-Sagar Phoju, Installation Engineer
2 days after travelling in the rear cab of a truck packed with installation materials, we reached Dholyamod. Tired, we decided to rest for the night. It had been a wonderful ride so far. And the morning snow only added to the fun. By the dawn of that day, snow had inundated most of the village.
Having been born in an urban atmosphere, this was my first encounter with snow and for the most part of the day, I ran around, my knee dipped in the 4-foot snow layer. After the snow melted the next morning, we resumed our travels and by the evening of the day, we were headed towards our destination in Malladehi, Baitadi. It was a majestic village – spread over a wide area and overlooking mountains on both ends.
Our team was far too small to install the 30 kWp minigrid on our own. Hence, we sought help from the local settlers, who in turn lent us unending support. But the weather wasn’t as compromising. We had to shelf our installation only a week later because of the perpetually challenging weather. Not knowing if the weather will take a turn for the good, and realizing that our team was getting frustrated by the day, the locals started hosting games and other socializing events to keep us engaged.
In this duration, we learnt of the many hardships that local settlers had to go through. The village was yet to see artificial light and considering the slow infrastructural progress in Himalayas, it was light years away from seeing the light; the village was one among the most affected settlements by the 10-year long Civil War and was still awaiting reparations; lack of opportunities meant more than half of the youths in the region had deserted the village. The list was never-ending.
After waiting for more than a month, the weather was yet to favor us. Hence, we returned to Kathmandu, the capital, with plans to return to Baitadi after a month’s stay. Today we embark in our second journey to Baitadi resolute to complete the installation and bring light to Malladehi.
[ Read the final part of solar mini-grid installation in Baitadi HERE. ]