Today is our last day in Kathmandu.
We started the day by interviewing Leela Mani Poudel who had been the Minister of Cultural Affairs in Kathmandu for many years. He was instrumental in starting the Saturday morning river cleanups, which have become a weekly event. These river cleanups have been very successful and have included over 150,000 residents working on 11 different sites on the river. They regularly collect several tons of garbage that are then deposited in a landfill. Tomorrow will be the 150th Saturday and many celebratory events are planned. He also provided important information about upcoming plans for building sewage treatment plants and putting in sewage lines. Apparently the pipes are planned to be in place in five years.
After his interview, we went back to Barbar Mahal Revisited to meet with William Holton from the US Embassy. Although our meeting was short, it was extremely productive. He offered many opportunities for partnering together in the next few months.
After our discussion, Jason and I had lunch and then at 2 o’clock we went to talk to Sangeeta’s 89 year-old father. He shared stories of growing up on the banks of the Bagmati and playing in its water throughout his childhood. He mentioned that one of the saddest moments in his life was when his father passed away, and he could not bathe in the badly polluted waters of the sacred river as is Hindu custom. It was clear that this had bothered him for several decades.
After the interview we headed back to the hotel to pack and shower. The family who owns the Shakya House gave us some going away presents and hugs!
We are now at the airport. It is 7:35 pm, as we await our 8: 55pm flight. I can start to feel myself shutting down after our two busy weeks. It was very productive, and there are many unexpected opportunities available for our project.
The blog will continue with periodic updates.
Thank you for following along in our adventure!