Civil Engineering

Wrapping up: A Journey in Rebuilding Nepal

January 25, 2016 in Civil Engineering, Staff News

IMG_9647Juan Beltran, Civil Engineer – I am home now and flew in with the DU team. The rest of the group stayed about 5 more days to continue what we started– find more potential communities to build relationships and projects with. Our last two days were spent at a hotel at the edge of the Himalayas. Invictus always plans a day or two for the team to spend relaxing and reflecting on our accomplishments and experience overall. It is during this time that many of us evaluate our own lives and personal growth.

Since we were at the edge of the Himalayas, some of us took the opportunity to wake up early in the morning to watch the sunrise. The Rocky Mountains are amazing and extremely beautiful… but the Himalayas are just something else! So beautiful and breathtaking. Words and pictures do not do them justice.

On the last night, we had a fire pit with the DU team to recap the trip. Mike, Invictus founder and executive director, reminded us of all the relationships we built. The list was long! I went over all the projects we identified and accomplished during our time in Bhaktapur. Drew, the other leader and one of the Board Members of Invictus, concluded the discussion by addressing the upcoming and potential projects to finish in the final days and in the future, when we return to Nepal. After that, Mike, Drew, and I went around and spoke about each individual from the DU team, highlighting what we noticed about their personal growth and what they were able to learn and accomplish. We did this to show them, in full sincerity, what an honor it was to build a relationship with them as well.

As is true for any trip like this, that I have been on at least, it always takes time to get adjusted back into a developed country. The change always reinforces my appreciation of the little things (hot showers, clean water, a warm home, bathrooms, cheeseburgers) but there’s also a sense of disconnect as we get swooped back into our normal lives. Other volunteers struggle a lot with this part of a trip. Many lives are changed by the experience and volunteers typically realize a new direction for their life.

For me, especially since my first trip with the program to Nicaragua in 2014, I realized that I wanted to become even more involved with The Invictus Initiative because of how well the model works and how the primary focus on any trip is building relationships, getting to know the culture, and getting to know the people that we will work with on these projects. Since my initial involvement with Invictus, I became the Vice President of Programs for Central and South America, where I continuously keep up communication with our friends in Nicaragua. We hope to return in June to complete a water well project and figure out other projects with the communities we plugged into during our initial time there.

However, I still take every opportunity to attend the Invictus trips when I can. The Nepal trip was one of a kind and I hope that I can share the stories we heard, the sights we saw, and what we experienced with anyone that is interested in hearing more. I hope that more students and professionals will dive into the Invictus model and embrace the chance to experience the joy, transformation, and friendship these trips create. To learn more about The Invictus Initiative and what we do, please visit our website at