Hegdenagar Home

Hegdenagar Home
Pyari and Mohammad



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The BG Experience!

Hello my friends! Since this trip isn't just about me, Bryan and I (but really just Bryan) created a new blog. So please check that out! It's wonderful seeing India through a fresh pair of eyes. The chaos, the sights and smells, the devotion, the stares, the garbage, the kindness...it's all new to him and now new to me too! So check out: www.thebgexperience.wordpress.com! He's a hilarious, but very accurate writer!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Everest Build documentary by Hayden Campbell


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An Update of Pyari's Home in Bangalore, India

The following was sent by Women Build in India as an update for the volunteers. I wanted to share this with all of you.
Women Build is a program that allows women with means to assist women in need. It aligns the financial, labor intensive and motivational support of women who believe in equal opportunity for all with the drive to sustainably improve the lives of underserved women. Starting on March 8 2010, the International Women’s Day, Habitat for Humanity India held its first Women Build event in Bangalore. Over sixty one volunteers from around the world converged to work with the homeowners, their families and local professionals to construct simple, decent and affordable homes. The goal was to build 150 houses in the city and it has now been a year since the Women Build event begun. As a starting shot, fifteen houses were started in the area of Hedge Nagar, north of the city between March 8 – 17 in assistance with partnership organization BIRDS and further on, another thirty five have been completely finished or started in various areas over the city. The goal of this project is to enhance the dignity of women in the society and remove their fear of insecurity in shanty living conditions that makes them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

Pyari’s story
Thirty-six year old Pyari works with making agarbathi’s. Her husband has an irregular daily wage job as a construction worker and together they have three children between age 12 and 19. Her husband is mentally disturbed and does not fend for there family. Before the new house was built they lived in a dilapidated hut. She says that it was a difficult time, the children were sick all the time and they had a hard time studying. The housing situation was so unhygienic and unsafe that the new house was a must. The biggest relief, she says regarding the help they got, is that Habitat gave them interest free loan. A private loan from elsewhere would have come with high interest rate, which would have meant that they would be in dept for the rest of their lives.

Pyari had spent her part of the saving for the house on her ailing husband. Through the initiatives of Bangalore Habitat Resource Centre, the Overseas Women’s Club contributed towards the roofing sheets of the house and plastering the internal walls.
With the support from Habitat for Humanity India, a year ago they began the construction of their new house together and since they moved in the children are healthier and they study better which makes Pyari happy. There was no safety in the old house and she says that she is most grateful for the contribution of the volunteers that came and helped with the construction.

Pyari’s dream was to get her oldest daughter married who worked in garment factory. But getting a suitable groom was not easy as they did not have a proper house, due to which they did not have any social status among the relatives and neighbors. Recently Pyari was able to find a suitable groom for her eldest daughter and got her married. Pyari is an example of how a proper shelter can change ones socio-economic status in Indian society. Pyari’s story is an inspiration for Habitat for Humanity India staff to walk the extra mile for those who are victims of poverty shelter and homelessness.


Thank you all for supporting me during my Women Build trip. Your support is what gave Pyari and her family a roof over their head. So thank you!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The End of the Road

So I took the last day to wander around Thamel, a very touristy spot in Kathmandu. Not sure what to think of it. Though I kind of enjoy being a tourist, I'm disturbed by this type of "tourism". Shop after shop of the same items, hippies to the left and right, shopkeepers asking me, "Indian?", to which my reply usually is "maybe." I like to keep them guessing. Most of the time when I'm traveling, I just want to blend in and BE. But I found myself sitting at the Pumpernickel Cafe, an air conditioned western bakery. They have sandwiches, pastries and real coffee. Which by the way, I ordered all of it! I purposely didn't bring anything with me. Stephanie left this morning and today really is all mine. I didn't want to be distracted by my phone or books. I just wanted to sit and evaluate the last 20 days. I has been a test of my patience, my ability to work with a very difficult team, learn to love them anyway, and put my endurance to the test! I have almost taken pride in the fact that I'm a city girl with no desire to be a part of nature. WOW...has that changed! Now it might just be temporary since I'm in Nepal and everyone's doing it, or that "thing" about me that super's adventurous when traveling, but a complete bore in the USA. Whatever it is, it's yet another realization that I can do anything I put my love and energy into
In the last year I have traveled to seven countries. Each trip I cam back stronger and a bit more evolved. But usually I come back and fall into the same routine: work, bills, work, bills, work, work, work! And I'm sure it will happen this time as well. But I hope to make a few changes in my life this time around. I hope. Don't ask me what they are yet!
I leave at 11pm tonight. I am thankful to have one final dinner with team USA. And then it's back to a different "reality."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Himalayas and I

Obviously, I didn't have internet while trekking, but I tried to journal a bit.

