Becky Maynard, Team Rubicon UK

The prince chatted with local children and joined former servicemen helping to re-build a school damaged in an earthquake

April 05, 2016 02:50 PM

Prince Harry isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty – literally!

In pictures released by the charity Team Rubicon, we see the royal hoisting wooden beams and hauling heavy bags as he helped re-build an school in the mountains of Nepal that had been damaged in the April 2015 earthquake.

At the end of his official visit, Harry made the surprise announcement that he planned to stay on in Nepal to help in the re-building of the school. While in Nepal, he worked with Team Rubicon, a charity that uses the skills and experiences of military veterans to tackle the aftermath of natural disasters.

And of course, Harry being Harry, he spent plenty of time chatting to local children who will benefit from the work.

Becky Maynard, Team Rubicon UK

In addition to working on the school in the village of Lapubesi, the team worked to repair a hydro-electric turbine that had previously provided energy to nearly 300 homes in the village before it was destroyed in the earthquake last year. They also helped install a new solar farm to provide sustainable electricity for the school and the surrounding homes.

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Harry worked alongside comrades from some of his other charitable expeditions, including David Wiseman, who participated in the Walking with the Wounded trek to Everest in 2012.

Mauricio Gris

“The work was physically demanding but it was great to be working together with other veterans in a tight knit team and this was a fantastic opportunity for us to work alongside the people of Lapubesi,” Wiseman said in a statement. “I hope the school we have helped to build will serve this community for years to come.”

The main role for Harry and his fellow volunteers was to help lay a concrete base for one of the larger school classrooms. With no machinery available, they used only local tools and methods. Rocks had to be broken down by hand, and cement (which was carried from the nearest town 2.5 hours away) was mixed and applied manually. The whole process underlined how much work is required to construct even a small building – let along replace an entire school.

Becky Maynard, Team Rubicon UK

Wiseman had been there last year in the immediate aftermath of the disaster and saw improvements this time around.

“It was even stranger when speaking to people this year that I had met previously, just days after their homes had been devastated,” he said. “However it was heart warming to see and hear that they were rebuilding their lives and communities and it was humbling that we could be a small part of that rebuilding process.”

The work doesn t just aid the locals – Team Rubicon helps veterans and former members of the armed forces make their own recovery (often from invisible injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder) through new challenges, too. Harry is concentrating his attention to this less talked-about consequence of conflict as he widens the appreciation of the challenges facing former armed forces members.

Becky Maynard, Team Rubicon UK

Manny Penuel, a former medic with the British Army, echoed these sentiments in a statement.

“PTSD has to do with guilt and you feel you are not wanted,” he said. “You feel bad about yourself. So you join this team and come here. You are in a group of people who are always bringing up jokes so there s something to laugh about all the time.”

“They make you feel wanted. It s amazing how all of a sudden you become the center of something, someone is talking about you. It has helped me a lot. I am fit, I am controlling my PTSD and I have great friends now all over the world.

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