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Earthquake Diaries From Nepal-Part V(Conclusion)-A Test Of Strength And Resiliency

By John Saboe | Nepal

May 12


The last few days I spent in Nepal during the earthquakes of 2015 were a whirlwind of visiting villages in the Kathmandu Valley and the remote hard hit Sindhupalchowk District. At least two thirds of all of the houses in Sindhupalchowk were destroyed. It was shocking as we rode up the windy road to one of the most remote villages, Thangpalkot I to see twisted buildings and piles of stones that were once homes. I met one young man that lost his guesthouse and had no idea how he would support his wife and daughter in the short term. Many of the younger people in the families around Sindhupalchowk were contemplating leaving the country to find work in order to save the money it would take to rebuild.

In the Kathmandu Valley some villages lost historic buildings and temples, like Bungamati’s Rato Machhendranath Temple, where the patron God of Patan deity usually presides.

When I returned later in the year many of the villages and sites I saw in May had been cleaned up and there were more temporary shelters in place but the work had not yet begun at almost all locations.

Nepal was also in the middle of a fuel crisis, spurred on by a constitution that wasn’t favorable to villages in the Terai region. It was believed India was also in disfavor of the new constitution and held back deliveries of fuel giving the reason that drivers and trucks did not feel secure crossing the border.

Most tourists were still able to move around the country by bus and with internal flights but Nepalis were preparing less vegetables in order to conserve cooking fuel. Less fuel also meant less goods available in stores and higher prices at the markets. The country and it’s people could not think about rebuilding in this unfavorable environment.

Today the work still remains painfully slow, especially in the remote regions like Sindhupalchowk but the country’s state of panic has passed.

When I visited Nepal in May of 2015 my intention was to support tourism and get the message out that although it wasn’t the best time to visit during the aftermath, the country and it’s people were still counting on tourism to help sustain the economy and families. It wasn’t a surprise that many people cancelled their plans for a fall visit and a fuel crisis was not exactly a sign that things were stable.

Today among other projects including two podcasts and a YouTube Channel I find myself a partner in a trekking and tour company based in Nepal with a personal stake in bringing tourism back to the country.

I visited Nepal at my own expense during the earthquakes, no trekking adventures or relaxing days around Phewa Lake in Pokhara. I was there to document the damage, speak to people that were deeply affected by the destruction and share on social media that immediate help was needed and long term support of tourism was necessary.

Most of the great trails of Nepal saw little or no damage as a result of the earthquakes and the south, the birthplace of the Buddha and some of the best wildlife viewing in the world were completely unaffected. Only 15% of the world heritage sites were damaged or destroyed.

For every trekker or tourist that visits Nepal at least seven Nepalis benefit during that time spent in the country. Visiting Nepal whether you use my company or someone else’s will have a huge impact on the recovery from one of South Asia’s worst natural disasters.

Beyond the knowledge and awareness of how valuable your tourist dollars are to the country I believe you will feel like you’ve had one of the most memorable and meaningful vacations of your life.

For more information on travel and trekking in Nepal visit our website:https://explorehimalayan.com

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About the Author

I am a broadcaster, photographer, writer and videographer with a passion for travel throughout Asia. I love making connections and engaging with people. I am spiritual and seek adventure wherever I go.