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Training, tents and water treatment plants: a visit to the UK from WaterAid Nepal

When Mani Karmacharya, Communications Officer for WaterAid Nepal, came to visit the UK this summer, it wasn’t just your average few weeks in the office. Here, he shares his highlights and tells us what he’ll be taking back to his work in Nepal.

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27 Aug 2014 | UK

This was my second visit to the UK and it was special for two reasons: firstly, because I was attending a film and photography training course and secondly, because I was going to Glastonbury.

As soon as I arrived in London I attended the three-day training course where, as well as enhancing my photography skills, I got to produce a film. It was very good experience, and will be very helpful for producing stories from Nepal, where I regularly meet our project staff and people from the community.

Like a flood in the rainy season

Soon after the training I travelled to Glastonbury in Somerset. On the Wednesday people started arriving, but I was so busy helping set up I didn't get time to look around. By the end of the day it was completely different, with lots of food stalls. The flow of people was like a flood in the rainy season.

I got lost going back to our campsite, because the place was completely different in the evening from the morning. I was more careful going around from then onwards – I started noticing the major landmarks so I wouldn’t get lost again!

On Thursday it looked like a complete festival, but people were still telling me it was nothing. I really wondered what would happen next. But to my surprise, every hour, the festival increased in intensity. The music, food, fun, rain, mud and sun… it was simply amazing.

Mani Karmacharya, Communications Officer for WaterAid Nepal, and Catherine Feltham,Film Producer for WaterAid UK, at Glastonbury
Photographer credit: WaterAid/ Mani Karmacharya

There’s always next time

At the festival I acted in one of WaterAid’s films, wore a toilet costume and did a small show. I danced in the pub, did three radio interviews and had my story covered by the Western Daily Press. I talked about how people in Nepal, especially in rural areas, suffer due to the lack of clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, and explained how these basic things transform their lives.

I wanted to see every corner of the festival and experience everything, but I soon realised this wasn’t possible. The whole area was so huge that on the last day there were many places I had not seen at all. I regretted not being able to visit them, but consoled myself and said there is always next time.

To know Glastonbury festival you have to go and feel it, no words can explain or describe it. I enjoyed every moment. Everything I was seeing, hearing, listening to, observing and feeling was new to me and I was learning all the time.

Mani Karmacharya, Communications Officer for WaterAid Nepal, at Glastonbury
Photographer credit: WaterAid/ Mani Karmacharya

Thoughts of Nepal

Back in the office I had two opportunities to meet our supporters: HSBC and Anglian Water. Both the meetings were very good, and they were interested to hear stories from Nepal.

I was also taken on a tour of a water treatment plant in Cambridge, where I observed how water is purified before being sent to individual households. The technology was very advanced, and I wondered why Nepal did not have such plants. I was also taken to the waste water treatment plant, where dirty water is recycled and left in the river only after it is properly treated.

These are all things we should learn in Nepal, because our rivers are polluted and the sewerage line is directly mixed in the river without any treatment. We have a few, small scale waste water treatment plants but not massive ones like I visited in the UK.

Follow Mani on Twitter >

Read Mani's account of visiting Hardeni, Nepal, where we’re transforming lives with clean water and safe toilets >