Smokeless stoves – The Nalbung Project!

On the 23rd February, we left for Nalbung Village, a small remote community across the Seti River that is only reachable on foot – an epic 10-hour journey where I only wished to have packed less in my rucksack. After a short rest with the headmaster of Kalika School and finding the 49 smokeless stoves we had previously sent were all stored safely, we invited the villagers to gather in the late afternoon.

We explained to everyone the health and environmental benefits of these smokeless stoves and the importance of proper ventilation in their kitchens. Occasionally, we can take for granted the simple facts we understand so it is important to explain why we are trying to install these efficient stoves, rather than simply forcing them onto the villagers. After fitting the first one in the headmaster’s house, it all seemed clearer for the villagers to then be able to go and set their own up themselves. Immediately, one lady made us some popcorn and was really excited which in turn made us very happy as it only emphasised how difficult their lives had been before this innovative idea!

The next day, we continued our mission of getting these smokeless stoves installed into as many homes as possible and helping with other tasks, such as making a hole in the walls or raising the ground level for the stoves. Sometimes those simple tasks became more complicated as in one house where we tried to make a hole and instead found a beehive (unfortunately for us a few memory stings will remain from that house). We managed to fit just 28 or so on this day, an impressive achievement considering how much tea and popcorn was in constant supply!

After our efforts, we sat for dinner and heard more about what the villagers needed but as Exodus support is never one-sided, we also explained what they could do help their situation too. It really is an amazing experience to see these villages benefit so much from a simple task and just a relatively small donation.

Thanks have to go to Kedar, Sukman, Chewang, Gum and Jyoti who helped make this project happen and continue to have a real positive influence on these villages. And of course to our client donations, especially from Neil Bowman and Carole Mahoney who did their part and raised funds with a sponsored climb up Stok Kangri last year.

If you would like to help make a difference to the lives of these remote communities, please contact [email protected] and she will help provide further information.

By Valerie Parkinson, Nepal Base Manager

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