If you want to travel far, travel togther...
Community. Tribe. Team. These are words we don't use nearly enough in our daily lives. They are reoccuring in the CLEAN DRINK vocabulary and drive our every effort. The more we band together, the more we stand to accomplish. Join us. You will love how it feels.
A Village in the Dark: Water for Music in Syangja
On our most recent trip through the terraced mountains of Nepal, our group somehow got split at a faint intersection. Half of us climbed a tiny dirt road as the other forged ahead on an even smaller track. Long after the sun had forsaken the day, we finally reunited in a quaint village perched atop a forested hilltop. Arriving late in the evening our headlights and engines caused quite a stir. When the locals saw a gaggle of foreingers standing in their village square, it made an even bigger ruckus.
As is so often the case, we didn’t have time to shed our dirty motorcycle gear before shaking hands and drinking tea with the locals as they did everything they could to make us feel warm and welcome. Guest is God in Nepal and most certainly in remote communities where visitors are always the most interesting show in town.
After an extended welcome they escorted us to a courtyard where we pitched our tents and settled in for the night. A group of teens quickly assembled to entertain us with traditional music mixed with a few Nepali pop songs. Our impromptu stop spawned a spontaneous yard party, and we were not entirely sure it wouldn’t go on until dawn. Slowly one-by-one our crew retreated to our nylon rooms, our eyes slamming shut with fatigue.
The next morning we asked our hosts about their local water supply, if anyone gets sick, and our usual questions. Vishu inquired if they would like to learn about our water treatment system and before we knew it they had gathered to hear our presentation.
We’re always amazed by how receptive people are to learn about our travels and why we end up in such remote places. When we explain our water initiative the responses are always positive and engaging. On this day, several people in the community immediately dove into our demonstration and quickly understood how the MSR SE200 Community Chlorine Maker could benefit their entire village.
Packing up our tents, the women of the community thanked us for coming, sharing in a night of good fun, and for the gift of the MSR SE200 Community Chlorine Maker. And that’s how it always should be. It’s not uncommon for some organizations to enter a village and foist their aid on unsuspecting locals. We offered the water system to the villagers and they eagerly accepted. They gained a useful tool and we received a wonderful night of hospitality we won’t soon forget.
We will be back to Syangja to see how they like their new system and to ensure they are not having any issues with its use. We want to offer them further assistance if necessary, but then again, we’re really looking forward to just another night of fun.
Share - A night of fun and a gift of clean water.
Never Give UP: Finding Hope in Butwal
Our most valued team member is our Nepal-based Director of Operations, Vishu Sijali. We rely on his firsthand knowledge of the remote areas we visit and his dedication to helping his fellow citizens is unmatched. He sees our water initiatives as just one critical component in a wholistic approach to improving people’s lives. He sees the big picture.
One of Vishu’s favorite projects is promoting Butwal as a center for tourism. His adopted home, he supports a wide range of businesses and entrepreneurs in the city. But it’s not just about business.
Set far off the main road on the edge of town sits a small facility made of concrete bricks and rusted tin. From the outside it doesn’t look like much. Once inside it is a place of happy faces, laughter, and smiles. The Kalika Nagar home in Butwal is home to 35 men, women, and children, most of whom have disabilities or no parents.
Vishu knows this place well and having visited it many times before, knew they had an immediate need for a clean water system. After giving them a demonstration of the MSR SE200 unit, they quickly started discussing ways to get it implemented. We drafted a plan to fit their kitchen with a clean water tank, and talked about ways they can also use chlorine to quell the spread of illness within their tight living quarters.
In our remaining time with the residents of the Kalika Nagar Home, we just enjoyed getting to know each other. A place that receives few visitors, we were a welcome break from their normal routine. And we enjoyed their company and hospitality. We played with the bright faced kids, chatted with the adults about improvements they hope to make, and as we’ve come to expect, they treated us like honored guests. Before we departed they gave us each a gift of freshly made sweets.
It’s hard to believe people with so little to give can offer so much as a box of pastries, but such kindness and generosity is commonplace in Nepal. We came hoping to offer a useful tool and in returned received more than we could ever repay. Kindness is a rare commodity in our world, but the easiest gift to give. The residents of the Kalika Nagar Home have been dealt a tough situation, but they remain resilient, positive, and loving. We could all learn more from such shining examples of the human spirit.
Leading by Example: Pipra Homestay Community Is Drinking Clean
One of CLEAN DRINK’s inherent challenges is finding communities capable of helping us promote safe drinking water. Many rural villages don’t fully understand the scope of waterborne illnesses or how their seemingly safe water is making them sick. In the southern portion of Nepal, a growing number of villages are making strides to improve their lives through commerce. In doing so they are benefiting the region at large. The Pipra Homestay Community on the edge of Chitwan National Park is one shining example.
