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December 2016 - Update from Nepal


I arrived in Nepal on 31 October after some delays in UK; this is almost a month later than usual for this season. However, the daytime temperature of 25c plus was very welcome, but as usual colder night time and early morning. The daytime temperature reduced a little later in November and early December but it was still a pleasant change from UK.

I was not able to visit Khumbu and up to Tengboche Monastery this time but was in Kathmandu for the reopening of Boudha Stupa after the earthquake of April 2015.

On my first visit to Boudha Stupa it was good to see the progress of the rebuilding, the spire on the main dome was complete and all the gold plated panels replaced, the remaining work was almost complete.

Later in November there were three days of Sherpa Pujaís (ceremonies) on 18/19/20 November, with the official reopening of the Stupa on 22 November. I was able to attend and take part in all of these days together with many Sherpa and Tibetan people and more than a thousand Lamas from Monasteries in Kathmandu and from other Buddhist communities in Nepal and also from some other countries. On the day of the reopening there were many representatives from the Buddhist communities around the world and also some ambassadors to Nepal from other countries.

Within a few days of the opening ceremony it was once again possible to walk on the main Stupa. It was a very special moment to see Boudha Stupa open again and to join with many Sherpa and Tibetan people, early in the morning, walking on the main Stupa again with everything almost back to normal. This was the first time in 19 months since the earthquake of 25 April 2015 we could walk on the Stupa and a very special time for all the Sherpa people - Photos and updates will be available later in the Boudha Stupa section of the website.

The rebuilding of Boudha Stupa was funded by Sherpa and other Buddhist communities from around Nepal and in other countries. Generous donations were also received from many organisations and individuals, Nepali and foreigners, all of this making the rebuilding of Boudha Stupa possible..

Political Situation:

There are still many disagreements between the main political parties in the government as well as other parties outside of the government, all of this is continuing the uncertainty of when the new constitution will be finalised and as usual the ordinary people are suffering the consequences.

More than one and a half years after the earthquake of April 2015 many thousands of people in many areas of Nepal, including Kathmandu, are still living in temporary shelters with no assistance from the government to rebuild their houses, schools, shops and communities. Having been through their second monsoon the second winter period is approaching and this will only mean more hardship for many thousands of Nepaliís around the country. In Kathmandu the supply of daily goods and food items has improved considerably since the border closure by India a year ago but people still face many problems.

Tourism:

Most of the areas affected by the earthquake are now open to tourists, although in some trekking areas accommodation is limited. Most of my Sherpa friends and colleagues in Khumbu report steady business this season, however generally tourist numbers are still considerably down after the earthquake and the problems associated with the border closure by India in 2015.

As indicated in previous reports the Khumbu Everest region is open as normal with all the trails in a good condition and if you or any of your friends and colleagues are interested in trekking in the region please do get in touch for further information and updates your visit would greatly assist the Sherpa people. Together with our colleagues at the offices in Kathmandu it should be possible to arrange your visit for the spring (Mar/Apr) season or for the autumn (Oct/Nov) season next year.

April 2015 Earthquake:

Aftershocks still continue but those of 4 or more on the scale that are recorded have been reducing in recent months. There has been a period of 43 days with no aftershock of 4 plus recorded, and at the time of my arrival this season (31 Oct.) the last one recorded was 17 October this continued to total 41 days until 27 November. However, at 05.20 on 28 November a 5.6 aftershock occurred with epicentre on the border of Ramechap and SoluKhumbu districts. In Kathmandu this was felt throughout the city and greater valley area. At the family house in Kapan on the outskirts of the city we felt it with the house shaking but no damage occurred. I called a number of my Sherpa friends in Khumbu area and they had also felt the shaking but no damage caused.

It was the following day before reports emerged of an incident on Mount Amadablam, close to Tengboche Monastery, with the aftershock causing a small ice avalanche just above the base camp that killed one Sherpa guide and injured one member of a climbing group. This group had just left base camp to move up the mountain when the aftershock came. This Sherpa guide was from Pangboche village, close to Amadablam, I didnít know him but some of my Sherpa friends and colleagues did know him. This was, once again, another sad occasion for all the Sherpa community. This aftershock of 5.6 was the strongest recorded for many months.

Nepal Trekking in Nepal:

At home in Kapan on the outskirts of Kathmandu life is getting back to normal, on a daily basis, for the family. Local road works are causing problems at times with difficult access to the area but this is the case in many areas of Kathmandu in recent months. School and college is back to normal hours now and Kunga Doma, now in class 10, is working hard for her SLC - School Leaving Certificate Ė equivalent to O levels with the main exams at the end of the current Nepali year in mid April. Tshiring is now in year 3 of his 4 year Bachelor Information Technology (BIT) course and is looking forward to some possible Intern work as part of this yearís course..

As always we are very grateful to everyone who gives us support for our work direct in Nepal. Support both financially and with the continued supply of clothing for children and adults in the villages and in Kathmandu. This is an ongoing project and if any donations of funding or good used clothing for children, teenagers and adults (small and medium sizes are best for adults) are available please contact Denis any time to arrange. Direct funding is always required, specifically for Education Funding which I hope you may be able to assist with a donation. Our projects are ongoing and we look forward to continued support in the months and years ahead. If you can help with any of our projects, or you require any further information, please contact Denis direct (email and phone details enclosed). You can Make a Difference.

Denis Gallagher
Nepal Trekking
December 2016