John Peel

Durango writer John Peel made the trek with Karma and company to Chyamtang this past October and shares some images and thoughts from his experience.



The children of Nepal were eager to see, watch, learn from, play with and touch us Americans. They are shy, to a point. But once you establish a bond, it's a very real one, and they are your friend. Here in Num, the end of the road, Abi Moore looks at a book with two village children. The kids certainly loved the younger members of our contingent, but they glommed on to anyone with a smile who would speak or play with them. We took a Frisbee with us on the trek, and it proved to be a great way to break the ice. You can see a game going on in the background of this photo. Each bond we made meant a richer experience for us.




We came to Chyamtang to rebuild this school, particularly the leaky roof. Although we realized quickly that it would take longer than we had, and that it really needed the villagers to buy into the project and do the bulk of the work, we were able to get the project started. And there are many more things to do. After community meetings, the villagers established a list of projects we can help with. It's a fascinating, welcoming place to spend a week. And check out the scenery ...




Before I went on the trek to Chyamtang in the fall of 2014, I wondered whether we really needed to help the people of the Bhotkhola (the name for the Bhote people of the Upper Arun River). They are a simple, happy people. Do they really need our help? I returned to the U.S. thinking they very much can use our aid, and this is why: Civilization is quickly coming their way, and they need to modernize and understand what's facing them in order to avoid getting run over by development. Right here on the Arun, a hydropower plant is about to be built. A road ends here now but a bridge will soon connect to a road well under construction on the other side. It leads to Chyamtang and will be there in a matter of a few years. We can help them preserve their land, their way of life and their culture. There is no time to wait.

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