VISIT TO NEPAL

“IN THE FOOTHILLS OF NEPAL……….”

On the day (21 March) that Prince Harry was made honorary head of a Nepalese village and when he joined a remote community to spend the night with a Gurkha family, I was in conversation with Wadebridge resident, Paul Holmes, to talk to him about his recent three months in Nepal.

This journey of Paul’s took place shortly after the earthquakes of April and May last year, which killed nearly 9,000 people, and injuring some 21,000, damaging much of central rural, Nepal and the city of Kathmandu in particular; sitting as it does on the Kathmandu Basin.

Paul returned home a few days before Christmas 2015 and was kind enough to come along to Wadebridge Rotary Club in February this year to begin telling members some of his fascinating tales of this remarkable country and its people.  Paul returns to the Club on 28 April for a follow-up session.

Paul explains “I had a number of reasons for this 3 month visit 1) I wanted to revisit this extraordinary country that, in a previous 2 week trip, had set my imagination on fire 2) to offer some marketing help to a pal of mine and former Eden Project colleague, Miles, who has set up ‘landroversoverland’ Independent Land Rover and 4 x 4 Specialists in Kathmandu, with an eye to encouraging those Nepalese who own this ubiquitous vehicle (i.e. largely the wealthy 3%) to understand that regular maintenance would prolong the vehicle’s life by some margin – rather going against the Nepalese psyche it has to be said and 3) to set out on and survive a three week trek across the foothills of the Himalayas and ‘like Harry’ have the chance to live with rural Nepalese families”.

All three of these ambitions were achieved in spades and then just before he left Cornwall, Paul added a fourth; it was this final ambition that made Paul approach Wadebridge RC.  “I knew that the Rotary Club would have been doing some fund-raising for Nepal, following the 2015 earthquakes, and so wanted to know if there might be a useful link with a sister Club in Kathmandu.”

It was at the Rotary Club of Patan West in Kathmandu that Paul met with their 2015/16 President, Ashok Shakya.  It was Ashok who was able to explain that the funds raised by Wadebridge and other like-minded Clubs in Devon & Cornwall in 2015 (iro £20,000) had largely been spent in improving roads, providing much needed shelters for families and doing their best to get children back to their schools and carrying out essential repairs to the school buildings.

A final word from Paul: “Nepal is an amazing country, isolated from the world for so long but full of people with endless endurance and full of laughter whatever seems to be thrown at them.  Alongside all of this goodness is endemic corruption and a huge need to get their children educated – it is only through education that Nepal will grow and prosper”.

If anyone would like to hear more of Paul’s ‘tales from Nepal’ then do please contact Wadebridge Rotary Club by phoning Graham Renwick 01208 816682 with a view to coming along on Thursday 28 April for Paul’s follow-up session.

Graham Renwick – Public Image, Wadebridge Rotary Club
Photos, courtesy of Paul Holmes

ADDENDUM

Wadebridge Rotary Club has sent 6 Dictionaries4Life to help local children in a village visited by Paul.   These have now arrived in Nepal.   Five were donated to a school as below and the other to a young boy.

The name of my young friend is Rajip and he lives with his Mother and Brothers in Patale.

However, the school that was destroyed in a landslide following the Earthquake in March last year is located in a small hill village called Solaghar. About half a day trek from Patale in the foothills of the Himalayas in the Solukhumbu Region.

I'd like to give Rajip a dictionary for his studies at his new school in Kathmandu but the remainder will be taken to Solaghar by my friend and guide, Khadga Tamang