Rotarians bound for Nepal

HANALEI — The three members of the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay are traveling to Nepal to help build a school outside Katmandu.

Devastated by earthquakes two years ago, many school buildings in Nepal remain in ruins with children being schooled in the open air, under tarpaulins or makeshift structures.

The Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay and its sister club, the Rotary Club of Kyoto Rakuhoku, teamed up with the Rotary Club of Shouson Hill in Hong Kong and the charity Worldwide Action to provide the resources and labor to rebuild a portion of the school.

The three members from Hanalei Bay, Ai Hashigiwa, Barbara and Michael Dexter-Smith, will join up with two members from Japan, volunteers from Europe and the community in Bungamati to build the school over about four weeks.

Using a method called “earth bag building,” the schools are more earthquake proof.

“We are pioneering a newer design where the roof is independent of the earth bag walls, which makes it a little safer in an earthquake as the soil in the bags moves with the shaking and the roof moves independently – it also provides a wider weather canopy for the children and the builders,” Michael Dexter-Smith said.

The community has begun prep work at the site. The main build begins in a few week.

The Rotarians will also be visiting two other schools — one in Katmandu supported by the Rotary club there and another for disabled children to do some work, probably, rubble clearing at both. Barbara Dexter-Smith is bringing clothes and books for children. Michael hopes to play a few games of soccer with the kids.

A plaque will be attached to the wall of the school, forever connecting Bungamati with Hanalei Bay.


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