Conscious Impact Education program update by Alyson and Ellen on Jan 31, 2017.
It’s here! My photo book of Nepal, made possible thanks to the generosity and of many.
This 20-page, lay-flat photo book measuring ~8.5 x 11.5″ / 21.5 x 29 cm with captions is crafted through tens upon tens of hours of envisioning, collaborations, love, and labor. I am really, really happy with it. I am also glad to have waited until this month to write the captions and compile it all together. I don’t believe I would have had as much cohesive ability to articulate the mountain load of memories and experiences in my 7 weeks in the Himalayan country. It truly was everything I could have imagined, and so much more.
I wish to take a moment to give gratitude to the 30+ backers on Indiegogo (https://igg.me/at/nepalconsciousimpact/) in making my autumn 2015 trip possible. This book is dedicated to you. And for a few of the contributors, this photo book will be on its way to you soon.
For friends & friends of friends who wish to further support me (once more) – please contact me for a(nother) copy! The cost is the same as on the fundraiser – $120 USD + shipping (between ~$3-10 depending on location), or $90 if you are ordering a second. Payments via Venmo/Google Wallet/Paypal/Square (firstname.lastname@example.org) are welcomed. Get it before I depart for Nepal on April 4. The campaign perks are active once more, if you wish to go through Indiegogo.
Also, I am super happy to report to all contributors and friends that the $900 that was allocated as a donation to Conscious Impact will be “recycled” in flying yours truly back to Kathmandu. For this return journey, I will do much of the same things as I did in autumn – assisting in building physically (we’ll be starting on one of the schools in April!), documenting the progress, providing the team with content that can be utilized across their communication and marketing platforms, and whatever else that comes up. I am going back with a sharper focus and desire to promote social good through social media, to further improve the new art of videography, and to continue living a simple, experience-based life. I’ll be volunteering and living in the village through 3 volunteer build groups (April, May, and June) until the monsoon season hits around mid-June. There are no set plans to return states-side. So after that, we shall see…
Dhanyabad (Nepali for thank you), and onwards!
Merry Christmas all! I’ve got some exciting news and updates to share.
Since the last update on Indiegogo, the volunteer team and community members have been churning out compressed stabilized earth blocks with the freshly-arrived brick press with all local materials and labor. They are producing up to ~75 bricks a day now, with the eventual goal of reaching 100/day.
Thanks to many of you, I am proud and joyed to have taken part in the creation of the brick and training center, and now that production is underway, it makes me so, so happy to see that we have raised $5865* in just 15 days. *correction: $5965 by the time I am hitting the ‘Publish’ button!
Our goal of $8000 (~16,000 bricks) is getting closer and closer. That will be enough to rebuild the first school, which serves approximately 85 students. Consider gifting the community of Takure and our selfless volunteers there the ability to keep the production going.
Read more & pitch in at: https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/bricks-for-nepal
Photos by Michael Libis
At the bottom of this post are images from the upper school of Takure, where I spent much time with other volunteers and local kids as we were setting up an afterschool program to play, create art, sing, and learn English.
Also, if you are in the Seattle area or know somebody in the region who would be interested, I will be co-hosting a presentation with Allen Gula, one of the co-founders of Conscious Impact, at the Seattle REI on Tuesday December 29th at 7pm. We will have the latest updates from the project, new media, and perhaps most importantly, how folks can contribute and/or volunteer in the coming year. This presentation also serves as a follow-up to the event that I hosted at the Beacon Food Forest back in August.
More details and RSVP via: https://www.facebook.com/events/1517245291907059/
Greetings from Central America! I write this on a bus heading to Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica, where my high school friend Steven’s wedding is happening this weekend.
After my extended stay in Nepal, I caught a sore throat and fever that unfortunately made the journey home quite uncomfortable. Thankfully, I spent 4 days in between the 2 journeys in quality company of old friends and housemates. My body has been restored completely now. A strong dose of nature, rest, good food, even better company, and wanderlust have been perfect cures. Right before departing Kathmandu, I finished a 8-minute film showcasing our work as volunteers and the community of Takure. It is intended to be shown to upcoming and prospective volunteers of Conscious Impact & YUWA, and of course serve as a tribute to all the incredible experiences and progress made collectively in Sept and Oct. I am proud to show this to all the supporters and donors to my fundraiser. Definitely worth noting that all 3 songs were sung and recorded in Takure, and 2 of the songs are original pieces inspired by our time in the village. Turn the sound up!
Upon returning to the U.S. later in Nov, I will continue to organize, edit, and publish content captured in Takure & Nepal. Orion and Juliette have been posting many of my photographs on their personal Facebook profiles as well the Conscious Impact FB page. Luke + Sebastian from Redefined Films were great to work with, and they too will be producing content in the coming weeks/months. One of their videos will showcase Dheeraj, the co-founder of YUWA Unity Nepal and a resident of Takure. It’s looking to be really good. I will keep you all posted with links. I had some sincere, heartfelt conversations with Orion and Allen while in Nepal, and the current intention is for me to return Feb 2016 to pick things up once more. By that time the brick press(es) will be set and producing compressed stabilized earth blocks daily, and thus the reconstruction of the school(s) ought to be well under way. I am so looking forward to it! Attached are some favorites from my last 2 weeks in Nepal. For folks who have selected a print or photo book as perks, we shall be in touch later in November in regards to making all the happen. 🙂 With much gratitude for your support, in whatever quantity and manner, to have made this journey and project, for myself and for so many others I have crossed paths with, not only possible but truly, deeply enriching.