October 10th. My eyes cannot express the beauty they have seen today. We trekked from Khare to Landruk. It took about six hours with the breaks for water, snacks and photos. We went up and down and up and down, across suspension bridges and enjoyed the crisp, cool air. Though extremely difficult, the trek so far has been amazing. My feet hurt, I have blisters and I'm sunburned, but I have so much energy right now. I'm sitting with our guide, Kulu and porter/assistant Meena. We are drinking ginger chai and eating daal bhaat (a Nepali favorite). Apparently, Landruk to Ghandruk is about to kick our asses! We go straight down (mostly steps made out of rocks) and then straight up. It should take us six hours.
Aside from all that, Kulu and Meena have been great. We are definitely enjoying their company, I hope they can say the same about Stephanie and I. We are staying at a small tea house, Ex Captain Lali Gurung Guest House. It's a cute guest house with shared bathrooms. A little story, I had to use the bathroom at about 2am, but feared the YETI would eat me so I waited until 4am and then woke Stephanie up so she would stand guard at the toilet!

October 11th. What do I even say? I just accomplished one of the hardest things I've ever done. I wish I had written more, but I have tons of pics to prove it! The day began with an extreme downhill trek to the bottom of the valley. At that point we crossed a very sketchy suspension bridge and started an even more extreme trek up. It was probably two hours down and four up! We were headed to Ghandruk, a scenic village of stone and slate houses with a colorful Buddhist monastery. We decided that we would stay at the Peaceful Lodge, though I'm not sure how peaceful it was. They had a television and we watched Amitabh films with the family...as a side note, October 11th is his birthday! Happy Birthday Amitabh Bachchan!!!! Meena, the assistant, one can eat any husky American man under the table and two, can sit in front of a television for hours. Which is exactly how she spent her evening!

The next day we made our way to Nayapul, which they say is an easy descent...HA! It rained the night before so it was slippery and difficult. Thank goodness for good hiking boots (THANK YOU REI). I don't want to complain as there were hundreds of porters along the way that were carrying five backpacks, water, camping supplies, etc, all which probably weighed 50-75 or more. The trek probably didn't end in the most enjoyable way as there was much commotion. Dasain begins in a few days so everyone is preparing. Dasain is Nepal's biggest annual festival. It lasts for 15 days. It celebrates the victory of the goddess Durga over the forces of evil. Hundreds of thousands of animals are sacrificed in Durga's honor. Which is no joke. It was terribly hard to see all these sheep being gathered for sacrifice. I am definitely rethinking the whole vegetarian thing.

So, here we are. It's our last day in Pokhara. I'm awake super early and just relaxing and enjoying the view of Fewa Lake. In a few hours we will be departing via YETI Airlines back to Kathmandu. One day left there. Stephanie will leave in the morning and I leave tomorrow night. Twenty days sure did fly by. I'll be back though. The people of Nepal have to be the kindest, sweetest people I have ever met. It definitely has a similar vibe to India, but less hectic. There is a lot less harassment as well, in all aspects. Lastly, women seem to also have more of a voice here. Nepal makes me smile.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Three Sisters Adventure Trekking

