At 6:30 AM on June 26th, Shenpen monks and volunteers left Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling monastery in Boudhanath for the village of Bhalwari in Bethan VDC ward 6, Ramechhap district. With them they brought 288 CGI tin sheets, 78 metal pipes, 156 metal rods, as well as other temporary shelter supplies for 26 families in need there.
For a while, the roads out to Ramechhap were fine, but then the Shenpen crew encountered some severe flooding. Monks had to get out and test the waters to see where the water was low enough for the vehicles to cross.
From there, there was also difficulty with certain roads that were too steep and narrow for the vehicles.
There also came a point when the crew needed to stop at a wire bridge and remove all the supplies from the trucks so that they could walk all of the heavy equipment across the bridge to trucks that would be coming for them on the other side. The tin sheets were so heavy that they cracked the hard hats when crew members tried to balance the sheets on their heads.
After waiting a while for the other trucks to arrive, the crew took the long and extremely bumpy drive out to Bhalwari. The villagers there were very interested to watch them build the sample shelter. One local came up to Shenpen crew members several times just to say thank you, and he insisted that they all stay the night so that the villagers could show them proper hospitality–though the crew had to politely decline the gracious offer.
By around 4:00, it was starting to get dark out and the shelter construction was taking longer than expected. Additionally, there was a particularly special trip that the Shenpen crew still needed to make, which was to visit the Sri Balnimna Madhyamik Vidyala school to deliver some supplies. The school there has 120 students from grades 1-8, and unfortunately there school building had received a “red mark” from the government which means that it is too dangerous for students and faculty. So half of the crew went to the school while the other half stayed to finish the sample shelter.
At the school, the young students all lined up to greet their guests with garlands and flower petals. The crew brought several supplies for the students, including 300 notebooks, 150 pens, 150 erasers, 150 pencil sharpeners, and 150 boxes of pencils. For the school, a desktop computer (w/ monitor) and a printer were provided as well, which the school had specially requested. The school was also given tin sheets to provide more shelter for classrooms. The Shenpen crew was invited to stay for a bit after the work was done to be served food and drinks by the gracious school.
Afterward, the crew still had one final job which was to deliver some metal pipes to an elderly woman in need. This meant that they had to cross the swaying wire bridge in the pitch black and then carry the supplies up a steep, rocky path. After a long day of toiling, everyone made it back at long last to Kathmandu around midnight.