Planning and realization of the construction project in 2009 The plot Many years ago Andy’s grandfather bought a plot in the surroundings of the city of Darjeeling. Today It is owned by Andy’s mother. She made it available for this social purpose. A small expendable school building with 6 classrooms shall be developed on the small property. The school was named St Anthony’s school after Andy’s grandfather. Laying of the cornerstone on February 12, 2009 Rohit Pradhan celebrated the laying of the cornerstone with pastor Rev. Rupert, his family and friends on February 12, 2009 Construction of the foundation The foundation was built from February to April 2009 after cleanup efforts. Rohit Pradhan, managing director of our partner association in Darjeeling, supervised the construction works and purchased building material. One engineer, 4 bricklayers and 3 helpers were working on the construction site at that time. Especially bricklayers and helpers were very happy to have a job. The foundation could be finished before rain season thanks to their willingness to work on weekends. Rohit Pradhan reported that news of a new elementary school had spread fast. Families are very happy that their children don’t have to go to school in Darjeeling. The way to school in Darjeeling is very muddy. It is difficult or even impossible for little children to go this way. Here are some excerpts from Rohit Pradhan’s emails: Thank you for your e-mail and good news. Here Im so busy. Yesterday I woke up at 3 in the morning like for climbing up tiger hill because I had to unload aggregate. I came to know that near Jorethang river there is a place where we can get good aggregate. So at 12 in the day I took one van and went down asking so many people for the place. Last I reached there and I found aggregate. I got a good price compared to Siliguri. We loaded and started around 4:30 PM. after driving maybe 5 km our van got break down. We thought it is because of over load so we managed to unload 15 bags and tried again. Oh, this time crown tell was completely crashed and we couldn’t move our van. So I said to my driver: Let’s park the van here and start a walk! We parked the van and started to walk around 9 o’clock and I arrived in Darjeeling after a hectic day. But it was fun to hike in the night all the way up. I had a great adventure. (13.03.09) I’m very³ busy ……………….Yesterday I reached home around 1 o’clock and got up at 3 o’clock for unloading. It took whole day to take all the material to the school site. It was a very hectic and tension day… but it is a kind of energy which drive me to do this great work … Well I’m fine. It is 9 in the morning and I have to go to the school site and I have some work in the market and today it’s payment day. Well regarding work: We put 11 foundations out of 16. So hopefully in the end of March we will complete foundation work and then we will work for tie beam work. (21.03.09) Toping out ceremony in Darjeeling in April 2009 The roof of the basement was finished in April 2009, so that the topping out ceremony could be held on April 26, 2009. Landslides and strikes in May/June 2009 We were amazed and happy to hear that the construction of the school building progressed that fast after 4 months. End of May, however, we made the experience that such a project has to be executed in a very flexible way. Strikes and heavy thunderstorms caused a stop of the construction activities. Rohit Pradhan decided to complete small works with 2 bricklayers until end of September due to the risk of landslides and heavy rains. Other construction works would be not possible or too risky. Rohit Pradhan wrote us this email: Dear friends ! Oh, we had terrible 3 days in all over north east India. From Sunday rain started until Wednesday and rain was very heavy. In fact I never saw such a rain in May and this is just start of monsoon. Oh oh, maybe this year we will have terrible monsoon. Bad news: 20 people died only in Darjeeling. Everywhere there are landslides. Actually in Bay of Bengal on Sunday there was a cyclone and this cyclone came straight to the Himalaya. And on Tuesday I booked cement and pebble from Siliguri and I woke up at 3 o clock in the night to unload the things. I couldn’t get the mobile network in order to call the people who work with me, so I walked up to their home. Oh, I was completely wet from top to bottom and all the helpers refuse to unload, because it was so dangerous. I was mad, I was completely helpless and rain was like an elephant shower. And most important thing: In that truck there was cement. If cement get wet then we would lost 10,000 Rupies. I walked back to the place where there was the truck and discussed with the driver: Look driver, now we can’t unload the cement and pebble. If we unload the things, then all the cement will get wet so it’s better to park the truck and unload tomorrow. Then we went to a place where we could park the truck and I returned to my home. On that day we had whole day very very hard rain like a shower. All shops and offices were closed on that day and there was no electricity, no light … for 4 days in Darjeeling. Next day, thank God, rain stopped but another problem was that: All the roads got landslides, also the small road to our school site. …. So now I can’t take cement and pebble to the school site. At last I decided to take the cement to a friends home. He had a cellar and I asked him to put the cement there because in that room it is dry. It takes some time to repair the road to our school site …… Let‘s hope for the best. Rohit After finishing small construction works by 2 bricklayers, works on the roof, floors and walls were started as of mid August. Of cause progress of construction works is very dependent on weather. It is hard to transport material to the construction site during bad weather. A truck cannot get to the site because streets are too narrow. The building material had to be reloaded on a jeep. Even a jeep cannot get close to the site. In the end people have to transport sandbags, cement, stones and so on to the site. November 2009 Rain season is over since end of September. The rainy Darjeeling appears at it’s best: A blue cloudless sky makes possible that the enormous third highest mountain on earth shines resplendent in the sun. October/November is not only the best time for trekking but also a good time for our team to proceed fast with construction work. Walls were plastered, windows were inserted and toilets were built. Preparations for the reservoir were made in addition. The reservoir collects water during rain season and provides it during dry season especially between March and May December 2009 Winter season in Darjeeling is annoyingly cold and humid. Temperatures are in the range of 2 to 10 degree Celsius. There is no heating in flats and houses. At times there is a gas oven or open fire producing some heat. Main task in December was setting up a reservoir. Work was hard and tedious. A large area had to be excavated. Rohit Pradhan invited the builders to his home end of December. He wanted to thank them for their work and trustworthiness with a particular meal that was prepared by Julee Pradhan. They had meet, vegetables, Dhal (lentil sauce) and plenty of rice. A successful end of the year was celebrated – we would have liked to sit in on the celebration. back