For the final course of SIT’s summer program, everyone completes a 15 day independent project somewhere in Kathmandu Valley or the surrounding mountains alone or with one partner. After five weeks of being together as a large group, with leaders arranging our transportation and food and housing, now we will do it all alone with a $210 stipend to cover 10 days of food, lodging, lab fees, and transportation.
For my project, I am working with Lindsey as my partner. We are looking into water quality in Kathmandu Valley in areas of high and low subsidence and in deep and shallow wells. To do so, we will be working with Dr. Rejina Maskey, the head of the Department of Environmental Science at Tribhuvan University as our advisor and will be helped by some of her graduate students.
We stayed in a cute little guesthouse near Patan Durbur Square with one other student, Kevin, who was working with Rejina-ma’am on air pollution. Together, we had the fun experience of trying to figure the local minibus system! Just a seven minute walk away from our hotel was the bustling Lagankel bus park. Its a big lot, full parked buses waiting for passengers, where people shout the names of locations out of the doors, vendors walk between buses selling wares as they wait, and huge piles of trash cover the ground.
The minibuses are maybe the size of an American service van, but with people piled in and hanging out the door, we sometimes counted 30 passengers in total. Taking the minibus every morning, we traveled to the Tribhuvan University campus in Kirtipur. Overall throughout our project, we were assisted by two graduate students, Pratiskya and Bhumika, and the lab TA, Ramesh. We had two crazy days of sample collection during which we sampled a total of eight wells.
Ultimately, all of our samples were analyzed for pH, salinity, total dissolved solids, dissolved oxygen, temperature, arsenic, coliform, nitrate, ammonia, iron, and phosphate.
After 10 days of research, during which we lived off of 75 cent veg chow mein, it was all over, and once again we headed back to the SIT center to do our final write up.
All is well in Nepal,