Visit to Nepal - 2018
In March of this year, Kristin Ross (project founder), along with her mother, Janet Shively, and two 15 year old young women: daughter Mairianna Ross and friend Keeley Shipley, travelled to Nepal to observe and assess the situation in Thakani. It was Kristin’s first trip back in 19 years, and the first trip to Nepal for the others.
Upon returning to the village, almost three years after the catastrophic 2015 earthquake, Kristin found the devastation heartbreaking; all the houses were gone and people were living, still, in sheet metal shacks. (Fortunately, as a result of huge international aid efforts, a beautiful new school had been built; the reconstruction of houses was at that time just beginning.)
With the villagers gathered at the school, we were enthusiastically and warmly greeted by lines of school children bestowing armfuls of flowers and traditional honour garlands.
Kristin being greeted outside new school in Thakani
When Kristin and her fellow travelers arrived in the village, after a two day trek up the mountains, a very moving reception by the people of Thakani vividly demonstrated their tremendous gratitude for the continued support of the Himalayan School Project. y.
Preparing dinner for guests in Thakani home
Mairianna Ross and Keeley Shipley
Volunteering in village school - March 2018
Our stay in the village was a humbling and awe-inspiring first-hand experience of the fortitude, ingenuity, wisdom, grace, generosity and hope of these remarkable people. We lived with them in a corrugated steel shed, too low to stand up in; shared their simple meals seated on a dirt floor around the open fire in a one room home; volunteered in the school, did our laundry, washed, and collected drinking water with them at the one source of water for the village: a black plastic pipe running from higher up the mountain, with the narrow stream from its end providing for all the people and animals of Thakani – when it wasn’t being diverted by another village above. The children were delighted to see us here and always stopped by to chat, using the opportunity to practice their school English.
Keeley and school children
Update on 2015 Earthquake
Nepal earthquake killed nearly 9,000 people and injured nearly 22,000
In April of 2015 we were devastated to learn that the Sindhupalchok District, the location of the village of Thakani, was the district that suffered the highest per capita death toll in Nepal as a result of the April 2015 earthquake.
The school in Thakani, which we helped to construct and have supported for the past 15 years with the assistance of many generous friends of the Himalayan School Project, was destroyed along with the rest of the village. Five people were killed, including the wife and son of the family with whom Kristin and Scott lived while in Nepal in 2001.
The Himalayan School Project and the people of Thakani extend their heartfelt appreciation to all those caring people who opened their hearts to the villagers in this remote region of the earth. The Himalayan School Project, through generous contributions from family, friends and supporters, raised money for resources that were sent directly to village leaders as they worked towards stabilizing the village. This substantially hastened the relief process and focused aid where it was most needed. We were able to to assist with providing food, tarps for shelter, emergency medical supplies, and establishing a general building fund.
A family tries to recover some belongings from their collapsed home in Sindhupalchowk district, Nepal. Photograph: Ishwar Rauniyar/Ishwar Rauniyar
First food aid delivered to Thakani - May 2, 2018
Photo and delivery courtesy of Gelu Sherpa
When we visited the village in March of 2018, almost exactly three years after the earthquake, people were still living in temporary shelters, although a lovely new school has been built through International Aid organizations. The water supply in the village remains completely inadequate and unsafe (one plastic pipe emptying into a ditch in the middle of the village). Although washrooms and sinks have been built for the school (the only ones in the village), they are not functional because they are not connected to water.
Villagers packing food aid up the mountain to the village
Typical post-earthquake dwelling
3 years later (2018)
Typical post earthquake dwelling in Thakani
Village woman chipping stone for use in construction of new dwellings - 2018
Beginnings of new earthquake-proof house construction - March 2018