Saturday, 28 May 2016

EcoBuilding in Gajner

If you told me when I was in school that at age 34, a typical day for me might include things like: strapping a shovel to my motorbike and spending the afternoon in the desert digging ditch in 40c heat; using the same motorbike to transport a leaking bag of cow manure that was sandwiched between myself and my passenger; getting my passenger to stick his head out of the window of our car and shout 'beep beep' because the car-horn does not work and planning my day carefully based on what position the shade will be on my makeshift workshop on our roof - well, perhaps I would have chosen to study something sensible like accounting.

Though I suspect, a career balancing books may not have prevented me from finding myself in this, the most unorthodox of jobs. Afterall, it's not so long since my daily routine was more along the lines of insuring houses rather than building them. How exactly does one go from being and Insurance broker to an EcoBuilder!?

While traveling through India last year, I decided to cut short my stay in Darjeeling by one day. My next step was Nepal and Darjeeling just wasn't delivering the authentic mountain life experience I was craving (mainly because the mountain air was somewhat tainted by the smell of fried chicken from the local KFC). I commenced the 24 hour overland journey to Kathmandu on April 24th 2015. I arrived in Kathmandu on the morning of April 25th, just hours before a massive 7.9 earthquake was to strike the region. My original plan was to spend 2 weeks in Nepal and to cut a very long story short, I spent the next 4 months helping in the relief effort with a number of NGOs. It was there that I discovered that I could use my hands to actually build things rather than just pen pushing and number crunching. 

Eager to explore the crazy world of NGOs a bit further and to use my newly acquired skills to some useful purpose (rather than just going home and building a garden shed) I stumbled on EcuCare India. And What can I say about my work here? Managing my own workload and that of the contractors who helped us out was certainly a challenge. As we headed in to the summer months the main challenge was always to find shade and keep hydrated. And while I'm sure my housemates didn't really appreciate me turning the rooftop in to a sprawling workshop, I like to think I've made up for this somewhat by installing a nice hammock and armchair for everyone to use as a parting gift! 

So, I'll leave you all with some pictures of my work. As for me, I have a lot of catching up to do with my friends at home. No, I don't mean catching up on gossip, I mean I'm somewhat behind on my acquisition of mortgages, nice cars, gardens and such like that all my friends have been busy accumulating while I was living my simple yet content life here in the desert. 

EcoHouse in Indra Colony 
Hammock and armchair on the intern's house roof.

Sign for the Gajner ReStore

Niall de Bhiall - Ireland
EcoBuilding Project Manager in Gajner

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