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[May 27th] — Latest News From Batase Village

It’s been a month since the earthquake rocked Nepal. A month filled with aftershocks, news stories of tragedies and rescues, and the beginnings of what is sure to be a long process of rebuilding.

If you’ve been following the FHC charity on Facebook, you will have seen photos and stories from Batase Village. You may even have seen the ABC news story covering Som’s trip back to the village. Over the past few weeks FHC have been fund raising, collecting donations, and preparing for the work that will need to be done once things have settled down.

That time is almost here. The aftershocks have dwindled, landslides — always a common feature of the Himalayas — are returning to normal levels, roads are being cleared and re-opened, and the people of Nepal are starting to move beyond thoughts of mere survival.

If you’re part of our July group of volunteers, you’re probably wondering what conditions will be like when you arrive. In Kathmandu, you’ll see a lot of collapsed buildings. But the city is recovering and is open to tourists and travellers alike. The hotel we use to house our volunteers when they first arrive is fully operational. The trails to Batase are open, as are the lodges along the way. Our guides will be there when you arrive.

In Batase, the volunteer hostel has all but collapsed — you can see by the picture below that what remains of the structure will need to be torn down and rebuilt. Thankfully, the kitchen block and shower block near the hostel are undamaged, so you can be assured that you will be well fed and have access to clean and warm water for showers when you arrive.

The volunteer hostel after the earthquake

The rest of the village fared just as badly. The school and the new orphanage have been irreparably damaged. Though some walls remain, both buildings are structurally unsafe and will need to be torn down and rebuilt. Many houses in the village have also been destroyed.

A large number of the villagers are living in tents, and with the school destroyed the children have little to do all day. The FHC charity hope to have a temporary structure to house the school in place within a few weeks. This will help keep the children occupied and give them something to look forward to each day. It will also be where you will be doing much of your volunteer work.

The detailed day by day itinerary for your work in the village has been removed, as conditions simply do not allow for it at this time. The work you will be doing will vary each day, but will revolve around the children and the school area. There will be teaching. There will be work in helping keep the children clean and healthy. There will be some light building work for anyone who feels strong enough — this will likely take the form of helping with the temporary school structure, and clearing rubble.

With the volunteer hostel no longer habitable, the July group will be sleeping in tents. We will provide the tents, and everything else you need while you are in the village. Our cook will be accompanying the group to the village with fresh supplies to keep you all well fed. One of the tracks that allows for 4WD access to the village has been re-opened, so we are now able to ferry supplies in much more quickly.

Though a few members of the group have decided not to accompany us in July, we’re delighted that so many of you have chosen to come. It’s a dark and painful time for many in Batase village, especially the young children, many of whom have lost their homes. The volunteers have always been popular amongst the kids, and having you arrive so soon after the upheaval caused by the earthquake will be a sign that things are returning to normal.

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