Durga is 30 years old. At this age, many of us are just beginning what we consider our “adult lives” but Durga has already lived a lifetime. At 30, Durga is married, has fathered three beautiful daughters, has worked as a security guard in Malaysia for six years, created a home with his family, lost this home when the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake reduced it to dust, and has lived in a tin shack for over a year. Durga knows how to farm, how to do carpentry work, how to support his family, and now, he has learned how to build an Earthbag house.
Durga has been sleeping in a tin shack for the past 18 months with his wife and three daughters. The tin was a donation from an international relief organization and has been conveniently assembled in the front yard of a small crooked brick house, where his sister, his parents, and his grandparents all sleep. For the past week, Durga and his wife and kids have also been sleeping in this brick house, where they cook hot meals of rice and lentils for the six volunteers who have been kindly offered the tin shack during the building process.
But they won’t be homeless for long because in just a matter of days, Durga and the volunteers have built an Earthbag house with the help of neighbors from the community. The first one to show up in the morning and the last one to leave, Durga has taken charge of the build- advising his neighbors on how to sift the earth, fill the bags, and tamp them properly. He’s more than ready to move his family into their new home and his eagerness has led to a deep interest in Earthbag building techniques and a willingness to teach these methods to his community. Two courses away from finishing the walls, Durga turns to the volunteer by his side during their tea break and tells him he’s confident he can replicate this design.