Day 2: Palung

Foothills

Early in the morning on our second day we left Kathmandu and drove three hours south-west to a town called Palung. After getting out of the bad Kathmandu air the drive was very nice. The road curved out of the valley and twisted and turned through the foothills offering amazing views of the tree-covered hills and stepped farm terraces. On the way there we stopped at a cluster of houses on the roadside to begin our task of studying how they were originally designed, how they failed structurally, and what peoples’ plans are for rebuilding. The destruction was hard to see. We learned quickly that people are fearful of rebuilding with stone. It is unfortunate since stone homes can be earthquake resistant if built properly. Stone is also a free material, people have a large amount of experience building with it, and it is also suitable to the Nepal climate. People are considering building out of timber and corrugated metal sheets for the roof and walls, but it would do little to protect against the elements and would probably only last a year or two. Tearfund has quite the task ahead of educating the builders and homeowners about the improvements that can be made to stone masonry construction. The goal for our team will be to make the manual as comprehensive as possible and communicate the key elements of the building that need be addressed.

House that second story was being rebuilt out of wood

House that second story was being rebuilt out of wood

New experiences:

– I came across a gigantic cockroach in my hotel room.

– In Palung we had the traditional Napali cuisine of rice and dal (lentil soup). It was delicious and very spicy!

Rice and dal

Rice and dal

View of Palung from the Shankar Hotel

View of Palung from the Shankar Hotel

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