Education Program Update Blog & Video

Always a pleasure working with the amazing Alyson Noele Sagala who I met through Conscious Impact last year. Last week I went to the local secondary school with Alyson and two other volunteers/friends, Allie Seymour and Lilly Foster, and together they facilitated a women's reproductive health class alongside Shakya Jenisha, a Teach for Nepal fellow. Photos by yours truly and words and Alyson's.
Link to blog: https://www.consciousimpact.org/new-blog/2017/5/2/education-update-252017-sexual-reproduction-and-health

Also! Fresh video update of the same day. As is the case usually, Alyson describes it best:
"Though news from across the ocean is as disheartening as ever, I am reminded of the good we are still capable of putting out in the world to counteract ugliness, no matter the context.
Last Friday we did a sexual reproductive health and menstruation education workshop for the members of the Girls Empowerment Program. I'm even more excited about the follow up meeting we had just this morning with even more girls in attendance. But for now, take a gander at this video that documents what we did last week, engaging this bright group of girls with invaluable education in a fun, supportive, and safe environment.
"
Shout out to Lilly FosterAllie Seymour, and Shakya Jenisha in making this possible, enlightening curious young minds here where we've lived and worked. I always enjoy documenting a meaningful and empowering event and cause. Thank you! #ComeToNepal

My first Conscious Impact experience in the village of Takure

The ambient light diffusing into my tent gently woke me up. It was roughly 6 am. The air was damp, but not muggy. I remembered it had rained last night. I remembered being pulled out of a deep sleep as the rain drops spattered onto the nylon rainfly less than a meter above. The rain was light though, soothing. I teleported back into dreamland within seconds. I have slept well almost every night. This rain was particularly welcomed. It hadn't rained for nearly a week. The transition out of the monsoon season has been quite drastic in these past 5 weeks. The frequency of rain has dropped noticeably, and so has the evening temperatures. Autumn is definitely upon us.

The volunteer camp in the village of Takure in the district of Sindhupalchok has been my home for nearly the past 6 weeks. I have lived out of a small tent, waking up early to the sun everyday to learn, work, and live alongside dozens of volunteers from across the globe. In some weeks there have been only about 15-25 of us. Others 40-55+. We eat a vegetarian, plant-based diet. We drink, shower, and clean with water from a spring further up the hill. Natural resources such as bamboo, wood, sand, clay, and stone are collected from around the community, and if needed, purchased from nearby stores to support local businesses. The diversity of the characters this camp and project has attracted here is truly immense. Equally immense is the hospitality and warmth of the Nepalis, specifically the community members of Takure. We've been welcomed into a number of families' homes and served tea, milk, and sometimes even fresh harvests such as cucumbers with chili salt. Their stories, openness, and humility humble us each and everyday. Describing the essence thus far with any one or even combination of adjectives doesn't even begin to articulate the full spectrum of humbling and enlightening human experiences I (we) have had.

Today we bid farewell to the 10-day October rebuild volunteers. Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when you have worked, laughed, sang, cooked, sweated, learned, and shared experiences with around the clock day after day. We share the collective vision for global learning and understanding. We seek connections beyond geographical and political boundaries. We are drawn closer by our similarities rather than being divided by our differences in beliefs, genders, and interests. We celebrate the unique journeys and skill sets which we are all on and have. It makes for quite the special bonds. I have certainly made a number of friends for life.

In the following several days, we will be completing the main structure of the training center. The training center is going to be where community members of Takure and folks from all around the region can come and learn about an alternative building material which will be produced on-site. Compressed earth blocks, or CEB for short, is the main product. These blocks are to be made from nearly all local materials, are ecologically and financially sustainable, and very importantly, earthquake-proof. The CEB will first be utilized in rebuilding the 2 local schools, a project which both Conscious Impact and YUWA Unity Nepal are fully committed to and foresee starting later in November. The vision is to have this training center to be a knowledge-sharing space and marketplace run by villagers of Takure to offer lessons, discussions, and have the earth blocks for sale at a significantly lower cost (as well as ecological footprint) compared to conventional building materials and methods.

I am so proud of my friends' work in this beautiful, special place. I am filled with awe at the progress we have made in the past month and a half. When you first walk around this village, you may only see physical devastation. Yet as all of us have discovered and experienced, the people living in the temporary structures rebuilt from scrap materials from their fallen homes are more often filled with resilience, joy, and hope. Amazingly, despite having had all but one structure collapse from the earthquakes in April and May, there is not one human casualty in Takure. Rupak, one of the local young men who has been working with us as well as serve as our interpreter, remarked that this is such a special place that Shiva himself has protected the village. This resonates well with the spirit we have felt through the visits to homes and schools. The community members are thankful for this life and are ready to rebuild better and stronger than before.

The dwindling internet access here at camp has made uploading content and staying connected limited and difficult at best. I apologize for the lack of updates especially these past couple weeks as our internet access went from limited to barely existent. As I (reluctantly) emerge out of the woods from this special place, I will undoubtedly be adding content to this fundraising campaign and on social media. There is so, so much to be shared.

Due to the complex and escalated political and social issues in Nepal these past few weeks, many resources including petro has been a rare commodity throughout the country. Many flights out of Kathmandu have been canceled, including my own. After several days of uncertainty (and some frustration), my departure date has been postponed to October 23 --- 6 days later than originally scheduled. This delay allows much-welcomed downtime, further envisioning with Allen and Orion for what the next year holds for us, in addition to the films we will be able to produce with Luke and Sebastian, the good folks behind Redefined Films.

There is 2 and a half days left in the fundraiser. We are so close to the goal. I am overwhelmed by the incredible support from friends and family across over 5 different time zones. I hope you find or have found value in the work that not only I have been doing here in Takure, but we collectively as a conscious movement doing what we all feel is morally and socially the right thing to do. The impact we have made, will continue to here in Nepal and far beyond throughout our lives and those we touch shall spread like ripples on a tranquil pond. I have no doubt this is only the beginning of the greater good we are able to co-create within ourselves and those we touch.

Looking forward, and always enjoying the present moment.

With love and gratitude from Takure,
Jonathan