to hammer out details of the contract and 2) to interview consulting firms that can provide us with a site engineer and project manager and, last, 3) to attend a 2-day design workshop I’m organizing with the three of us and Nripal (our architect) and Jaddon (Kopila’s educational consultant) and Naim (Kopila’s principal).

Organizing the dates and schedule of the itinerary has been excessively challenging, largely because Nripal is still doing a lot of earthquake relief work and I’ve been so busy with the bid process. Also, coordinating between seven people is a lot harder than I would have realized. There is still a very serious petrol shortage in this country, due to India’s undeclared border blockade, and travel logistics are nightmare throughout the country. I’m hoping that we come away from the workshop with a strong sense of what the Early Childhood Village is going to look like, how much it will cost, who is building it, and how long it will take.

The itinerary for our "charrette" next week. A charrette is a design workshop involving all the stakeholders - architects, engineers, educators, landscapers.

The itinerary for our “charrette” next week. A charrette is a design workshop involving all the stakeholders – architects, engineers, educators, landscapers.

The Aquaponics side show is still happening. There are no plastic tanks available in the entire country (again, due to the blockade), so we’ll be experimenting with ferrocement work and making a couple of underground tanks. I’ve never done ferrocement work before, nor have my workers, so all I have to rely on for information is my friend Google.

It’s slightly unfortunate, though I do love learning new building techniques, because my real focus right now needs to be developing the ECV plan and getting a contract finished for Hemendra’s firm. I can be nice having a side project, but Cal, who is the expert in Aquaponics, is leaving in about a month, so time could potentially become an issue. I’ll post photos of the system when we have it up and running (hopefully in about 2 weeks).

Lastly, I thought I’d post on here my last dozen or so Instagram photos, since I’m far better at keeping my Instagram updated than this blog.

Back.

Back.

Man Kumari has a successful harvest from our land of Bogate fruit, which tastes a lot like grapefruit but is a fair amount larger.

Man Kumari has a successful harvest from our land of Bogate fruit, which tastes a lot like grapefruit but is a fair amount larger.

Rammed earth fence looking good and completely unaffected by the monsoon rains!

Rammed earth fence looking good and completely unaffected by the monsoon rains!

got hay?

got hay?

Laxmin smoothing some of the edge on our new Aquaponics structure..!

Laxmin smoothing some of the edge on our new Aquaponics structure..!

Adding to my collection of amazing Nepali moths…

Adding to my collection of amazing Nepali moths…

A golden treat inside.

A golden treat inside.

This morning’s chartered flight to Pokhara.

This morning’s chartered flight to Pokhara.

My newest Nepali moth. Groton colors!

My newest Nepali moth. Groton colors!

Entrance to the pizza temple.

Entrance to the pizza temple.

The entrance to our vocational campus, lit up at night by multi-color LED stripping.

The entrance to our vocational campus, lit up at night by multi-color LED stripping.

The office to-do list.

The office to-do list.

Our grandmother goat is pregnant from an encounter this summer. Some of our staff brought down a billy goat from the mountains while I was gone in the US this summer and he did the deed. She’s way too old and weak from giving birth just 7 months ago, so I’m pretty worried she’s not going to survive. Healthy pregnancies make a goat look wide, whereas Baje Bakri’s chest is just sagging. I’m doing what I can - feeding her special leaves and grains - but we’ll just have to hope she can tough it out.

Our grandmother goat is pregnant from an encounter this summer. Some of our staff brought down a billy goat from the mountains while I was gone in the US this summer and he did the deed. She’s way too old and weak from giving birth just 7 months ago, so I’m pretty worried she’s not going to survive. Healthy pregnancies make a goat look wide, whereas Baje Bakri’s chest is just sagging. I’m doing what I can – feeding her special leaves and grains – but we’ll just have to hope she can tough it out.

We now have 4 ducks and 2 rabbits, one of which is pregnant. They are sharing this new but temporary split level house that my workers put up (with absolutely no direction from me). The ducks are downstairs, and the rabbits are upstairs. There’s a pond out front for the ducks to bathe in, and the rabbits have a little door to exit out the back.

We now have 4 ducks and 2 rabbits, one of which is pregnant. They are sharing this new but temporary split level house that my workers put up (with absolutely no direction from me). The ducks are downstairs, and the rabbits are upstairs. There’s a pond out front for the ducks to bathe in, and the rabbits have a little door to exit out the back.

Happy Tihar from Nepal!

Happy Tihar from Nepal!

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4 comments on “An update from afar.

  1. josh says:

    Luke, what a great post! You must feel like a sailor finally getting the all clear to set sail after being holed up by weather for a month. Here’s to nice fresh westerly breezes the whole way.

    Now I know where the name Charette (as in the art supply store that has recently gone bust) comes from. Fingers crossed for Grandma Goat.

  2. janemetcalf says:

    ah, luke, so wonderful to get an update–on so many happenings! may you have many green lights ahead from this point on. i liked studying your workshop schedule for the ‘early childhood village’. what a great way to put you all on the same page. i’ll be thinking of you in the days to come and also baje bakri. i hope she can wait for your return. (read up about older goats and birthing, luke. she’ll most likely need some assistance.) oh, and i just love the split level home for the ducks and rabbits. we need one of those on totman hill!

  3. cassidia8 says:

    Awesome post and great photos all around, especially the moths.

  4. cassidia8 says:

    I like # 2 on the To Do List: “Build School”

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