Friday, December 16, 2016

Oh Boy, It Was Hard

But what a way to end the year. 

Estimated depth of debris field is 30 m of rock and ice.

A memorial remembering those who lost their lives in the earthquake
and subsequent avalanche and landslide -- Langtang, Nepal.

Here are links to some short videos worth watching. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Bug Has Bitten

D had a phenomenal time at his first volunteer placement.  So much so, he has already committed to going back next year.  The dates have been set and unfortunately will not work for me.  So he will again be representing us.  I'm super proud of him.

D didn't grow up in a family that is very giving.  So they don't really know what to make of it nor why he would even choose something like this.  Come to think of it, neither would mine.

This build was not a typical one, meaning there was a definite completion point for the volunteers.  In a Habitat build for example, you do what you can, and the monies contributed by team members ensure that local tradespeople will continue and finish the project when your time there was over.

There was difficulty getting tradespeople to work as most younger villagers (especially ones who can speak English) have moved to the city to find work and are away most of the year.

And the ones who may have been previously interested had been used to being paid incredible amounts of money by one of the "big name" charities that walzed into the area, had one structure built to specs that wasn't right for the region and subsequently, it has sat empty and rotting since.

That one action has had a long and negative influence on so many levels.  Whereas for a very small fraction of the money spent above, some real long term good has come out of the small locally run NGOs.

In addition to basic living (tent, no hot water), the work was physically hard with long and early days in order to escape the heat.  It cooled down to single digits (Celsius) at night so the team had to be equipped with enough layers for warmth.

I got to meet most of D's team during our overlap days.  The roster consisted of mostly outdoor adventurer types with impressive personal achievements.  Pretty inspiring company.  I can see why he enjoyed being around them so much.

A big question mark was whether D's back would hold up with all the hard labour.  It did and we are both very thankful for that.  He hasn't worked physically hard like that for years and it felt good.  Understandably, everyone pretty much just crawled into their tents at night and fell right asleep.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Random 2

  • I never thought there was much difference in automobile glass until we got our Subaru.  On a sunny summer day, you could fry an egg on of your head if you were inside the car, under the sunroof.  It was so hot, that we had to keep it closed.  Plus you could feel the amount of heat that was coming through the inside of the rest of the roof. 
  • Still no estimate on my car repair yet.  They aren't the quickest but are willing to do a repair when the dealership would have just replaced.  So I will wait for it.  What I have going on isn't a safety issue.  It will just get noisier over time and I caught it early, so I doubt anyone outside would really notice yet.  Since D has been away, I've been driving his car as it is conveniently in the driveway.
  • Had a great chat with my travel Dr before I left about how I have been feeling this year.  She is so fantastic and eased my worries about having contracted yellow fever or malaria or Japanese encephalitis or schistosomiasis or dengue... 
  • She agreed that my system deserves a break and we went over my list of potential travel places to rule out any that would need special meds as I will be avoiding those next year and maybe even the year after.  I could sit and talk to her all day.  
  • What is still confusing to me is that I am physically stronger than I was even at the beginning of this year.  Which makes the mental emotional lag even more frustrating.  However I am noticing some gradual improvement.  I just need more time.  Even my nurse who administered the shots I needed mentioned that it is time to take care of myself so I can re-enter stronger.
  • My preparation for this final big journey of the year has never been more organized and calm.  I've learned a thing or 2 since Uganda -- Thank goodness.      
  • Had an arborist come out to the house to discuss what to do about a few of our large trees.  Ended up that the largest one is fine and the other 2 needed to be thinned out properly -- Something that ought to be done every 5 years or so.  He even removed a couple of dying cedars and trimmed a couple of things for us free of charge.  It's a great thing to be connected with someone good.  Total price was $450.  
  • We have a dead maple at the cottage that will need to taken down.  Got a quote for $550 and the work will be done in the spring.  He will cut the pieces down to manageable sizes so that our neighbours can take it for burning.  Otherwise for him to take the wood away, it would cost $200 more. We border forest at the back and side, so paying him to take it away wasn't even an option. 
  • We are now both home.  Here are a couple of photos D first took on his arrival to the city and to his work site.