“I have more things in my trunk than these people own” – Susanne Fröhlich visits our projects
Probably the most prominent visitor who has ever looked behind the scenes of Back to Life is Susanne Fröhlich, the well-known TV presenter and author.
“I always think that reality is completely different from a glossy brochure from an aid organization. Sure, you can see big, dark children’s eyes looking at you, but I just wanted to see it for real. “
In 2018 she flew to Kathmandu at an invitation from Stella Deetjen. Here she finds a completely different world. She meets meek elephants, a rhinoceros in the immediate vicinity, survives arduous stretches and gets to know people who live very differently than we can imagine in Europe.
Between spirituality and fun
The first destination is the bustling city of Kathmandu, the spiritual life with ancient pagodas and temples, many of which are still badly damaged after the great earthquake of 2015. Noise, dust and the insane traffic are unusual, but everything is also exciting. A visit to the Bagmati River, which flows through the temple complex of the Pashupatinath World Heritage Site, leaves a very ambivalent feeling. While the pyre of traditional cremations burns continuously and the relatives mourn the loss, children splash in the river – opposites of which she will experience many more.
Off to Nuwakot
The next day we go to the Nuwakot project area in the north. Everyone is shaken for hours on the gravel roads, there are breathtaking and terrifying climbs and dangerous encounters with other vehicles. At least now it becomes clear how far the people are here from what the author knows. But she takes it with humor – just happy. The devastating earthquakes here – far away – wiped out entire villages. State aid was hardly ever received, the people were officially forgotten. A reason for Back to Life to be active here in particular. By the time of the visit, 6 schools had already been rebuilt. When Stella and Susanne Fröhlich arrive exhausted, the children greet the late guests with flowers and a good mood. Your school is new and really a nice place. Created with the support of Fabian Hambüchen, the Olympic champion in gymnastics. A blessing for the village, because many families were able to stay here. The children want to show their school enthusiastically, but now they rush to the sweets they brought with them. Everywhere it crackles and crawls when the packages are torn open and the sweet things find their way into the mouth. A sight that is equally beautiful all over the world.
“Role Models” for the Future
The future has already begun in Baduwar. Susanne Fröhlich is impressed by the rebuilt water pipes and eleven new water taps in the village, which Back to Life has also made possible. The cultivation of crops for personal use and for sale is now possible again. Susanne Fröhlich can also examine the latest concept: several smallholders were selected as “role models”. They were trained in agriculture and were given simple greenhouses. Here they grow new varieties organically and without pesticides and, protected from the hot sun, wind and weather, achieve completely new yields even at this altitude. “It’s just a good idea that isn’t expensive and works like a snowball effect. I think it’s great” Susanne Fröhlich comments on the greenhouse idea and picks a tomato.
Life is different
But the way of life is shocking. She hadn’t imagined it to be so barren. When she walks into a family home and looks around, she slips out: “Wow, I have more things in my car trunk than these people own.” When she got a visit from an excited bat that night, she really arrived in Nepal.
A sea of flowers awaits them in Chitwan
Stella and Susanne Fröhlich set off from Nuwakot via Kathmandu to Chitwan. The project areas are located in the hills near the border with India in a national park. The vegetation and the climate are more tropical. The children of the school in Thakaltar are already impatient when the two arrive. 400 pupils wait with flower chains and a big greeting, the school management has specially prepared a program. Some girls even wrote and rehearsed a thank you song for Back to Life – not only Stella is moved to tears.
The new school for new opportunities
Thakaltar is also damaged by the earthquake, although it is away from the epicentres. The new school building was not only necessary for this reason: The lessons can be extended to grades 9-10 with more rooms in the two-story building. An important step towards more opportunities. Older students no longer have to take a 4-hour walk to secondary school or, precisely because of that, quit school prematurely. Your chances on the difficult job market in Nepal improve with every year more education, the best way out of poverty. Susanne Fröhlich is impressed by the classes: “To see in the older children how seriously they learn is great. German teachers would dream of the discipline that prevails here. They have a completely different point! “
Biogas plants relieve women and children
At the end of the visit, Stella and Susanne Fröhlich stop by a family at home again. The Back to Life biogas plant is the big issue. Because it supplies the energy for the hob and makes the laborious, daily collecting of firewood superfluous. A job that the children in particular had to do. Instead, they are now doing their homework and finally have time to play and just be a child. “A real win-win situation: producing energy from faeces, then fertilizing the fields and also relieving the children – a Piccobello affair …!” thinks Susanne Fröhlich.
The next day Susanne goes jogging. A spectacle is revealed to her. Because as sparse people’s lives are, the views of nature are so overwhelming. When another rhinoceros appeared on the other bank of the river, she moved a little closer emotionally to the whole thing.
The fact that she also sees elephants bathing during her visit to Chitwan tops the trip off. Because the author has gained so many impressions and insights here that are seldom given. “I think I could drive around for weeks and look at projects and ideas from Back to Life, but now I have a first impression and it really blows you away. I think that actually each of us who lives so well and privileged has the duty to do a little something – each within the realm of his possibilities. ” We at Back to Life are grateful for this visit and that we were able to show how much each donation makes. For each individual, entire families, villages and the people who can shape the future of Nepal differently. Ms. Fröhlich financed her trip to Nepal herself, we thank her for taking on the adventure.