Homestays are fast becoming an essential means of revenue for rural families and communities. A homestay is exactly what it sounds like. In most cases they’re little more than a spare room offered to passersby. In some instances, as in Pipra, the homestays are like small hotel rooms tucked into local homes throughout the village. They’re clean, comfortable, and surprisingly well appointed with fans, electricity, showers, and the all too rare seated toilet. In a country where things get a little rugged, the Pipra rooms are decidedly comfy.
During our recent trip, our team landed in Pipra during the first days of Dashain. The fifteen day holiday consumes the whole of Nepal with two weeks of festivals, family gatherings, and much needed days of rest. For our team, it provided an amazing opportunity to soak up the local customs and culture of the Terai region. On arrival we were treated by a welcoming envoy of local women in traditional Tharu cultural dress. Later in the evening the community gathered at their town center for a night of dancing, music, and shared fun.
After speaking with the local leaders it was apparent Pipra is thriving. The recipients of funds from other organizations and NGOs, they have become a shining example of how innovation and entrepreneurship can benefit an entire community of 400 people. Now they have the resources necessary to reach out to the surrounding areas to assist other villages. In that regard, they are ideal partners for the implantation of clean water initiatives. Aside from now being able to offer their visitors safe water, they can explain those benefits to their neighboring communities.
On the morning of our departure we met with the leaders of Pipra and discussed how to best use their village as the flashpoint to get other water units distributed nearby. The first of three units we left with them went to their school. The two others are to be used in their community center and to treat water for their developing network of homestay households. It will take time for Pipra to fully adopt the system for maximum benefit throughout their 400 person village, but they’ll get there in time. And other villages nearby will follow suit. When we return we will ensure those communities get MSR SE200 units of their own.
PARDULE Village is Drinking Clean - August 2018
During our campaign in April, we arrived at the village of Pardule in the Surket district of Nepal with just one last MSR SE200 machine. Unfortunately, earlier in the trip we managed to damage the $1 fuse in the unit so it was not opperational. We vowed to return, although the people of Pardule probably didn't believe we would. Sereral INGOs had said the same.
This week, after pushing through the monsoons, our lead field operations manager, Vishu Sijali, finally made it to Pardule with a functioning water purifier and the funds to purchase a new water tank. We're happy to report, the people of Pardule are now drinking clean water.
In this part of Nepal, waterborne illnesses are responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, mostly young kids. For the people of Pardule, their chance of avoiding such illnesses has been greatly reduced.
Share. Give. Go. You shared. You gave. We went.
The Shree Jung Primary School in Jhapa, Nepal is DRINKING CLEAN. May - 2018
It takes a lot of good people to do the things we do. Luckily for us our community continues to grow. And with it, so too does our positive impact. This week we get to share more good news. During our CLEAN DRINK trip in April, we left two MSR SE200 Community Chlorine makers with our friends at Portal Bikes in Kathmandu. Founded by Colorado natives Emily and Caleb Spear, Portal Bikes creates transportation and shelter solutions for the people of Nepal. Their staff comes from all over the country and their knowledge of rural communities and remote schools has proven an indispensible asset for the CLEAN DRINK project.
Last week, Portal Bike's Tenjing Gurung traveled to a remote school with an MSR SE200 unit. He used it as the star attraction in a small health fair where teachers and volunteers spoke to the students about clean water, dental hygiene, and other important health-related topics. By the end of the day, thanks to Tenjing's efforts, the Shree Jung school and the surrounding community now have access to safe, clean water.
As we push this project forward, with your help, schools will continue to play an important role. We believe in the power of kids. Schools in themselves are proof that communities are making positive efforts to better the lives of their youth. Schools are also social centers where the MSR SE200 can be leveraged to supply safe water and chlorine for an entire community. In the future we hope to use schools as launch pads to get more MSR SE200 units into the surrounding areas.
Kumu Gabar: Clean Water Arrives on the Edge of the Bardia Tiger Preserve - April 2018
The people of Kumu Gabar are superb hosts. While visiting their small community on the edge of the Bardia Tiger preserve, they went so far as to catch fresh fish from a local river for our midday lunch. Everything they do is for the betterment of their community and those who come to visit. Helping them with their water issues wasn't a gift, but a trade. They gave us hospitality, we gave them the tools to empower themselves with clean water.
There are more than 300 people in the extended community of Gabar and now they're drinking clean water and helping to tell other villagers in the area how important it is to treat their water. We have plans to return to Gabar very soon. Other villages nearby want help. And we're going to give it to them. And maybe get a fresh lunch in the exchange.
All of these efforts require your support to make them happen. You can make your own impact in three ways:
Share our positive stories with your own tribe.
Give to the CLEAN DRINK project to ensure we get to the schools and communities in need.
Go on one of our LAST MILE trips and hand deliver clean water solutions, just as Tenjing did.