Rebuilding a school in Nepal

Here is this morning’s E-mail from Binod – there is little else to say except thank you everyone who contributed to this project. As you will note we’ve made our first donation and bought roofing material. We’ll be making another contribution in a couple of weeks so if you’re still thinking about it – it’s not too late to join the rebuild effort here in Gijyan or in Tendi’s village Khamding.

In the “people picture” Binod is wearing the green T shirt.

Namaste Kim,
At the moment I am at my village (Gijyan) in Annapurna region. I met with the head master of the school (Shree Tulodaya Secondary School). All teachers, some students and locals in village are in a process to rebuild the school. As the school has not received any support from the government or any organization they started to collect some donations from the locals in the village. I contributed 85 pieces of Tin from the donation I received from you. I have attached some photos of the school. In one photo I am standing with the Head Master (Mr. Suresh Paudel) who is wearing blue T shirt. More photos will be sent to you.

With best regards,
Binod.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3  photo 4 photo 5

An Open letter from Nepal

With his permission, I’m sharing with you a letter Binod wrote. Binod, for those of you who have joined this blog recently, is the owner/operator of HikeNepal.com. He is the person who organizes my treks while I’m in Nepal and introduced me to Tendi.

“Dear Friends and Family,

Our lives in Nepal have been turned upside down by this recent earthquake and subsequent aftershocks. Nepal and Nepalese have suffered losses in this earthquake from every aspect physically, psychologically, economically and historically. This natural disaster have devastated Kathmandu and surrounding regions including my birth village “Gijyan” in Annapurna region. This remote village including the school (Shree Tulodaya Secondary School, Parbat district) where I used to study have taken a terrible battering and are in desperate need significant resources and aid to begin the process of rebuilding.

Thanks to all those friends, family good wishers, prayers for extending their helping hands with love and sympathy. Many international teams who had came to lend a hand had returned to their home. They helped a lot with rescue, medical care, food, shelter, water sanitation. Lots of aids for the rebuilding, repairs still are coming for the country. It has encouraged us to move forward. We will always be grateful for all your humanitarian support at this time of need.

It is our responsibility to rebuild this nation. And there is no better way to revive the economy than through tourism which supports every level of Nepal society. One of the best things that people can do to help Nepal to recover will be to come for a holiday as soon as possible. So please make a plan to visit Nepal soon and be a part of rebuilding our nation. Thank you very much.”

With gratitude
Binod Mahat

Picking up and carrying on.

I like to begin my day with a coffee. Hmmm – the aroma, that first scalding sip. What makes the moment better is a ringing phone when the tingle in my fingers as I reach for it informs me it’s Tendi at the other end. I don’t need call display. I answer with my limited Nepali.

Today our conversation includes him laughing at himself because he’d slept right through several “shakings in the night.” Tendi and his children have moved back into their Kathmandu apartment. Yesterday his wife Lhamu returned to Khamding. The road was open most of the way. She “only” had to walk with all her supplies brought back from the city for the last three hours. Their cow, dog and home are fine. There is some damage to their home but Tendi will be able to fix it when he returns to the village next week. Some village buildings sustained limited damage, others are uninhabitable. Before returning home he needs to wait until school reopens and he can get Phulu and Nima settled back into the school hostel. Tsheri will continue living at the apartment while attending his post secondary classes.

Normalcy returns. Or does it? Tendi had a trek booked for this past week. It is obviously cancelled. But he had bought tickets for the flight from Kathmandu  to Lukla. He awaits his refund. It has yet to come and he’ll be charged a cancellation fee. Yet he gets no compensation from the would be trekkers. And so it goes.

He wonders if trekkers will return in October.  And then he asks me if I remember Lang Tang village. Of course I do but it is only a memory now. The entire village is completely gone, buried. Not a trace. Just a massive landslide cutting a swath across the once pretty landscape. Not even a blade of grass remains.

I can’t imagine the roller coaster of emotions, he’s happy his cow is fine, but saddened that an entire village is completely wiped away. With it people he knows well.  He’s alive, as is all his family, but he has no current means of supporting them. What toll these conflicts?

An e-mail from Binod tells me of banks and shops reopening and people who still have homes and apartments slowly moving back into them. Shopping for food, cooking, visiting amongst the heaps of rubble that litter the nation. Beneath which may be the 1000s who remain missing – dead.

Staggering under a collective weight of the task ahead to rebuild a nation; people are getting up and carrying on, determined, with dignity, and with gratitude for the help they are recieving.

Namaste.

Pictures speak 1000s of words – Nepal’s earthquake damage

Namaste

Here I am addressing the Nepal earthquake again.

Many friends have already responded  to my request for assistance in raising money to directly provide some aid.  The initiative is to raise funds for repair of community infrastructure in two villages. One is Khamding, (Tendi’s home village). The other is Gijyan Tilahr (Binod’s home village). Thank you everyone for your great generosity.

