Yesterday I was scheduled to fly into Kathmandu and start a 24 day cycle tour from Lhasa back to Kathmandu. Instead, I spent the day sorting through the paperwork and multitude of decisions around our home repairs as the earthquake rebuild finally took place.
Yesterday up to 8 million Nepalese faced life on day 8 since their devastating earthquake on April 25th. The death toll has now reached 7,000 and the view is that fate of many many others will never known to the wider world. Like Christchurch and its earthquake recovery, Nepal faces many years of rebuild, while its citizens struggle through the adversity of the aftermath.
My inconvenience is a very first world issue. In Nepal the stark reality of rebuilding is very evident. Our experience in Christchurch is that there is a need for the immediate focus to be on the welfare of those caught up in the disaster before slowly the process begins on the clean up and the rebuild. This rebuild will take clear planning and resources, and given Nepal is one of the worlds poorest countries, those resources will need to largely come from outside.
What Nepal desperately needs however is for the travellers of the world to not turn their back on the country, but rather, to begin their planning to return to Nepal starting from the post monsoon period this year. For travellers to stay away will inflict a double whammy as businesses need the trade in order to rebuild and survive. That was the clear lesson from our experience in Christchurch.
My commitment has been to reschedule for the Tibet cycle tour in September. My flight has been rescheduled to give me a week in Kathmandu where I will find a community rebuild project to join and provide a small token towards the rebuild. Here in New Zealand, Adventure South will ask clients to make a voluntary $25 donation on any trip they book with us, and our company will match that, effectively leveraging the donation by 100%.
The rebuild of Nepal will be done brick by brick. Providing the country the resources to do so will be something the world’s travel community can participate in, largely without any inconvenience to themselves, while continuing to explore one of the worlds unique destinations.
Tibet Cycle – Base camp Mt Everest