Last year Karen and I spent a few amazing weeks in Nepal. Our initial objective was just to go there to do a bit of trekking but we discovered so much more.
We spent days getting lost amongst Kathmandu’s labyrinthine streets, discovering temples both hidden and looming before heading to quieter streets in Bhaktapur – a medieval town full of character and charm. The only scary thing were the street dogs howling in the night – you could hear them but not see them in the dark un-lit streets.
The second part of our trip involved us exploring the countryside by raft and foot. There is nothing more liberating than just taking to the mountains. Although we still do not know how we got up Poon Hill in sneakers and thin jackets!
Nepal was very good to us and it was a key place on our travels. We can still hear the chanting of the Tibetan monks in their refugee camp, smell the plates of momos and dhal bhat that we demolished with both curiosity and hunger and nothing is warmer than the log fire in that tea-house in Ghorepani.
The events of the last few days in Nepal have filled us with great sadness. To hear that places like Thamel and the Durbar Squares at Patan, Kathmandu and Bhaktapur have sustained catastrophic damages due to the earthquake is too terrible to contemplate. That future generations might be robbed of these treasures is a dark tale indeed. But that is not the worst news…
At the time of writing over 4,000 people have been confirmed dead with countless more injured. With many building collapses it will take some time to work out who is missing and who has survived. We met many great and interesting people on our trip and our thoughts and prayers are, in particular, with the following people.
· Gunis – We went up the mountains as strangers but came down as friends after sharing many stories around the fireplace in the teahouses along our route
· Our Ayr College –Alumni Guide in Patan.
· Everyone that worked in the Mum’s Hotel in Thamel that made our stay all the more enjoyable.
· The Heart of Bhaktapur Guesthouse – especially the disabled children that this establishment takes care of.
While Nepal is rich in culture and people it is very very poor in almost everything else. They face an impossible task right now and do not have either the expertise or infrastructure to deal with the challenge ahead.
They are going to need every prayer, thought and dollar to help them.
If anybody reading this has a few to spare of the latter than the best two agencies to help are Medicins Sans Frontier or the Red Cross.