MWH's Lucy Conrad is on a placement with RedR and Engineers Without Borders UK (EWB-UK) to conduct an impact assessment study into the use of improved cooking stoves. Pollution from the burning solid fuels for cooking is the fourth-largest cause of death in the developing world.
"Had a hairy moment when my lap top was playing up, but fortunately with the use of a Nepalese sim card and a cheap phone call from my brother, Ben, we are back in business! It's a bit of a nightmare not being able to rely on the internet, I don't think I realised quite how much I use it.
"Right, well Saturday (my day off) was great as I was able to use the internet and took in some cultural sites. There is a Hindu temple at the bottom of our hill and then a Buddhist one at the top. Although the colour orange is very dominant in both, they are really quite different.
"The Hindu temple was really busy with various people coming and going, all with various markings on their faces. Outside the temple was a tree with string tied around it that people were approaching, touching and then touching their heads. I have since learnt that the tree is representative of Ganesh: the elephant headed Hindu god of wisdom and jollity.
"The bits of string that people were tying around the trunk of the tree was actually string from the clothing of a sick child/sick children. This would apparently make them better. Up the hill there was a very impressive Buddhist temple. It wasn't open at that time, but the security guard must have taken pity on our very red, sweaty faces and let us in. Then he arranged a personal guided tour around the temple.
"It was like stepping into another country. The perfectly groomed garden was like a well kept park, full of various flowers and wildlife.
Walking up the massive stairs we were welcomed into the main area of worship. This was a huge room that demonstrated how the monks had worked together and painstakingly painted pictures from the scripture and produced amazing tapestry. The monk who showed us around was fluent in English and so explained various aspects of the room, the different gods, the decorations, the traditions etc.
"We seem to be very nearly sorted for the field trip up to the hills. Looks like we may be able to make contact with some pretty influential people on the policies in Kathmandu, so that’s a bonus. Maybe we can be helpful yet! I have realised I am not about the save the world or even Nepal in this brief visit, but one step at a time!"