Please share a picture or a memory of a special moment you spent while traveling in Nepal. Our hearts go out to Nepal and its people.
I was in Nepal when the earthquake hit. I was lucky to be at the airport where we were all able to run out into the open.
I had spent the two weeks before that falling completely and totally in love with the people and country of Nepal. Old women would touch your arm in passing as a gentle display of affection, like a grandmother, but they didn't know you at all. I played cards for six hours with a group of Nepalese young men because we were all caught in a rainstorm. They felt like my brothers after five minutes. I strolled around Durbar square on Nepalese New Year and watched kids run through crowds of pigeons amongst beautiful ancient brick temples.
I can't even begin to describe how sad I am for these people. Hundreds of thousands of people, the kindest people I've ever met, are left grieving the loss of their friends, family members, homes. These are people with average income of $15 / day, rebuilding is going to be very difficult.
I started this fundraising campaign to help out; if you want to help please make a donation: http://igg.me/at/AjAYm7eakrc
Most of the funds will go directly to families in the Gurkha village. This village, the hometown of my friend Santosh who I spent five days trekking with, and was hit the hardest by the earthquake - 90% of it is completely destroyed. Villages typically receive less aid from the main services, so I'm hoping this money will be really helpful to families there trying to rebuild their lives there. It breaks my heart to even post this photo; just one of the beautiful places around Kathmandu that is now a site for so much loss.
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The disaster in Nepal is tragic, and for many of us travelers our natural first instinct is to help in whatever way we can. Which is great.
That said, I encourage everyone who intends to donate financially to be especially careful about where they spend their funds. Attempts to collect money for aid efforts by travelers on Trippy (especially those who have been to Nepal, such as Miranda below) are likely genuine. However regarding all the major and minor NGOs and charities, etc, currently engaged with fundraising efforts, please do not automatically take their words at face value. Please be very careful and do your homework before you send money anywhere.
As unbelievable as it may sound, when disaster strikes some relief-oriented organizations (big and small) take advantage of the situation and steer significant amounts of monies raised into their own coffers. Beyond that, in certain cases politicians on the receiving end of donations sometimes pocket the cash or steer it to family and friends.
As an example of what I'm saying look no further than Haiti. And check out this 2015 article:
How can it be that with billions raised Port-Au-Prince is still not rebuilt 5 years after the 2010 earthquake destroyed the city? Because the full extent of international fundraising efforts that year never reached the people affected. That's how.
So I think I've made my point. Please be wise with your donations. And whenever possible put them directly into the hands of someone you trust to deliver them and/or apply them appropriately. Let's aim to ensure that in addition to our thoughts and prayers the Nepalese also receive every cent we send their way.
This picture is of a wedding I attended in Kathmandu a few days prior to the earthquake- the exchanging of rings. I happen to be walking down a random street when I noticed a procession. It just took a simple question before I found myself on the back of a motorbike, attending a local wedding.
I first arrived in Thupten Chholing in late spring 1999, one in a small group of researchers, Fulbright(er)s and UN workers, studying rituals of refugees. We had a bag of gifts for those encamped, the always-at-the ready toothbrush, pencils, notebooks, etc - the usual stuff - and about a 1/2 dozen sheets of silly stickers, including some glittery smiley faces. Little Amdo, then 11, a Tibetan refugee, was shy; one of the last to come over. He took his time looking over the choices, even picking-up a notebook and pen set that he studied hard. Putting it down, he reached for a sheet of stickers, tracing the outline of the silly smile with his fingers. His eyes asked if taking one was ok. Mine replied, 'yes'. He peeled it off, wiped his forehead with the back of his hand, then stuck the smile tenderly, at 'the third eye,' showing its simple hope to all who would see. I took this shot on film, black and white. Above is a scan of the original.
I've lived in Nepal, Boudha Nath, for close to a decade. I've worked here since that 1999 trip. My advice is to give, but to be very careful to whom you give. Despite being a Kathmandu ex-pat local, it is beyond me to suggest an organization, or endorse giving to any private person. Bureaucracy is layered deep in Nepal and the scope of this tragedy is too vast. Do as your heart guides. However, when the horror passes, in a year or so, please come visit. Bring some mates. Trek the villages of this land, experience its unique confluence of Vedic and Buddhist culture - a confluence that may be this tragedy's most unheralded victim. Sleep in family run teahouses. Eat locally farmed, locally prepared food. Drink backroom rakshi and chang. When it comes time to pay for your meal, your drink, your stay, hand over the money happily, like it means no more to you than a silly, penny, smile face sticker. I guarantee every dollar, every euro, will make a difference. Namaste. Tashi Delek!
I totally agree! It has been on my list of place to go for a long long time but so far I haven't made it so no photo to post. There is a huge need for funds to support the relief effort now as food, water and temporary shelter are all in short supply. I just heard that iTunes is supporting donations as are the Red Cross and Globalgiving.org.
Yes, totally agreed Rocio. I wish I'd been there so I had a picture to post.
I've never been to Nepal, except for in my dreams, and that doesn't count, I guess. But I want you to know why I'm so proud of my country. Pls read the following articles:
And, yes, we all hope for the best.