Two weeks ago, my train from Chennai was arriving in the Gorakhpur train station. After more than 2700 km and 42 hours sharing a sleeper-class bed and after some long discussions with very nice people, I was happy to be arrived in this little indian city close to the Nepali border.
I stayed two nights and one day there, where I enjoyed some rest (with my first hot shower since my departure from France) and the city visit before taking a first bus to reach the border gateway at Sunauli. From Sunauli, I took a last bus that went through some mountains and others beautiful landscapes before dropping me in the middle of Kathmandu, a bit lost and tired after almost an entire day in bus !
At my arrival, I met two friends that I had met for the first time in Auroville, Antoine and Claudine. They just left yesterday and I’ve really enjoyed these days together. We’ve visited most of the places in Kathmandu, especially Durbar Square, Swayambunath also called the Monkey Temple and the famous commercial district of Thamel.
Kathmandu is agitated during the day when motorcycles, cycle-rickshaw, taxis and cars are going through the crowd in the narrow streets of the city, especially during Saturday. Indeed here the holiday day is on Saturday and people are working on Sunday. All this heavy traffic in a city surrounded by mountains causes an important air pollution and we can see that many people are wearing a mask to avoid some respiratory problems. Except these problems of air and noise pollutions, as it is the case in most of the big cities, Kathmandu is a very beautiful city and Nepalese people are magnificent.
Despite having the second largest hydropower resource in the world, the electricity supply is not sufficient and there are approximately 10-14 hours of electricity per day in Kathmandu, with scheduled power cuts among 7 groups of districts. If you go in the mountains, the electricity supply is an entirely different matter.
KAPEG, Kathmandu Alternative Power and Energy Group, is a social company that is working on developing new energy technology to bring innovative solutions to overcome Nepal’s geographical and meteorological particular constraints. By primarily developing some new technologies, KAPEG also aspires to be socially involved. Therefore, the company is installing different pilot projects in extreme areas both in order to test the technology and to help population that are living there. The last project was the construction and the installation of a small wind turbine in a very isolated place somewhere in the Kalahandi district in Odisha (East India).
Kimon and Sulav, two 26-year-old KAPEG engineers, welcomed me this week and we are currently preparing a market assessment in the Jumla district that should start end of next week. Tomorrow, I’ll visit the Kathmandu office of the Practical Action NGO in order to get more information about the place and some tips for the market assessment.
The next article will introduce the different objectives and missions of the Jumla district visit as well as some statistics about this place. Stay tuned !