Until November 2017 Chepel did not have a power supply. This concerned both the households and the “farming” as well as the school.
In 2013 a project was started to build a microhydropowerplant in Chepel, together with international and national service clubs from Rotary and the Nepali Government. It took over 3 years before the project was really kicked off. Start of the building phase was on 01 June 2017. People from Chepel worked during the whole monsoon season until exactly 01 November 2019, when the very first bulb illuminated in Chepel.
For this giant project the following material was taken to Chepel by porters during monsoon time starting at 1100 m sealevel down to 900 m, over a 250 m long suspension bridge, and back up to 2300 above sealevel:
137 poles (65 kg), 43 poles (80 kg), 900 m pipes (1 pipe: 3 m and 24 kg, 1 porter carries 2 pipes), 1000 isolators (8 kg), over 26.000 m of wire, over 15.000 m of cable, a generator of 250 kg carried by 3 rotating teams of porters (20 persons per team), and 2 almost 200 kg transformers.
The path was extremely narrow and steep and lead over little rivers with slippery stones, over huge landslides with loose crushed stones, over the suspension bridge, and through the jungle full of leeches.
An absolute logistical and organisational masterpiece by Karma and all supporting porters!!
With the electricity Chepel now has a grinding mill. This means, that the women, who mainly do the work, are over 100 times faster in grinding their corn and it is much easier for them to, for example, go and sell it at the Friday market in Sotang. r
This was the so-called " monkey bridge ", which crossed the small river (Singane River) that divides the village. The bridge was used regularly by all villagers from the old to the very young children. It consisted of wooden planks and was renewed each year by the villagers or repaired in between, because the material suffered a lot under the weather conditions and was regularly erased by floods.
During the last heavy rain at the beginning of September 2013 , it washed away the entire bridge . Now there are some tree trunks at this point.
This was Friends of Chepel`s first big project.
The community in Chepel had a real problem with their wooden bridge and it was a big plea to get a steel bridge which stands the rain and floods.
In autumn 2013 an engineer in Germany heard about this problem and he offered to build a bridge as needed in his company in Germany. This was of course a great offer, but of course also a big problem - because how should the bridge be transported to a very remote area in Chepel?
Last but not least and with the support of a German transport company and the Umckaloabo Stiftung we were able to bring the bridge parts to Chepel via India. In April 2014 the components arrived in Kathmandu and 2 months later the bridge was built by the people in Chepel.
The bridge was not damaged during the earthquake.
In 2017 we started with kiwi (see picture) and also cardamom plantation. Chepel is a region where both plants have the best conditions to grow.
It is planned to sell both at the Friday market in Sotang or else even in Kathmandu.
With the kiwis the potato harvest could be improved since the trees provide shadow to the potatoes which then less tend to get burned in the sun.
Friends of Chepel e.V. has provided a 500 l water tank to each household in Chepel so that people have fresh and running water all over the year.
Before that, the small water tubes used to freeze in winter and the women had to go to the water source, which was also empty after a few households had filled their bottles.