Returning to Mamkha on my own with no fluent English speaker at site represented the first big test of my Nepali linguistic and cultural skills. I was unsure of what I would get done, and what I could get done. On my list was: surveying potential sites for a new BARSHA Pump, Meeting with the School and agreeing the work on the Computer Lab, Kickstarting work in the flagging Community Building and assessing the work in the Volunteer Centre. Personally I was also keen to explore Mamkha and get to grips with the local surroundings.
With a little, (and I mean a little) studying and a fantastic Nepali English dictionary the Head Teacher, VDC Chairman and I managed to have a pretty informative discussion about local water sources, educational challenges, future plans and changing the location of the computer room to provide an office space and a computer lab.
Exploring Mamkha surprisngly didn't result in getting, (very) lost, eaten by leopards or falling down a cliff, (...okay, once, but it was small and more of an unscheduled slide). However it did involve my guide missing work, (which in all honesty, I seemed more concerned about than he did.) so the next day I went without him.
I spent a large part of two days walking the local Kholas, (River/Stream) trekking through the jungle, and....asking for directions. I pride myself on very rarely getting lost for very long, and even Kathmandu's winding streets presented very little problem once you know where the major roads are, however I have never got turned around so suddenly.. The thing about not living in the Himalayas is...you're just looking for the wrong landmarks! The valleys twist and wind it was a complete surprise to me when I turned a corner and realised I was practically on top of where I was trying to get to!
Between carrying water, washing the dishes with 'Auntie' visiting the local shop, disappearing into the jungle when everybody else was tired, teaching kids to juggle and generally incessantly Namaste'ing everybody who made eye contact this was the trip that really let the community get a handle on me, NERF and that y'know, we were probably okay to let crack on. We already had the school with us, and now the community too. It was with some reluctance that I left this time around. Wifi and pizza didn't seem so important...