Road to Tipling: story of the bravehearts

“During the month of monsoon, we were working with the breaker of the excavator at a rocky slope of Pangsang," shared Pradip Basnet, the excavator operator for road construction to Tipling. "From about fifteen to twenty meters up, the land started falling apart. We noticed the loose movement and drew back. Hadn’t we retreated in fifteen minutes, I, helper and the dozer would have been buried to death."

Pradip has impressed everybody with extraordinary package of experience in road construction and maintenance and repairing of excavator and vehicles. Leaving his family in the capital, he has been staying at Somdang, northern border of Dhading.

A cook and a helper reside at a temporary camp midst of a jungle to assist him. Despite the harsh snowy winter and heavy monsoon, he has carved eighteen km road through the steep cliff of Pangsang Pass with his own analysis and understanding of the terrain.

When asked if he was ever scared while cutting the edgy rocks at the peak of 4000 meters altitude, he responded, “Looking at NJSI’s dedication to help the remote people of Tipling, I felt my role very important and never looked back once I started the excavation. The sense of responsibility to my own brothers and sisters in need gave me the courage to face the dangerous terrain. Now when I walk through that road, I get adrenaline chill thinking how I could have cut such massive hill”. He added, “I have worked in many places but I feel happiest working with NJSI.”

Similar is the story of Caster Tamang. He has been working with NJSI since January 2018 to clear path for road construction. He hides the risk of performing life threatening task of removing 30 to 50 meters tall and 7 to 8 feet wide trees behind his sweet smile.

Narrating the risks faced, he quotes, “Some trees are hollow and rotten inside. One cannot predict which direction the tree will fall. My right hand was deeply cut when a branch of a tree swung in opposite direction of expectation. We also lost a bottle jack when a tree fell towards me; I managed to save my life running away immediately.”

Pradip and Caster shared that they feel proud to be a part of making the first ever road to the remotest village of Dhading. NJSI acknowledges their unwavering bravery and value their proactivity, diligence and dedication to the project.

 

The people of Tipling, the remotest village in Dading district in Nepal, welcomed Christmas 2017 with new enthusiasm and hope as the Somdang-Tipling Road - a major new road infrastructure project by the Jesuits in Nepal - came nearer to their village, crossing the 3850 meters high Pansang passage. This means that the two days walking distance has been reduced to merely 4 hours. The project was part of the reconstruction works following the devastating earthquake of 2015. 

Jesuit Missions is the UK member of Xavier Network who has been funding NJSI since the earthquake. 

This article was first published on the NJSI News Bulletin April-June 2018