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Testimonial from

I began my 5-month GVI Teaching Internship in January 2014 in Pokhara, Nepal. Due to my previous career in construction, I was also willing to offer my time and knowledge on GVI construction projects. During my first few weeks of teaching, I observed that the local teachers would often take a class of children outside for a lesson. The children seemed to enjoy learning away from the dark confines of their normal classroom. However, they also looked uncomfortable and sat down on the dusty playground while holding up their hands to shade the sun. Therefore I set upon the idea of an open-air teaching area and proposed this to the GVI staff team as my internship project. After a couple of weeks, Ruth the project manager asked me to produce some drawings so that a proposal could be submitted to the principal the following day. I was confident the project would get the go-ahead, as previously I canvassed the opinion of the Principal himself and other teachers before proposing it to GVI. All parties agreed that an open-air teaching area would be a great asset to the school. So not long after I received the green light to proceed and lead the project. My proposal consisted of installing a rectangular washed pebble floor area, which would then have a timber-framed Pagoda type structure covering it with a brise soleil open roof. The thought behind this was that the teachers would generally only take the children outside on fine weather days. The project got off to a flying start with all holes for the timber posts having been dug after only two days by myself and two other construction volunteers. Due to the intermittent electricity supply (a daily occurrence in Nepal) the manufacturing of the timber posts was delayed for a couple of days. Therefore our team took the time to replace an open drain that was used to transport dirty water and food waste away from the school so we set to work installing a new plastic pipe and then covered it over with the soil collected from digging the post holes. This particular venture appeared to be an immediate success, it removed both a physical and health hazard from the school grounds and gave the area a much-needed visual lift. Once complete we set back to work installing the pagoda support posts. The next phase in the project was the manufacture and installation of the roof structure before finally giving it a coat of paint. The main challenges throughout the project have been logistical in terms of getting material delivered. The project will be completed in a couple of weeks and will be ready for use in the following school period.