As many will know, Nepal is a country dear to my heart - from my eight years as a Gurkha officer, speaking Nepalese and knowing the country intimately from serving here on welfare treks and recruit selection or visiting for numerous mountaineering expeditions.
As such, having decided days ago that I would not continue with my Makalu expedition, I have been raging through my mind and speaking to a number of people/organizations on how I can instead use some skills and tools to help the earthquake relief effort – i.e. my Nepalese, knowledge of the country, an excellent satellite communication systems with the Thuraya IP Plus and Thuraya XT, acclimatised to 6000m and a comprehensive medical kit and former Paramedic qualified.
My plan is therefore to trek down from Makalu Advanced Base Camp at 5700m and then spend the next week, weeks or month, if necessary, trekking to the remote and high altitude settlements of Central/Eastern Nepal that are without any road access,, any communications and almost certainly devoid of any attention - being many days trek from a road head and with relief agencies pre-occupied with the most severely hit areas of Kathmandu and Langtang.
Aim will be to compile reports on any damage or needs of every village visited and send to the Gurkha Welfare Trust and Kadoorie Foundation; allow villagers to contact missing loved ones in the rest of Nepal on my satellite system, treat any minor ailments or injuries and call in rescue for any serious cases. Very similar to the welfare treks I carried out whilst I with the Gurkhas, except today is a disaster situation.
Many people have nobly asked me how they can help, even offering to come to Nepal. The problem with actually coming here is that, as in all natural disasters, every aid worker or volunteer adds to the infrastructure problems - accommodation, food, water, supplies, transport etc. So just to stress, firstly, that in my case I will be travelling extremely light – with one backpack and one porter with a holdall, a tent and sleeping bag, one change of clothes and a lot of expedition food in areas that no-one visits. And I do not need a shower………. The barrels and other holdalls will go direct to Kathmandu.
How you can help of course is with donations. And, again, anyone who reads my page regularly will know that I am not the greatest proponent of aid or the whole aid system – money too often going into the wrong hands, or to pay the high expenses of aid workers and so on. The Nepal Earthquake is hopefully different and there are numerous agencies and funds you can donate to, however, the Gurkha Welfare Trust will get tangible relief to families in the hills of Nepal in affected areas:
Any other specific ones I come across or are asked will try to post. There are 62000 people who follow this page and even just $5 each will make a tangible difference. Sincerest thanks to the support in satellite equipment and air time donated b www.thuraya.com and www.xtra-link.com from the UAE and for everyone else’s support and good wishes.
This is a very personal quest for a country and people that I am deeply connected to and it doesn’t matter if anyone knows about my upcoming journey or not. But, at the same time, the people of Nepal will greatly benefit from any moneys you can donate hence why I am promoting it here and will continue to send back images over the next week/weeks.
And whether I trek for a few days or a month and even if I can help just one settlement receive some support, then it will have been worth it. And whether you donate a dollar or 50 dollars the same. For every little bit helps………