Fourteen young adults from various Church of the Brethren districts traveled to Nepal to assist in post-earthquake recovery in Dhading District, east of Kathmandu. Assisted by Heifer International staff in Nepal, the young adult workcamp worked at two school sites in the mountain community of Kebalpur, which was not far from the epic center of the April 2015 earthquake that killed over 9,000 people. The workcamp group was led by Church of the Brethren staff members Emily Tyler and Jay Wittmeyer.
The theme, “Say Hello,” based on 3 John 14 gave inspiration to the workcamp team. The verse emphasizes the significance of meeting in person, face to face. While the Church of the Brethren gave disaster grants to families through Heifer immediately after the earthquake, to replace animals and rebuild animal sheds and barns, the group desired to be present with Nepali families as they worked to rebuild their homes and communities.
In Kebalpur, every village was greatly impacted by the earthquake and up until now, very few have been able to rebuild. Most families are still living in small, tin-roof sheds. In addition to the hard work of construction, the workcampers were able to spend considerable time with school children, working and playing and singing.
One of the work sites was 1,200 feet above the road where workcampers were dropped off in the morning, and required a strenuous hike just to reach the school site. Briawna Wenger commented on how just this simple act of hiking to and from the school every day gave her insight and appreciation for the struggles the Neplese endure in their daily lives.
Arriving in Kathmandu, the workcampers oriented themselves to Nepal and walked to historical sites, including the monkey temple, Swayanbhunath. At the end of the trip, the team traveled to more Heifer working areas, and rode elephants into the jungles of Chitwan National Park.
-- Jay Wittmeyer is executive director of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren. Emily Tyler serves as coordinator of the Workcamp Ministry. Find out more about the Church of the Brethren workcamps at www.brethren.org/workcamps .