In October 2011, a group of twelve Building Bridges volunteers traveled to Gerkhu, Nepal to work on the construction of a three room community center and the renovation of four classrooms in the secondary school. When completed, the community center will be used as a medical clinic and a computer center with internet access.
Building Bridges volunteers hiked two hours into the village and were met by a warm welcome from over two hundred people from Gerkhu with a ceremony that showcased their finest music, song and dance. The group then spent seven days living and working in the community.
Each morning we woke up at sunrise and shared tea with the host family and then hiked twenty minutes to the work site. The work on the community center included moving rocks from the quarry to the work site, digging the foundation, and chiseling rocks by hand to prepare them for the wall.
After the work day was finished, the group headed home for a quick snack of raamen noodles and prepared for the most anticipated event of the day – a sporting event between the volunteers and the locals of Gerkhu. The first day we played Volleyball, but the other days we played local Nepalese games. Each group sent its best team and the competition level was high. Everyone had so much fun that we inevitably played until sunset each day.
The highlight was a mixed game of Ruttutu – a local game similar to full contact dodge ball – where it became evident that over the week the we had bonded with the villagers.
Local partners were essential to completing the project, as Building Bridges partnered with Experience Himalayan Nepal (EHN). EHN is based in Kathmandu and focuses its work on projects that will help the underprivileged of Nepal. EHN will be responsible for coordinating the operation of the medical clinic and the new computer center.