Here are a few pictures Binod has sent me from Gijyan Tilahar .

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5

I think the last picture is a home’s roof. (Or perhaps I should say WAS a home’s roof).

The funds we send will be used by each village to repair community infrastructure as that village council sees fit. Access routes, medical clinic, school, mill, water supply are examples. The idea is to promote a dispersal of aid that will ensure the greatest number of people benefit. Should there be money left over, the village councils will decide how the balance should be dispersed, ensuring the most needy receive priority assistance. The accountability will be transparent in that records will be kept and no doubt pictures of a project before and after will be provided.

These are honest people, their life is already difficult, the earthquake has created some tremendous obstacles to basic life requirements – water, food, shelter. The monsoons are looming and these rains are heavy and unremitting. Together we have the resources to provide significant help to two villages. Let’s do it.

If you’d like to donate to this project please email me – mamabears@shaw.ca. Canadian or US funds can be E-transferred, mailed via snail mail or, if you live locally, we can meet.

Thank you (Danyabhad)

Amsterdam in the spring = Keukenhof = Flowers

Kathy and I spent the entire day here at Keukenhof. Arguably the biggest spring flower display garden in the world.

Kathy and I spent the entire day here at Keukenhof. Arguably the biggest spring flower display garden in the world.

image image image image

We we had a flower-full day then the next day flew home. Our flight arrived early, customs was speedy, our baggage arrived quickly, we ran and caught an earlier flight to the Island, saving ourselves that last long wait before the final leg of the journey. Then home to our busy lives.

There you have it.  The story of Kim and Kathy’s most excellent Crete and Kea adventure is complete.

My next overseas trip will be with my dad in November and December on a “Viking” cruise of the Mediterranean. We start in Istanbul and end up in Barcelona. A bit of a departure from my usual method of travel but it promisses be a comfortable way of seeing that bit of the world. We’re taking warm coats, rain coats and umbrellas!  While many ports of call will be repeat visits for both of us, there are several places on the itinerary that we’ve yet to visit.

The last days of Kim and Kathy’s Greek Odyssey

Greetings friends,

A week after our return to Canada several of you are requesting a wrap up blog. I know we left you hanging in suspense – what would we get into next? Many of you know we returned safe and farmer tan brown. Others may be wondering if the wilds of Kea finally got the better of us! In brief – a few pictures of Our Final Day on Kea.

Our last walk. And it was just a pleasant stroll to a pretty pocket beach  (on the left) near where we were staying. The day was warm and perfect for sun bathing. So we did this thing - first and only time on the trip.

Our last walk. And it was just a pleasant stroll to a pretty pocket beach (on the left) near where we were staying. The day was warm and perfect for sun bathing. So we did this thing – first and only time on the trip.

Our very fine accommodation at the Red Tractor Farm. Besides this palatial room we had our own private courtyard garden as well as that balcony. And there was the kitchen.

Our very fine accommodation at the Red Tractor Farm. Besides this palatial room we had our own private courtyard garden as well as that balcony. And there was the kitchen. We lit a fire every evening as it was still cool at night.

Kathy, our balcony, sunset of our final day.

Kathy, our balcony, sunset of our final day….many of course more cheap, but good, wine.

Kathy shopping for achorn cookies at the Red Tractor shop. This is where we stayed. Red tractor is a viable farm. They grow grapes for wine, and olives for olive oil. They also have an amazing project to save the oak trees of Kea. Fastinating story. Look up acorn protect Kea on Google if you're interested.

Kathy shopping for acorn cookies at the Red Tractor shop. This is where we stayed. Red Tractor is a viable farm, producing grapes for wine, and olives for olive oil. They also have an amazing project to save the oak trees of Kea. Fascinating story. Look up Acorn Progect Kea on Google if you’re interested.

This is the port. Not our ferry but  similar. When we left the next morning to catch our boat  we walked the 15 minute journey with our head lamps to light our way as it was 6am and still dark!

This is the port. Not our ferry but similar. When we left the next morning to catch our boat we walked the 15 minute journey with our head lamps to light our way as it was 6am and still dark!

As mentioned, we departed at zero dark thirty. The ferry trip was about an hour. Two more hours and we were at the Athens airport. Plenty of time to zip into Athens for another quick look around….. But…. Despite the long wait for our check in time we chose to just sit in the sun outside the airport for a few hours. The trip into and out of Athens would have taken about as long as the time we’d have To look around. Neither of us are particularly city crazy and as you know we’d already enjoyed several Athenian highlights.

Finally onto our flight to Amsterdam. Now we’d have endured a 17 hour layover there so had decided to add 24 hours to that –  so just when you thought this was a wrap – there’s yet another day of surprises and delights.

Next blog coming shortly to tell you about the joys of Amsterdam in the spring! Do bulbs come to mind? Just wait until you see.