Nepal March 21st to April 20th 2012 Jan Laan
March 21st i took a taxi to airport Schiphol. Luckily I left home early because there was an unexpected trafiic jam. At the airport I used my E-ticket to check in. My luggage was too big a size and it had to be weight seperately. Unfortunately I had 4 kg overweight so I had to pay 75 euro. They didn’t check on the weight for my handluggage as it was 17 kg as only 12 kg is allowed. In 7 hours time I flew with KLM from Amsterdam to Delhi with a big plane. I had a seat next to the exit so I had plenty of space to stretch my legs. In Delhi I had to wait for transfer to Kathmandu for 8 hours which was not that bad at all. Then a short flight with Jet Airways to Kathmandu in 1,5 hour.
Nicely on time I arrive at the airport of Kathmandu where I quickly arrange my visa and pass customs as first person. Taxi is already waiting for me and within 20 minutes I arrive at my hotel. I quickly unpacked all, including the 2 pieces of luggage that I leave at the hotel.
With a letter of Nepal Pariwar I go to Nepal Netra Jyothi Sang. This is an organization that works for blind people and sets up low-vision programs in Nepal. I handed over the letter of recommendation for free treatment for blind people by this organisation which enables us to get free check-ups for blind in the future. It seemed that Nepal Pariwar Nepal (NPN) could get a lot of books for blind people for free, for example Harry Potter-books. Later on I passed this information on to the board of NPN.
On my way back to the hotel I bought a harmonium, 2 madals and 4 flutes for the trainingcentre at Chitwan. I also bought some DVD’s for the library at Ulleri.
Next day I could get a free ride by Toyota minivan to Pokhara which I gladly accepted although it was one day in advance of my schedule. Even with a minivan it takes 6 hours but now I had no problem getting all the luggage transported. At hotel Crown Himalaya they were surprised to see me as they didn’t expect me until next day. They took all luggage to my room. It looked like I was ready to start my own shop…
At Pokhara I bought some children books, encyclopedia and dictionaries. I also bought some carpet and later on some benches. I was happy to have a large room.
I went to visit ACAP for a free visum. I showed them the plastified flyer with regard to collecting empty batteries (thank you Raymund!). They were happy with it and again I explained the importance of it.
I also told them we are going to start another safe drinking water project. They were thrilled about that and wanted to participate. I told them that was fine. Nepal Pariwar pays 2.700 euro but we need solar panels. If ACAP pays 800 euro we will pay the other 400 that is needed. ACAP agreed but said the money was only available next year. I told them that was no problem as Nepalese New Year is on April 13th (year 2069) so after that date the money should be handed over to Ulleri. That was great news. The costs related to finding and furnishing a building, a big watertank, buying extra bottles and taps, that all is for the Ulleri community to contribute themselves.
Going into the mountains
After having visited some friends I left early by taxi at 6,15 next day. Packed with all luggage on my way to Birethanti. The road to Birethanti has improved a lot compared with last year november. So at 7.45, after having passed the new bridge at Birethanti, I was pleasantly surprised to see 2 ladies from Ulleri-library and 2 porters from Ulleri waiting for me. There was also a porter from Ghorepani. Excellent arranged by Binu (nurse of Ghorepani) and Gun Pun (chairman Ulleri).
Planning for today is to walk straight through to Ghorepani and have a quick stop at Thirkedunga to hand over some flyers to the hotels with regard to the damage empty batteries can cause to nature. Punctual as always Tak from Ghorepani was waiting there for me with his 2 horses. Half an hour ahead of schedule Tak left on his horse up those steep steps to Ulleri as walking is becoming too tiring. He is not getting any younger… After a while I left steadily and relaxed while my porter was holding the horse at the reins, up the steep stairs up to Ulleri, gently guiding his horse best way up.
Halfway I had a pitstop at the Super View Lodge in Ulleri. I stayed there overnight many times before on my way to Ghorepani. I told them I would return within 2 days to have a little party…
Continouing my route to Ghorepani I stayed on the horse despite some very steep descending stairs. The trick is to lean backwards all the way. Quite a thrilling ride!
Projects at Ulleri
March 28th I leave Ghorepani with a tika and some mala’s, walking quite relaxed with a porter on my way to Ulleri. It is just a short track for the porter as he usually brings my luggage to Thirkedunga. But this time I stay overnight at Ulleri. On my way to Ulleri I handed over the flyer at several small villages regarding the empty batteries. So far I have collected 6 kg of empty batteries! Luckily for me it was carried by my porter. Pretty soon I arrive at Banthanti were the safe drinking water project is being realised. Further down I see Ulleri and I hear sound coming out of the public speakers. As there is nothing to see at the school in Ulleri I didn’t think it was meant for me. So arriving at Ulleri I drink some cola and water and I am changing clothes quickly as I am expected at the community centre.
Nearby the library and school there is a communitycentre where ACAP was giving a presentation about the poaching of animals such as rhino’s, tigers and birds. I was led to a special place where I watched part of the presentation. It was very impressive and also sad to look at tigerskin and to see how they slaughter rhino’s for it’s ivory horn. That is still used in medicine and seen as an afrodidisiac in countries like Vietnam and China.
When the presentation was done, it was my ‘turn’…