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June 2020 - Update from Nepal


First of all may I say that I do hope that you and all your family, relatives, friends and colleagues are all OK at this time during the continuing Covid-19 situation.

As some of you do know I did make my usual visit to Nepal this spring season but it all turned out to be difficult.

When I booked my flight at the end of January this virus problem was just a small thing in China. Even when I left UK on 08 Mar. it was still only a small thing.

I use Bangladesh Biman Airline for my flight via Dhaka in Bangladesh to Kathmandu, it is usually overnight in Dhaka then to Kathmandu next day. This time, however it all started to go wrong, the flight to Kathmandu was cancelled for two days. There was no real explanation other than "the China virus problem" - At that time, there was no problem with the virus in Bangladesh or in Nepal. - After I arrived in Nepal on 12 Mar. I began to see how it was all escalating out of control all over the world. I went to the airline Kathmandu office, they know me also so it is easy to sort things out, and we decided to change my flight date back to UK, this should have been 01/02May, we had to change it to 02/03 Apr. because the Nepal government started a "precautionary" lockdown from 22 March to the end of the month and those were the first dates the airline could use.

My ticket agent in London was informed and all was well, or so we thought!! During the lockdown the airline Kathmandu office closed and was not even taking phone calls, then the ticket agent told me the airline had cancelled all flights until 08 Apr. and he was working with the London office of the airline to find me a flight.

Meanwhile I got an update from the FCO Nepal information about the British embassy in Kathmandu possibly trying to arrange an evacuation flight - I contacted the embassy and they gave me an email address to use to register my interest which I did. Anyway, I registered and all was accepted and they gave details of two flights 08 and10 Apr. the flight they gave me was on Fri. 10 Apr. we got back to UK 23.00 Fri. night because of the time difference and I just had to wait overnight for the car hire to open and I got back home on Saturday afternoon after the drive up from London. The flight was to Stanstead, I have never been there so all a bit difficult and strange but all well in the end.

So, on this occasion a difficult visit but as the British Embassy arranged flight back to the UK was full I was obviously not the only one to be affected!!!

October/November season 2019:

I was not able to make any report at the time because of some computer problems which were not completely sorted until into the new year 2020. Also because of the changed situation of the business being closed and possible changes to the website. Anyway, it was a successful season, one of our previous clients, Joan Mills, arranged a group to trek up to base camp, it all worked out very well with all the arrangements together with my colleagues from Sherpa Society and Magnificent Travels and Tours managing all the details for trekking and travel etc. I had hoped to travel as far as Tengboche with the group but in the end various problems and difficulties prevented me from doing so. Anyway it all went very well for the group.

March/April season 2020:

As indicated above this season was disrupted and cut short by the Covid-19 virus problem and I had only about 10 days that I was able to go into the office in Thamel, during this time I also was able to visit Boudha Stupa on three occasions before the Nepal government introduced the lockdown and we all had to stay at home. This was the case until my early departure, as indicated above, and I never saw many of my Nepali friends and colleagues on this visit. I think looking back the Nepal government introduced the lockdown very early, at the time there had only been a few cases and the lockdown did hold things back for a while but then, as elsewhere in the world, it did start to take hold, - now in the second week of June the number of confirmed cases is almost four and a half thousand with news reports suggesting that 85% of these are Nepali returning from India as well as other travellers via India. There have been 15 confirmed deaths.

I couldn’t go to Khumbu on this visit but I was able to contact a few of my Sherpa friends by phone and come up to date, everything is closed down of course in the present circumstances.

25 April 2020:

It is now five years after the earthquake and aftershocks are still occurring, and there is still many buildings and other infrastructure around the country that require repairs and attention. However at this time, with all the problems of Covid-19, anything to do with the earthquake is way down the list of priorities!!

Nepal Trekking in Nepal:

The family in Kapan are all OK and having to stay inside during the lockdown period. Throughout the country everything is closed down and this of course includes tourism which many of the Sherpa people are involved in.

Under the present circumstances, which look to be around for a very long time to come, I don’t know when I will be able to make a return visit to Nepal. I am continuing to collect good used clothing etc. as before so do please send anything you or your friends collect to me as usual.

I am also trying to raise funds to assist my Sherpa family, friends, and colleagues during this very difficult time when everything is closed down. I do realise it is the same difficult situation for everyone here in the UK also but, if I may, I would like to take this opportunity to ask if you are able to make a donation to help me with this, please make any cheques out to me and send to my address. You can also make a direct bank transfer as below.

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Bank Barclays – Hull Branch (King Edward Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1 3RL)
Account name: THE SHERPA VILLAGE FUND
Account Number: 40640468
Sort Code: 20-43-47
Account Number: 40640468

For your further info this account also accepts cheques in my name as well as the account name. _______________________________________________________________________________

Please send me an email with info of any bank transfer and note your name in the reference with the transfer.

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 if you require any further information, please contact Denis direct (email and phone details enclosed). You can Make a Difference.

Denis Gallagher
Nepal Trekking
June 2020