The Himalayan Glacier Rebuilding efforts began soon after the April Earthquake that hit Nepal this year. As we continue to support this rebuilding effort we also have volunteers, from our past travelers as well as new ones that help us by providing a helping hand to the people in the village of Ashrang in Gorkha district.
Today we focus on a volunteer who was among the first to join us as we began our volunteer initiative, Justin Osborne. He had previously taken a trip with us to Annapurna Base Camp in September of 2014. Our trekking leader has told us that even back then he and his dad were already talking about their next trip to Nepal.
That planned trip was not to be as the April earthquake saw a huge loss of life and many regions of Nepal devastated in the aftermath. Our previous travellers felt so strongly about helping in any way possible that we were inundated with requests to help. That was the start of our volunteer effort.
Justin was one of the firsts to arrive to step in as a volunteer. He arrived in Kathmandu on the 16th of August. During the drive to the hotel we had a conversation about what his trip entailed. He was taken aback to find that Kathmandu was a lot better than he had previously anticipated.
Justin visited Ashrang only a day after his arrival in Kathmandu. The following days would see Justin do just about everything to help. Our local volunteer representative told us that he wanted to do something new every single day. In the span of two weeks Justin helped in the construction of a local school which hadn’t reopened after the earthquake. The school would help educate 100 kids from Ashrang and nearby villages. While mixing concrete, he says, he actually picked a few tricks that only those skilled in the toil of construction are privy to. Along with literally setting the foundation stones he also helped local people build shelters that would protect them from the heavy downpour of the monsoon season. The incoming monsoon saw many villagers decide to stay in temporary shelters instead of rebuild. As many houses were damaged, materials from those would be used to build sturdy temporary shelters at least until the rainy season had passed, when they could finally build for the long term.Materials like wood and tin would be used as support along with natural rope to create a more sturdy structure capable of withstanding strong rain. Additionally, plastic and hay would be used to stop any water that does get through. With mud for an elevated base supported by ply wood or flat wood along with weaved carpet made from hay would minimize the cold embrace from the ground.
On my final conversation with him in his farewell dinner he told me that he even tried his hand at harvesting crops. His actual quote was “Once in a lifetime thing right”. Indeed, Justin.
As part of our ongoing rebuilding efforts we ask our volunteers to share their story about their time here. We have had many people that want to come to Nepal and others that have helped in many ways to strengthen our rebuilding efforts. Justin was one such volunteer. His previous trip to Nepal made him want to come here to help in any capacity he could.
Without the help from our volunteers, we couldn’t have made such a big impact in Ashrang. Currently we are helping in more ways than we started out. While we recognize the limitations of a short volunteer effort, we also understand that the small initiatives taken today by volunteers like Justin keep us moving forward inch by inch in our effort to help. We value our volunteers and part of that process is recognizing the dedication and efforts of the people who volunteer their time, effort and funds to support our efforts in giving back to a small community.
We hope that in the next few months, we will continue to receive your support as we have had from the very beginning. We also hope that in the coming years you get an opportunity to see how your initial efforts have led to something bigger.