The stress of trying to reorganise a three-month trip, eight months in the making, pales into insignificance when compared with the strains of those forced to face the fury of a still rumbling earth as the threat of disease and starvation now cast an even darker shadow across an already scorched land. It seems ridiculous for them to even share space in the same sentence.
The plan was to pen this note as an invitation to follow a blog, a journey, an adventure across a sacred, seductive nation nestled in the shadow of the world’s mightiest peaks. A land of hospitality, they say, like no other. A land of tigers, of trails and of temples. Now tragically a land of tears: Nepal, the birthplace of the Buddha.
That was the plan. And so the plan remained, defiantly. Perhaps we could be of assistance? We can’t, we are told. Not at ground level. The untrained, no matter how well-meaning, get in the way. Regarding the clean-up, I am informed by Oxfam that it is important for locals to take a leading role. Employed on a ‘cash for work’ program they earn a small income which helps restart the economy and enables them “to regain a feeling of control”. Tourist dollars will be necessary to rebuild this fractured nation, but not while it mourns. Not while its citizens bury their dead. The people need food. They need water. They need shelter. Nepal needs aid.
The first leg of our adventure was to be a march to Everest base camp. Villages along the Himalayan route now lie in ruins. Our guide-to-be has lost his home. Thankfully, his family is safe. His youngest child is just one. They are now living in a tent. Tours in the region are cancelled for the coming months.
So dear readers, you are still invited on a journey, but at the time of writing, I’m just not sure where. For now, our hearts must remain with Nepal. To a nation that will be forever, intrinsically intertwined with ours. The nation with whom we first climbed to the roof of the world. Dig deep please, and donate.
Follow Jamie’s journey on his blog