Building in the Solukhumbu is an exercise in patience, transportation, tenacity as well as building skills. Edge of Seven works toward the principle of “Focus on Future Generations” which makes us constantly think, ‘what if?’ What if there is an earthquake, what if we could do this more efficiently, what if there are enough schools for all kids to attend school, what if all kids including the girls got an education? That’s why we build schools. Because we know that education will be one of the fundamental items that helps Nepal and other countries rise out of poverty.
Edge of Seven has worked on a variety of past project including earth bag technique buildings.
Today we’re working on three projects detailed below. Our goals are to work in the Solukhumbu area (Everest) of Nepal so that classrooms are available at least at the rate that they were in 2015 before the earthquakes. In this way we are doing late-relief/early development as we’re working to immediately make an impact on the ability of kids to go to school.
These three schools in 2016 are at high need. Ramailo Jyoti Lower Secondary in Salleri, Mukli Lower Secondary in Barkhu, and Kalika Primary in Dipli.
Ramailo Jyoti Lower Secondary, Salleri
Ramailo Jyoti is about a 3-4 hour hike from the airport in Phaplu. Walking roughly southwest you travel down hill several thousand feet down to the river, then back up and equal number of kilometers and meters up in elevation. The school sits on a narrow band of land on a steep hillside. Last spring after the earthquakes Edge of Seven and our partner (TSW) built a temporary learning center here. Most of the classrooms at this school were damaged or destroyed. A total of seven classrooms need to be replaced and the school’s students have been displaced. The 6th through 8th graders now go to other schools or do not attend because of the additional distance needed to get to other schools.
The temporary classrooms were built of tin and bamboo and have a typical life span of 1-2 years. The intent is to build these temporary classrooms so that there is room for students that also doesn’t create more fear and concern of another earthquake trapping them in their school. Luckily during both earthquakes, students were not in the school classrooms.
At Ramailo Jyoti, the Edge of Seven building is making great progress as of May 1, 2016. The accompanying picture shows the foundation, footer, walls, columns and structure coming together well. The building (as the only approved design) is a traditional stone building but one that is reinforced. The corner columns are 1 foot per side with 8 pieces of rebar. They are sunk 5 feet deep. The foundation is 3 feet deep. The footer and the tie beams are reinforced with concrete and rebar. The tie beam is also concrete and tie beams and are fixed to the corner columns. The roof is tied to the tie beams and the corner columns as well. This building is many steps past the design and earthquake resistance of previous (and most other) buildings in the area.
Expected completion June 15, 2016.
Mukli Lower Secondary, Barkhu
If you travel from the airport in Phaplu you can now drive part way to the Mukli Lower School. From where the road ends after four bouncing hours, you can then hike 3 hours downhill to the Dudh Kosi river in the village of Barkhu where this school is located. If you walk from the Phaplu airport, count on it taking about 10-12 hours.
This school has multiple damaged classrooms with 6 having been completely destroyed. Four more classrooms are in need of being torn down because they are so damaged. Unfortunately some of these classrooms are still in use. In 2015 right after the earthquake, we helped to build a Temporary Learning Center at this school to go along with another TLC and an emergency wall tent to help get the school through the immediate need of keeping kids in school.
In spring of 2016 work began to build a new permanent building (2 classrooms). Despite a fuel shortage, political upheaval, delays in building design approvals, and rising transportation costs we’ve been working with the community to get the new designs implemented. In April the project was moving forward nicely and the foundation and the footer were in place. A great amount of work had been put in by the Community School Building Committee to manage the work and coordinate with the project manager on the ground there.
The expected completion of this school building will be July 2016.
Kalika Primary, Dipli
The Kalika Primary School in the village of Dipli is about a 3 hour walk from the new end of the road. It used to be about a 10 hour walk from Phaplu. With the road extending its shorter unless you can’t afford the ride. But way out here the road continues to extend out farther and farther each year which makes building slightly easier. However, there is still very little flat land in the area. So therefore in Dipli (VDC of Deusa) there was significant work done to make a flat space to rebuild the school buildings because of the significant damage that the school took. In the picture to the right you can see how much rock work was done to ensure that there was a safe and flat space for the new building.
The new building, done to the specifications approved by the national government will have the same parameters as the buildings at the previous two buildings above. One of the challenging factors true in this school building as in the others is that all the wood used in the building has to be locally sourced in the forests around the building. Each board and beam is cut from trees that are within 1-3 miles of the project. They are sawed near where the trees are felled and then hewn to spec and then transported into the site. This process takes a great deal of time and preparation for the wood is required to begin before the building is even started. In this way the windows and the door frames (for example) will be completed so that they are ready when the building has walls up enough to set the windows.
The project continues on through April and May and in early May you can see the progress being made on the foundation and the footer. The incredible work down to build an entire flat terrace for the new buildings is paying off as the school building begins to take shape. Near the edges of this new terrace there is a drop off of 20-30 feet.
|The community and the Community School Building Committee working hard.||
Building without electricity or power tools takes great patience and skill.