Map of the nearly 40 bridges needing maintenance
Shari Davis & Ellen Currin are InTheField travelers with GlobalGiving who are visiting our partners’ projects throughout Nepal. Their “Postcard” from their most recent visit in Nepal:
Upon entering Nandu Bhandari’s house, it is immediately apparent the space is more than just a home. The dining room table, covered with solar equipment waiting to be sent, is flanked with a wall-size map of Nepal, complete with pins and string denoting the nearly 40 wire bridges that Village Solutions is charged with maintaining. A detailed model of the gondola-style bridge sits on a bookcase and large photo boards line the walls, showcasing the many, various villages benefiting from the organization’s solar light projects.
I sat down with Nandu, had some tea, and he updated me on the work of Village Solutions, Nepal partner to US-based Village Tech Solutions. Nandu spoke of the vital importance of repair and maintenance of these wire bridges, which provide children access to school, pregnant women access to safer birthing options, and countless opportunities for those cut off by a river crossing. There was no staff in his office today, they were all out in the field, working on the solar light project or repairing and maintaining the wire bridges.
Nandu took me around his house, which contained many rooms that had been converted to workshop space. Equipment and tools were everywhere, and there were walls of shelving containing parts manufactured at the office. Though repairs and maintenance for bridges take place at the many bridge locations throughout the country, the repairs for the solar-lights occur right in the office.
When asked what inspires his work, Nandu told a story of a gentleman who walked in to his office and said he had already lost his mother to the river; he wanted a bridge because he didn’t want to lose anyone else. I asked Nandu what about his work makes him happy. “If students have lighting system to do their homework after dark, if they can go about their day without worrying about the river, if they have a smile; if the people are happy, then I am happy.”
Nandu's model of VTC's gondola-style bridge
Coordinator Nandu with parts for solar light
Nandu and his wife in their home/office
Replacement parts for the wire bridges