The 5th of December in the Netherlands is obviously “pakjesavond”, the night of St Nicholas. We skipped the national discussion in the Netherlands about “Piet”, but have some other discussions over here. Since the last update a lot has changed. About three weeks ago we spent our days in the NTNC office, we have been in Janaknagar, a small village in the top of the delta called Geruwa, for two weeks now. With the Karnali River in the west and Bardiya National Park in the east is Geruwa also part of the bufferzone. The actual fence that has already been established is around Geruwa, our redesign will also be implemented around that area.
By staying in Geruwa we left the test site Lamkauli (in the national park) behind us, because there we could do no more but wait for the elephants to come. Unfortunately, until no elephants have showed up, most probably because the elephants decided to (temporarily) stay in another part of the national park. Here, in Geruwa, we directly started on the right foot. So far we have had many meetings with different chairpersons responsible for the fence, walked along the majority of the fence and thought about the next step. Our research about the current faults in the fence and from the meetings with the chairpersons resulted in a need for more education, mainly by showing recurring faults and the solutions. After talks with both NTNC and HTF, they gave green light in building a new test site in Geruwa ourselves. From now on that new test site will be called demo site, because of the educational aspect and to clearly distinguish it from the test site in Lamkauli.
Therefore we spent the past days with choosing a suiting location, collecting the necessary materials and making agreements with the local community about the next steps. The location has been chosen: an open spot in the community forest, about 100 meters outside the current fence, in the north of the delta. Besides, the last materials are now being collected: only the batteries and solar panels, with the necessary camera’s for monitoring, will need to be picked up in a some city. Furthermore, we are content with the next step in our project: if the demo site proves to be a success in both the educational part and keeping the elephants out, a chair person of part of the fence also gave permission to implement the new design at his part of the fence, as soon as possible. Hopefully this will result in us implementing the new design along 5 km of the fence in January.
In conclusion, the project is really taking off. Geruwa also is a stunning area. The people live self-sufficient, in houses made of clay and many people works on the rice fields. The surroundings are beautiful, the rivers are cold from the Himalaya and all in all it is a truly unique experience to be able to live here for that long: to live and eat together with the local people. Geruwa is certainly a real must when travelling to Nepal.
Flip, Thomas & Wessel