KLL Retreat 2017 – Raft, Fun, Camaraderie!

– Gaurav, Arogya and Kshitiz


On the first two days of April, 2017, Kathmandu Living Labs organized a retreat for its staff (based in both Kathmandu and Pokhara). The annual retreat for 2017 was organized to take a break from regular work by travelling to River Fun Beach Resort at Buttar, Kuringhat by the Trishuli River, and engaging in activities designed for entertainment, reflection, and team building.




The starting point of the rafting activity was three hours drive from Kathmandu at the village of Charaudi (exact location where we started http://osm.org/go/zrVgT8kBA–?m=). There were sixteen KLL members divided in two rafts who participated in this activity.


On the way to the rafting spot
On the way to the rafting spot

At 12:45 PM we marched down the trail to the beach head where we received our instructions from our guide and began our journey downstream? to River Fun Beach Resort (exact location where we ended http://osm.org/go/zrVJ~3kvL?m=).



Rafting Track 1
Rafting Track 1


Before rafting
At the rafting spot: Taking a crash-course on rafting

Trishuli is a fairly gentle river around this area of the country and though it had swelled up due to the incessant pre-monsoon rains from the week before, none of the rapids were greater than class III on the international scale of river difficulty. This meant that it was perfect for both the first timers and intermediate paddlers in our two rafts.


After practicing working as a team and going over the safety instructions again we headed for our first rapid. The first one went by without incident and we grew in confidence. However, the second rapid, Twin Rocks, was more turbulent than expected. A large wave caught the left side of our lead raft and knocked Jasna off the raft and into the river. However, she had managed to quickly grab the rope on the side of the raft and cling on. It was clear that due to the heavy rainfall the river level had risenand so had the severity of the rapids. However, working better as a team we were able to navigate through bigger rapids comfortably and there were no major incidences after this event.


On the raft: One for the camera

One and a half hour after going through a series of rapids we reached an area where we could jump off a cliff into the raging river (exact location http://osm.org/go/zrVK8JFHZ–?m=). From the raft the cliff didn’t appear that high so two people from the first raft and six people from the second raft were willing to jump. However, from the top of the cliff more than six meters high, the fast flowing river below – all brown from all the sediment it was carrying due to the rainfall from the night before – made for a scary sight! After taking all of this in and a moment’s hesitation we all jumped one by one into the river!


The total journey was around 2 hours 30 minutes and we covered a distance of approximately 18 km. During our rafting and swimming through the Trishuli we went through over 10 rapids and some of them are named in the order of appearance below:


  1. Snails Nose
  2. Twin Rocks
  3. Lady’s Delight
  4. Surprise
  5. Landslide
  6. Monsoon
  7. Upset
  8. Upset 2
  9. Electric
  10. Butterfly


After rafting
After rafting: The Trishuli Conquerors


Full rafting gps track
Raft on a track: A GPS track showing the entire rafting trace

KLL-OSM Award Ceremony


The first KLL/OSM Award Ceremony was initially conceived as a fun activity to encourage camaraderie amongst fellow mappers. It is an idea that is built upon the mapper of the month award that Secondary Cities team used to hand out to OSM mappers in Pokhara. The award ceremony was also designed to encourage those who have contributed through various platforms towards the OSM movement in Nepal and abroad.


The awards handed out were for:


  1. Highest Number of OSM Edits (made by a Nepali)
  2. Highest Number of OSM Edits made through Maps.me (made by a Nepali)
  3. Best submission (till that day) to State of the Map Asia 2017 Conference Logo Design contest ( by a Nepali)
  4. Highest Number of buildings mapped outside Nepal  (in a single remote mapping event)
  5. Highest Number of uploads to Mapillary (made by a Nepali in the last three months)


The award was given to any Nepali OSM user based on the total number of edits they had made in OSM. The winner of the first award was Manoj Thapa. This award has been a long time coming as Manoj has spent more than 780 days mapping since August 2012. He has made more than 374,000 edits within the boundary of Nepal. The award was handed by none other than Nama Budhathoki, the founder of OSM movement in Nepal. He was also the first person to introduce Manoj to OSM and encourage him to map extensively.


