|Here is a photo by
John Vavruska showing Dan sitting in our Nirmali
Danda campsite, next to a hay stack, typing emails
and sending digital photo and email dispatches by
satellite email modem, powered by a solar panel. All
of our satellite email and phone communications were
Vickee Staehler of Four Winds Communications
EverestNews.com, Final Dispatch from 2004 Service Trek for Mt. Everest
Foundation for Sustainable Development in Nepal and Tibet
Vavruska writes: As I write this, snow is falling outside my window and
Northern New Mexico is getting its first good blanket of snow. Iím back home
again with my family after 15 remarkable days in the remote hills of eastern
Nepal. How different our worlds are. It now all seems like a dream.
Actually, it was a dreamÖ.fulfilled! I knew I would return to Nepal one day -
its wonderful people and magnificent landscape are irresistible to those who
ďget the bugĒ. I was fortunate twenty years ago to serve as a Peace Corps
Volunteer in Nepal. And once again, Iíve had the privilege to return to
Nirmalidanda and be welcomed back with amazing hospitality.
of our Service Trek in support of the Mt. Everest Foundation for Sustainable
Development in Nepal and Tibet were the Sherpa village of Patale in northern
Okhaldhunga district and the village of Nirmalidanda in Khotang district.
Overall, I am encouraged by what I saw and experienced in Nepal compared to
twenty years ago. On the positive side, sanitation has improved with the
construction of many latrines in villages that did not have a single one
before. The forests everywhere we visited look larger and healthier than
before thanks to community forest protection programs implemented at the
village level. Health posts staffed by trained health workers and stocked
with appropriate medicines and supplies are more common than before, thanks to
the efforts of organizations like the Mt. Everest Foundation.
construction of gravity flow drinking water systems which were being supported
by both the government of Nepal and UNICEF when I was here before now appear
to be a thing of the past. The systems that were built at that time are
almost all in a state of disrepair due to a lack of funds for their upkeep.
And of course the Maoist insurgency remains a source of tension for Nepalis.
It has tragically taken many lives and negatively impacts the hill villagers.
As foreigners, we always felt safe as we walked through the hills, even when
we did encounter Maoists. The insurgency vs. the government is an issue that
will have to be resolved by the Nepali
letís hope in a peaceful manner.
coming months, I look forward to giving slide presentations about our 2004
Service Trek and hope that we can count on support for the new Health Post in
Patale and upgrade of the water system in Nirmalidanda. These two projects
are directly improving the lives of people in remote hill villages who deeply
appreciate it, by providing basic human needs - health care and clean drinking
water. If you would like to host a slide show or would just like to talk
about rural development in Nepal, please contact me at
I want to
thank several people who helped make our journey a pleasant reality. Dan
Mazurís enthusiasm, understanding, and love of Nepal along with his
encouragement led me to finally say, why not go back to the village this
year? Elselien te Hennepeís curiosity about Nepal and care for itís people
were an inspiration and positive influence throughout our trek. Our Sherpa
staff, all from the villages of Patale - Jangbu, Gyaluk, Shera, Tenzing, Sapte,
Kandu, Lhakpa, and Gyalzen canít be thanked enough for their constant care,
loyalty, and desire to do this Service Trek as a team. Equally appreciated
were the cheerful contributions of our Rai porters Niranjan and Raj Kumar from
the village of Gudel, a place weíd all like to visit someday. Many thanks to
Murari Sharma of Parivar Trekking for successfully getting us in and out of a
logistically difficult region on schedule. Finally, I really appreciate the
support of my wife Laura and daughter Annie, who understood how important this
journey was to me and encouraged me to go.
very much, and I am looking forward to hearing from you. Yours Sincerely, John
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