I am blown away by the empowerment of Nepali women. The Chhetri sisters are pioneers in the field of female trekking guides. Since 1994, they have worked towards empowering women in Nepal. It hasn’t been easy for the sisters to break down the Nepalese social barriers. Women trekking guides is a fairly new concept for the Nepalese society. For these sisters it has been a great challenge to bring women into this industry. They say that women can also work as guides if the opportunities are provided to them. They have demonstrated that women are mentally, physically and emotionally as strong as men.
Their modest and clean guesthouse is located in the North Lakeside area of Pokhara. Stephanie and I are sitting in the café of the guesthouse, drinking chai and enjoying our unobstructed view of Fewa Lake. It rained this afternoon so the air is clean and cool and the skies are a perfect gray. Something we had wished for during our build.
These amazing women have thought of everything. In the cost of our trek, we received a pick up for the Fulbari Resort, breakfast at the guesthouse, free wifi, the entire trek (not including food and accommodations which are only $20/day), our guide and assistant, a pick up from the last stop on the trek, taxi to the airport, FREE filtered water and the storage of our luggage.
She and I decided to take today off as yesterday was emotionally draining and the build was physically exhausting. Turned out to be a great decision. We said bye to our new friends, came to Lakeside and took a walk in the touristy area. It’s a typical hippie town. You’ve got the soaps, teas, stationary, CDs, Internet cafes, bars, jewelry, and loads of clothes one would never dare to wear in the US! We also got ayurvedic massages that probably cost less than $20.
We leave tomorrow at 8AM for Khare. We trek from Khare to Landruk, then to Ghandruk and finally to Nayapul. We will be back in Pokhara on the 12th. Then we head back to Kathmandu. Time sure does fly!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Serving My Country Was an Honor, Serving My People is a Blessing

Which is what Ram Bahadur told me today. He is extremely active in social work, providing his village with guidance and support. He also served in the Nepali Military as a soldier. He trained in India and then transferred to Africa in the field of security at the UN Mission. He and his wife are so thankful that we are there helping them create a home.
The last few days have been spent weaving bamboo, plastering the walls and whitewashing the exterior of the home. I hope we are able to get the windows and doors in tomorrow.

October 8th, 2010

The Internet was down yesterday and my laptop died so I’ve been disconnected…which is a good thing.
There is a roof, windows, doors, and the front has been whitewashed. Though we did not complete the interior of the home, the exterior is complete. The family will be able to continue working even during the rains.
The President of Nepal, Ram Baran Yadav was our guest of honor at the closing ceremonies. It was such an honor for the people of Lakuri village to see their president arrive in a helicopter and speak to them about their housing situation. I felt real change for the villagers. Since it was our last build day we also had a gathering at our home. There was a ribbon cutting ceremony, we gave them some gifts like a stool and a rug (but don’t tell Habitat), and had some wonderful chai. Roshni (the 13 year old daughter) took me inside their home and gave me a small gift of red cloth and a red necklace. I don’t know if I can ever take it off because there is so much love in it. Rajit (10 year old son) was so upset that he decided to leave so he wouldn’t have to say bye. Roshni went to get him and the poor little boy was in tears. It broke my heart. He didn’t say much. He was spunky with a bit of an attitude, but he was sweet to me. I will miss him the most.

We were adorned with a red “tikka” (dot), flowers, shawls, and so much love. Not only did I build, but also I did most of the translating this entire time. So I was honored to be the voice of the Thapa family. I was able to keep it together, but lost it at: “If we have done anything to hurt you or offend you, we apologize.” They continued to say that whenever we decide to visit, we have a home to stay at and fresh Nepali meals. There will be no staying in a hotel. We are family now. How can they be filled with so much love, kindness, purity, and selflessness? I never stopped crying this afternoon. The tears were flowing like the Ganga. I have fallen in love with Nepal and Nepali people.

Ram Bhaiya (brother) took me aside and asked me if I knew of any labor jobs in the United States or any other country. He asked me to ask the others as well. He can support his children right now since they are young, but college is another story. He needs more money to pay for their education. Many Nepali men will take jobs in the hospitality industry in the Middle East. He is still trying for that. I’m not sure if anyone is reading this, but if you are and you know of anything, please do let me know. It takes a lot for a man to ask for job assistance, especially a man who once was a soldier. At first Ram Bhaiya was distant and timid, but now he jokes and makes us all laugh. I will truly miss him.

The entire family, including the SOS Children’s Village volunteers walked us from the village to our buses. The tears continued. We held hands, we held each other and we said, “see you soon.” I will be back.

I’m sitting in the lobby of the run down “five star” establishment looking at all of these wonderful people that traveled so far to build homes for strangers. I am filled with love.