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My second photo story in working with Conscious Impact and YUWA Unity Nepal in the village of Takure in Sindupalchok district. A few of us joined Dheeraj, one of the co-directors of YUWA Unity Nepal, for a walk around the village to see the edible crops grown here, how food is managed and harvested, and how we can work towards creating an ag site near the volunteer camp to provide local nutrition.
Photos by yours truly. Captions by Erin and I.
I am currently running a fundraiser for my work with these great organizations, and you would be able to support all of our work and get prints of my photographs in Nepal through it. Please check out https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rebuilding-learning-and-storytelling-in-nepal/ to find out.Share it via:
Hello directly from the village of Takure! I’ve been here for 5 days. We are currently about 20 people from the US, Australia, Britain, Bulgaria, Italy, and New Zealand. We have architects, builders, botanists, logistics experts, educators, university students, and many more with various skills and passions in the group. Everyone is working together with YUWA Unity Nepal plus members from the community of Takure to create and improve our volunteer camp and the foundations of the future training center (and later, the school). The training center is going to serve as a hub for villagers as well as visitors to learn, co-create, and develop ideas to build and maintain structures with compressed earth blocks and other environmentally sustainable and economically viable methods.
In a couple days, 5-6 more volunteers will join us, while from September 16-25, there will be another 12 or so volunteers converging to really get the momentum going on the training center. It is a very exciting time to be here learning, collaborating, and regenerating the spirit of the people and the structures in the years to come.
One of my roles has been to help out with various physical tasks, such as leveling the ground to build a composting latrine and garden space, gathering stones from a collapsed roof of a nearby house to be reused for other projects. It’s noteworthy that 245 out of 245 houses in Takure sustained minor or major damage.
The other task has been to become familiarized with the local environment and culture while documenting the cross-cultural collaboration as we move forward. The physical damages are very apparent even nearly 5 months after the initial shake, but the spirit of the people here and all around Nepal appear to be strong and hopeful. Rice continues to thrive in the rice paddy fields, goats keep munching on foliage, while day to day business rolls on and kids play on the streets.
I am feeling extremely grateful to BE here surrounded by such eagerness, positivity, and diversity of folks to have this synergistic experience. With over a month left in the fundraiser and less than half way to the goal, I have no doubt that we will reach it and beyond. Thank YOU for every contribution and effort to bring this into reality for myself and so many others here in Takure, and more. I am (we are) so, so appreciative of your support in any form.
In the meantime, please enjoy the attached photos since landing in Nepal.
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In 26 days, I will land in Kathmandu, Nepal.
I will be greeted by the beautiful faces of 3 friends who have been there since the multiple earthquakes that completely changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Nepalis. I will be greeted by destruction on scales I will not be able to articulate with words. Many lost their lives and loved ones, and even more are still deeply affected by the natural disaster that has been off the radar of mainstream media as well as the minds of most people.
I feel so fortunate in this life. My day-to-day personal and first world problems do not even come close to the immense obstacles that my global family members in that region face. To be absolutely honest, I felt helpless and terrible in not being able to financially contribute to the urgent disaster relief. I felt guilty for the multiple pleasure-driven adventures in the woods, for that extra 6-pack I’d buy at the store, and those pieces of outdoor gear I’ve been wanting. It’s so easy to justify those instant gratifications that temporarily satisfy the self instead of truly, genuinely thinking and acting globally.
The check-in with my friends after the earthquake quickly transformed that guilt into boundless motivation. What I’ve lacked in financial contributions, I realized I am capable of contributing through my physically being there to listen, learn, and do. It is an honor to have this opportunity to partner with the magical dream team that makes up Conscious Impact plus the dozens of volunteers who will be converging from all over the map to rebuild not only the damaged structures but also the human spirit of a global community. My friends and I recently connected with a team of videographers and have begun brainstorming ideas on a series of impactful videos and media to be published across our networks.
I deeply encourage you to look deeper into the current state of happenings by following the work of Conscious Impact through their site/Facebook/Instagram, and that of yours truly in the months to follow.
I personally believe that monetary numbers usually have little to no bearing on the true value of something. I believe in social capital, such as time and knowledge exchange, that transcends beyond this artificial system we have become desperately dependent on. That said, this journey is entirely self-funded and will put me off my paying job. I would be foolish to say that this is going to be self-sustaining. Thus, in the coming week or so, I plan to launch a personal fundraiser and sincerely hope you will take part in. And yes, especially for those who partook in the funding of my bicycle and farm trek in 2013, this will look and feel very similar.
This Thursday, August 13, I will be presenting at the beloved Beacon Food Forest the latest updates from my friends working on the ground in Nepal and a vision for the collective conscious impact we can create together. Event link: http://www.facebook.com/events/371114873098695/
For those of you interested in volunteering, please take a look at the available projects and opportunities in the coming months on http://www.consciousimpact.org/#!volunteer/citr
As my brother comrade Ryan who will be joining the collective efforts in Nepal this September and October, “my life is radical.”
It truly is.
Stay tuned, my friends.Share it via: