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Hello Friends of ABIN,
I am writing to you from the Hotel Arati in Khandbari, Nepal. Our October team trip has been quite an adventure thus far. Pat, Kyle, Brian and I arrived in Kathmandu just eight days ago but looking back it seems like we have been busy for closer to two weeks. In less than four weeks we will be able to share its images and stories with all who attend our ABIN Third Annual Fundraiser at Glo Restaurant & Lounge in Victoria on November 19. Please get your tickets now, you can purchase them here, as we have sold out the past two years and this year will undoubtedly sell out again. 
After some 30 hours of travel, we arrived in Kathmandu late on Friday evening, Oct 18. On Saturday morning we met with ABIN Nepal coordinator Parshu, along with two recent university graduates from Nepal, Sonam and Sunita, who joined our team for this trip. After our planning meeting, the rest of the day was spent organizing gear and preparing for our Sunday morning flight to Tumlingtar. 
After a two-hour weather delay we arrived in Tumlingtar, cleared local passport control and had our first Dal Bhat meal of the journey. Dal Bhat is the staple meal of Nepal consisting of steamed rice and lentils, with a little fish or chicken and typically a veggie or two often pickled. I believe that we ate Dal Bhat some 12 times over the next 6 days as this was our only option!  
We toured two coffee co-ops that have been facilitated by our Nepali NGO partner, SODEC, in the Chainpur region. Also in Chainpur we celebrated the (near) completion of ABIN’s Sharada School project. Along with SODEC we officially signed over our 8 classroom building to the local education committee. There was a warm welcome from the school’s 440 students and a ribbon cutting ceremony. 
On Tuesday we departed Chainpur for a four hour drive to the village of Barabisi, and then walked uphill the final 3 hours to the village of Swachi where ABIN officially commenced construction of our third school project, Him School, for 236 students. We were billeted in this very small community. Kyle and I shared a small home with a Nepali family with four children ages 5 months to 12 yrs old. Our room was incredible! The picture says it all. Pat and Brian called a small classroom home, Sunita and Sonam had beds in a cramped storage room that was full of 30 kg sacks of recently harvested black cardamom, and Parshu stayed with another local family. 
After a few hours of layout on Wednesday morning we spent Wednesday and Thursday with picks and shovels digging holes 1.2m deep for column bases for the new building. This was hard, hot callus building work for all of us. On Friday morning we were fortunate enough to take part in the traditional blessing of the new building by a local priest and the ceremonial laying of the first stone. This was followed by a community celebration. Timing for the celebrations was perfect as Friday was also the first day of the Hindu festival of Diwali which is commonly referred to as the “Celebration of Light”. The songs, dancing, traditional Nepali dress and food were an absolute joy. The turnout of students, their families and other members of this remote community was quite frankly overwhelming.
We departed Swachi at 2:30 on Friday and began our journey over very rough roads to Khandbari. Our Jeep had been the first to arrive at Swachi since the middle of monsoon season as the local road was significantly damaged from the months long deluge of rains. Saturday is market day here in Khandbari which is a true Nepali experience in and of itself. 
We spent Saturday afternoon with our SODEC friends at their office compound reviewing Sharada school closing budget, Him school opening budget, coffee initiatives and other programs that SODEC oversees. Of course we were treated to a classic Nepali feast (not Dal Bhat) and the hospitality that has always been a highlight of our ABIN Team trips to Nepal. 
Once again, I would like to invite you to join us on November 19 for our fundraiser. We continue to receive donations for our silent auction and look forward once again to the ambiance and fantastic food that Paul and his team at Glo are so adept at providing. Our work in Nepal, and the impact that it has on the lives of so many deserving school children and their families keeps us coming back. Your support makes it possible and all of us at ABIN are really grateful.
Rob Tournour
Founder - Another Brick in Nepal
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Another Brick In Nepal · 121-937 Dunford Ave · Victoria, Bc V9B2S4 · Canada

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