The expedition that left Barcelona in November has recently returned from Langtang and we had the chance to talk with them to see how everything had gone… Even though we were in contact and had been receiving news during almost the entire expedition we were very curious to find out their personal impressions and any problems that might have come their way. For us it is very important to receive the feed back of the people who have been to Langtang, to learn and continue improving the help that we can offer. Knowing what problems occurred from previous trips is essential to help improve future trips, especially for the upcoming humanitarian expeditions that contact us to help in Langtang.
As we explained in an earlier post, http://langtangdisaster.org/en/de-los-pirineos-al-himalaya/, “Dels Pirineus al’Himalaya” is a project developed by a group of 4 firefighters; a mountain guide, a doctor, a physiotherapist and a primary school teacher. They are called Pere, Jordi, Marc, Sergi, Alba, Sara, Montserrat and Jaume. Not forgetting Jesus, an independent volunteer who joined the aid team with his own contribution.
Personally I have always thought that firefighters have the spirit to help others, especially in catastrophic situations. It is not only a job, but it is something vocational that is born from the inside. I have also met some doctors who spend part of their vacation going to remote places to put their knowledge to the service of those who need it most. There are also many education projects the have begun with a teacher who initially visits an under developed part of the world as a volunteer and ends up falling in love with the place. With their knowledge and passion they give their all to improve the education and awareness of the people, knowing that education gives the locals the tools to transform their future, gives them awareness that there is something beyond the lives in which they currently live.
We have to thank all these people who feel the need to help others, and who decide to make their own way to where they are needed, to places as far away as Nepal.
The expedition team have told us that they have returned very satisfied because they were finally been able to fulfill all of their objectives and were even able to do more than they had originally thought. However it wasn’t easy and they were overcoming many problems that were emerging along the way.
The entire trip started with a contact, a call, a chat and eventually a plan was formed… From that point forward the following took place; all the actions to raise money, overcome logistical problems, auctions, sales of shirts, arrange interviews and organize lectures. The group invested a lot of time and effort to get together the €15000 that they took to Nepal, not including school supplies and some medical supplies.
The main problem in Nepal is that you go to a place where everything is different and you have to quickly become accustomed to how the Nepalese do things… You are a stranger and you do not know how things work, where to buy the materials, what exactly to buy and for whom, how to know that you are not ripped off in the shops, how to transport the materials to Langtang, where to stay, and a lot more details that are very stressful because they are out of your control. All the time you want to be sure that you are getting the most out of the money you have spent so much time and effort collecting in your country…
From Spain we helped with some of these problems by advising some of Langtang’s most needy families to make a list of their priorities. Later Gyalbu came down from Langtang with the list to meet with the expedition and with Nima (Pasang’s father) in Kathmandu and help them with shopping and transportation. Gyalbu owned a yak cheese factory in Kyangin Gumpa that was ruined after the earthquake, and thanks to the help of this team he can get back on track.
In Kathmandu the group spent 3 intense days that included; meetings to plan the shopping in Kathmandu, to haggle with the merchants, to plan the transport, etc… To add to all of this, during those days there were strikes, closed shops, and they had to obtain the permits to enter the Natural Park. In they end they went to Langtang with 1,000 kg of rice and lentils, mattresses, blankets, solar panels, tanks, pipes for hot showers, pots and cooking material etc…
It seems hard to believe that to buy solar panels or blankets for someone who lives in a cabin and does not yet have a home is really useful, however these are the type of materials that the locals need right now. From our point of view it makes sense to start the house with the roof… but once there, living with the locals, everything makes sense. Thanks to the donations of many people the Langtang Committee has been able to distribute a lot of building materials, however most villagers know they will not be able to build their houses yet… They have no money to pay workers and cannot afford to buy the materials that are needed. Until the time comes they must survive in their cabins or tents despite the hard winters and heavy rains that are common in the area.
After a day’s journey by road to Syapru Besi, there were still 2 days of mountain trails to hike to get to Langtang. Some villagers came down to transport their own materials but many of the locals are elderly so Gyalbu was in charge of hiring porters and donkeys to transport the remianing material up to Langtang. The expedition team also had to do their work as porters!
Once in Langtang the group went from house to house assessing the needs and distributing material to almost 70 families. In addition, Sara and Montse gave medical help and performed health checks in Langtang as well as in the villages they passed during the journey. On the way back down they visited schools to donate school supplies to the children. They distributed materials such as; notebooks, pens and crayons in the villages of Syapru Besi, Gatlang and Dhunche.
You can see a nice video in the following link: https://www.facebook.com/delspirineusalhimalaia/videos/1877204132565861/
The expedition team wants to especially thank the help of Gyalbu “Cheese factory” for their support and management of each situation, apart from the indispensable translation.
During aid work in remote locations you will always find yourself in difficult situations that you have to manage and improvise solutions, but in the end it gives you great satisfaction, since you have done it directly, without intermediaries, interacting directly with the people you are helping and seeing with your own eyes that the aid reaches the people most in need. This expedition was no different and this time the help came all the way from Barcelona to Langtang.
Once again it is clear that a small group with good intentions can achieve great things.
We thank you from the heart.
You can follow this adventure from the beginning on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/delspirineusalhimalaia/?fref=t
Thanks to the project “Dels Pirineus al Himalaya”, which continue to collaborate, are stilling selling T-shirts and may embark on a new project in the future.
Thanks to the project “Acción Sierra Nevada“, the team of mountaineers who were there in September and also distributed € 7,568.35 in material for the people of Langtang. You can see his adventure here: http://www.mamutsierranevada.com/spa/item/langtang_valley.html
Thanks to SOS HIMALAYA, Maria Climent, Kilian Jornet, Jordi Tosas…
Thanks to the “La Asociación Española Guardias Civiles Solidarios” who donated blankets and pressure cookers to the Langtang Committee and distributed more materials in the area.
And many thanks to all organizations and individuals who continue to help in a selfless way. http://langtangdisaster.org/es/proyectos/ayuda-directa-a-las-personas-de-langtang/viajes-solidarios/