News from Nepal - Part 3
Cicerone Press author Sian Pritchard-Jones continues to report from the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake.
The truck departed and we made it back to the hotel to meet with Dr Kailash Sah, the deputy director of Kanti Children’s Hospital. It would seem that the hospital currently has all its immediate needs, manpower, medicines and equipment. That at least seems very positive. They are however expecting the problems to intensify in a few weeks when sickness and disease start to develop and the monsoon approaches. We are still having our Malaysian food stocks for lunch (at 3pm) and luckily Kailash doesn’t like Mars bars either, so they are holding up. We have finally heard from Purna Lama in Gongar Khola on the Rolwaling trails, whose committee financed our guidebook trek research last year. Apparently they too have sustained devastation, with Simi, Beding and Na virtually destroyed. He is due in Kathmandu in a day or so.
With so many lodges flattened, it looks like treks in much of Nepal in future may be done in the traditional style of camping with armies of mules, porters and cooks etc. Annapurna has escaped almost but not quite unscathed, so it might yet see a revival of fortunes in future. Everest too must not be forgotten; it too has seen damage and destruction in places. In the late afternoon we took a taxi with our retired trekking guide/cook Mingma to see his house. It’s way north out by Kopan Monastery. Again en route the damage is limited to a few badly-built new houses and old ones. His one-storey house is standing, but cracks means it has to be rebuilt, so we are personally able to help finance the start of the reconstruction. Just this process might cost US$2000, so it’s not a small job, but Mingma is a resourceful man and is confident it will be done quite fast with his own resources and a little help. He is asking that any donated funds we get should go to the remote village causes, so we will not involve any outside resources in his rebuilding.
Today was the festival of Buddha Jayanti, the birthday of Buddha, so we dropped by at Boudhanath stupa on our way back to the Hotel Moonlight. It was crowded with pilgrims and monks circling the great monument. Sadly it too has suffered some damage to the upper spire, so visitors and pilgrims are not allowed to access the inner area at all. Nor are the flags flying from the top. Overall it has weathered the quake well. It was a happy if somewhat subdued occasion. By now we needed a loo stop, so we crossed the road outside the stupa to visit the Hotel Tibet International, but our old acquaintance Tsering Dolkar was not there. The hotel has been shut for a while, but is said to be opening again tomorrow. By now it was well past dinner time, so a good curry at the Third Eye was in order, and that’s the lot for another day.
Siân Pritchard-Jones and Bob Gibbons met in 1983, on a trek from Kashmir to Ladakh. Since then they have been leading and organising treks in the Alps, Nepal, Algeria and Niger, and exploring the world. However, they regularly return to their first love, Kathmandu and the Himalayas, and have published several books on the region.View Articles and Books by Siân Pritchard-Jones