Dear Friends and Supporters. Progress continues to be slow in this project. While the infrastructure is now all in place we cannot begin operations until an agreement with the Social Works Council (SWC) is made. For International NGOs like ourselves it is necessary to make agreements in 5 year cycles. It is very bureaucratic and time consuming but we hope to have all signed and sealed within the next month. There are always mountains to climb in Nepal but if you focus hard you eventually get there!
In previous reports I have written about some of the work we have achieved that makes us one of the most successful promoters of renewable energy systems in Nepal. I would like to tell you about another one that was built 10 years a go by a group of older scouts from the north of England. This was a solar energy project in the village of Til in the beautiful Limi valley. Limi is the remotest hidden valley in the Nepal Himalayas, very close to Tibet and with a 5 days walk south to Simikot, the capital of Humla. It is, in fact, closer to Tibet and economically dependent on trade with China. There are three main villages in the Limi valley all of ethnic Tibetan stock and a treasure house of ancient Tibetan culture. A hydro electric scheme was built in Til 2 years earlier by the Nepal Trust but because of elevation and location it freezes in the winter months and has to be shut down. Solar panels have been provided to supply all year round clean energy as have each of the other villages in Limi.
The following report was prepared by a scout leader to describe their trip, and a life changing experience, to this remote region. All project funding was raised by the scouts.
Scouts Light Up the Lives of Villagers.
In August 2007 we, the Wharfedale Scouts, embarked upon an expedition in Nepal to install 50 solar panels in the remote village of Til in the Himalayas. The trip took thirty days including days either side of the trek to explore the Kathmandu valley and Humla district.
After a couple of days sightseeing around Kathmandu we took a sixteen and a half hour coach journey to Surkhet. We then had an unexpected helicopter ride up to Simikot and completed a trial walk to acclimatise. The night was spent in the Nepal Trust Guest House. The next day we set off on the trek, taking a trail over a 4988m pass in order to reach our destination.
It took us two and a half days to install the solar panels and on the third night the village had a celebration to thank us for the work, including traditional food, drinks, songs, drama and dance. In return we stood proudly and performed 'Kum bah yah' and 'On Ilkley Moor Ba Tat' and then spent the evening listening to more of their traditional music and joining in the dancing.
We were given a beautiful speech from one of the village leaders about how the solar panels would improve the village's education and general welfare before returning to Simikot via the Tibetan border. Our trip ended in the Kathmandu valley with a chance to go white water rafting. The trip was a life-changing, phenomenal, cultural experience for us all and so thank you ever so much to the Nepal Trust for giving us this opportunity!
I sincerely hope to have a better progress report next time and I hope you will bear with us. Choosing to work in such a remote and difficult region has its problems! Thanks for all your support and I hope you will continue to follow us. Tell your friends and remember, life without electricity wouldn't be much fun.
Til Hydro powerhouse