Transporting stoves to Sankhuwasabha

Later this month, Narayan Dhakal, from our NGO partner EcoHimal Nepal, will set off to the villages of Hatiya and Chepuwa in remote district of Sankhuwasabha, near Nepal’s border with Tibet. Ahead of his visit we have put together on a short photo essay charting the journey of thirty ‘improved’ cooking stoves from a factory in Kathmandu to the high-altitude mountains of eastern Nepal.

Traditionally in Nepal and throughout the Himalaya, open fires are used to cook and heat homes. This creates two significant problems. Most immediately, homes are regularly filled with smoke causing long term damage to the lungs of adults and children. Secondly, wood burns faster on an open fire, leading to a high demand for wood and therefore deforestation and loss of habitat at an unsustainable rate. Having witnessed these problems first hand, our founder Robin Garton, worked on a solution with Narayan from EcoHimal Nepal. The project they conceived is now a reality.

Robin and Narayan worked closely with the local community to explain the potential benefits of cooking stoves with enclosed hearths and chimney’s. The community put faith in Robin and Narayan to identify the right kind of stove and agreed to find thirty homes willing to install and trial the new stoves. TGT funded the purchase, delivery and monitoring of thirty stoves. After several delays and false starts the stoves finally arrived in Hatiya and Chepuwa in September 2017. This photo essay charts their journey from Katmandu via trucks, tractors and strong Nepali sholders to the Nepal/Tibet border.  

   The stoves were transported by road from Kathmandu to Khandbari by lorry, a two day journey along Nepal's hectic trunk roads. 

The stoves were transported by road from Kathmandu to Khandbari by lorry, a two day journey along Nepal's hectic trunk roads. 

Store.jpg
   The stoves were stored for three days in Khandbari, at this point they had not yet been assembled. 

The stoves were stored for three days in Khandbari, at this point they had not yet been assembled. 

   Some of the stoves were damaged on the long and bumpy journey, these chimney parts were repaired before the next leg of the journey. 

Some of the stoves were damaged on the long and bumpy journey, these chimney parts were repaired before the next leg of the journey. 

   After Khandbari, the road becomes a dirt track, so the stoves were transferred to a tractor and trailer for the next leg of the journey. 

After Khandbari, the road becomes a dirt track, so the stoves were transferred to a tractor and trailer for the next leg of the journey. 

   Eventually the road becomes a path and the tractor cannot go any further. The stoves were unloaded, stored temporarily and readied for collection. From this point the stoves need to be carried by hand.

Eventually the road becomes a path and the tractor cannot go any further. The stoves were unloaded, stored temporarily and readied for collection. From this point the stoves need to be carried by hand.

   It takes two people to carry one stove, so 60 men and women make the trek down to the road head to collect their stoves. The trek down took at least two days, for some it was a four day walk.

It takes two people to carry one stove, so 60 men and women make the trek down to the road head to collect their stoves. The trek down took at least two days, for some it was a four day walk.

   The long walk begins. For those living the furthest from the road, this will take six days. They carry the stove parts every step of the way.    

The long walk begins. For those living the furthest from the road, this will take six days. They carry the stove parts every step of the way.    

   Unsurprisingly, breaks to eat, rest and sleep are essential on a journey like this. The convoy make regular stops as they climb.  

Unsurprisingly, breaks to eat, rest and sleep are essential on a journey like this. The convoy make regular stops as they climb.  

   The thirty stoves are spread across several clusters of five or six houses. There is huge interest at each location. Dawa, EcoHimal's officer in the field was trained in how to assemble and install the stoves back in Kathmandu. He spent time assembling one or two stoves in each location and taught others householders as he went to ensure they were all correctly installed. 

The thirty stoves are spread across several clusters of five or six houses. There is huge interest at each location. Dawa, EcoHimal's officer in the field was trained in how to assemble and install the stoves back in Kathmandu. He spent time assembling one or two stoves in each location and taught others householders as he went to ensure they were all correctly installed. 

   A stove finally installed in a home in Chepuwa. Note the blackened wall behind the stove, this is a result of the soot from the open fire that has burned here for generations before, with the introduction of these stoves, black walls will become a thing of the past. 

A stove finally installed in a home in Chepuwa. Note the blackened wall behind the stove, this is a result of the soot from the open fire that has burned here for generations before, with the introduction of these stoves, black walls will become a thing of the past. 

   Once installed the stoves are put to use, they simultaneously heat the room, while also warming up water for tea and noodles. 

Once installed the stoves are put to use, they simultaneously heat the room, while also warming up water for tea and noodles. 

   It will take a little time for families to get used to the correct way to use their stoves. Here is an example of a stove that has been left with the door open. Like the log burners we are used to in the UK, the door needs to be shut for maximum efficiency. Our EcoHimal officers in Sankhuwasabha continue to educate householders on how to use their stoves. 

It will take a little time for families to get used to the correct way to use their stoves. Here is an example of a stove that has been left with the door open. Like the log burners we are used to in the UK, the door needs to be shut for maximum efficiency. Our EcoHimal officers in Sankhuwasabha continue to educate householders on how to use their stoves. 

   Finally, here is installed and operational stove chimney in Hatiya. Thanks to the more efficient way the stoves burn wood, the forest we can see in the background will be easier to sustain. 

Finally, here is installed and operational stove chimney in Hatiya. Thanks to the more efficient way the stoves burn wood, the forest we can see in the background will be easier to sustain. 

More news will follow in March, once Narayan Dhakal from EcoHimal Nepal has returned from his monitoring visit to Sankhuwasabha. We hope that the stoves are working well and that their owners are happy with them. 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Narayan's visit later this month marks the end of the the first pilot phase of this project, we plan to continue testing the stoves and would like to raise funds to send more stoves to this extremely remote location. It costs £220 to provide a stove, transport it to Sanhkhuwasabha and equip each household with a user manual and basic training. If you would like to help fund a stove (or several), please get in touch.