I just received this news from Owen Geiger, who has been in Nepal for several days, reviewing earthbag projects around the country.
“Things are WAY more hectic than I even imagined. Traveling to projects in the remote mountains is just grueling. The roads in Nepal are among the worst in the world. It takes hours to go short distances. A “short cut” yesterday nearly got us stranded. Even the roads in the richest areas are rubble and dirt with clouds of choking dust.”
“The first day we toured 30 earthbag houses high in the mountains. The NGO just hired Good Earth Nepal to expand the project in another village.”
“We’ve already toured 3 important projects. Yesterday we went to the opening of an earthbag school that was attended by a top government reconstruction official and top engineering association folks. They support what we’re doing and want us to do more presentations, etc. for their students and engineers. These are top engineers at the oldest university in Nepal, professors with PhDs.”
“We also visited First Steps Himalaya projects whose first school withstood the earthquake. They have since built numerous impressive buildings including a 6 classroom school for $16,000, a huge 10m x 22m community center and a round kindergarten. It sounds like they have funding for as many buildings as they can get done. A Spanish documentary film group is raising funds and promoting their work now. In a few months they should have a documentary ready. And with our grant money we now have a videographer who will make a documentary for us.”