The second award recognized contribution to OSM through Maps.me application. It looked at the rank created by Maps.me mobile application. Several KLL members shared their screenshots of their profile page and with 245 verified changes (rank of 439 in the world) Gaurav Thapa was the winner of this award. This award was handed out by Sazal Sthapit. Sazal is one of the founding members of KLL and is a huge proponent of user centric mapping in Nepal.


The third award was given to any Nepali person contributing to the OSM community by submitting design/graphics/logo to any State of the Map Open Logo challenges. This year Paras Shrestha contributed by submitting the winning design to the SOTM conference being held in Kathmandu, Nepal.


Winning entry by Paras Shrestha for the State of the Map 2017 Logo Competition
State of the Map 2017 Logo Competition: Winning entry by Paras Shrestha

The fourth award was given to Bishal Bhandari for creating the most number of edits outside Nepal during a single mapping event. He created over 1,100 edits that helped map flood prone communities of Peru. The award was handed out by Pradip Khatiwada who had previously made more than 250 edits to help map flood prone communities of Mexico.



Leaderboard: Showing most number of edits made to hotosm-project-2719

The final award was given to Roshan Poudel for his contribution towards street mapping through the mapillary platform in the last six months. In this period, he has uploaded 2,788 photographs and covered nearly 50 kilometers. This award was handed by Nirab Pudasaini. Nirab is the all time leader in uploading mapillary images in Nepal with over 18,100 photos of streets of Nepal covering more than 255 km.




Hike in the hills

The second day of the retreat began with a short hiking trip around the neighboring village of Buttar in Makaising VDC. The trip, which was facilitated by a staff from River Fun Beach Resort was a welcome break from all the partying in the previous night. In keeping with the KLL spirit, a few team members immediately began mapping nearby amenities such as temples, offices, etc.


In addition, the hike also provided team members an interesting opportunity to learn more about reconstruction efforts in the village, two years after the massive earthquake.


Team Introspection


At the end of the second day of our retreat we were able to kill two birds with one stone, having  Sara and Barnabas (our curriculum development interns) facilitate a reflection workshop that allowed our team to better understand our diverse origins as well as how each and everyone of us perceives KLL and his/her role in it.


Breaking the mould of individual presentations to the group, Sara and Barnabas had devised a system similar to “speed-dating” in which each team member was able to discuss their responses to essential questions one-on-one with every other member. This introduced an interpersonal intimate element to the workshop while expending no more time than would have presentations. Questions included: What does KLL mean to you? What do you bring to the organization? What future project interest you the most?


After busily moving from colleague to colleague we all reconvened as a group greatly stimulated by the stories, ideas, and visions of the future that had been shared amongst us. Not only had this been a valuable activity for our team but we had also provided Sara and Barnabas with an opportunity to test an activity that they will be using as part of the “Youth-Mapped” Curriculum they will be implementing next week. Individuals may struggle to multitask but not teams.


After the reflection workshop by Barnabas and Sara, we collected their answers online in written text. We thought it would be interesting to look at how all team members collectively perceive KLL as an organization. In an effort to understand the same, the KLL team has generated a few word clouds based on responses to the questions from the reflection exercise.


For those who haven’t heard of it before, a word cloud is an image composed of words used in a particular text or subject, in which the size of each word indicates its frequency or importance. In other words, the larger the word, the more it is being used in the responses.


What does KLL mean to you?


Wordcloud - What does KLL mean to you?
Wordcloud: What does KLL mean to you?


What do you bring to KLL?

Wordcloud - What do you bring to KLL?
Wordcloud: What do you bring to KLL?


KLL Family - few are missing but present in spirit!
KLL Family: few are missing but were present in spirit!


On our first day at office after the retreat, all of us reflected on whether we met our expectations on having fun, team building, and getting acquainted with KLL culture. Based on the rating everybody provided on each objective, it was clear that everybody had fun, everybody felt they knew each other better than before, and had a better sense of what KLL meant to them and what KLL is all about. Mission accomplished!



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