Friday, June 5, 2015

Nepal Earthquake

You can leave Nepal but Nepal never lease you. I first visited Kathmandu as a twenty-four-year-old backpacker traveling up from India. I used a notebook rather than a camera in those days. Here is my notebook entry for my first morning in Nepal.
Katmandu. December 9th 2001.  

This is where the streets wind and entwine in a crazy pattern lit by amber lanterns and lined by spit roasting wild boars faces alight with a final farewell grimace. The Nepali vendor smiles, knife poised in black ski gloves cuts a slice of the rotating meat, wraps it between newspaper and serves it to a stumbling passerby, the ear flaps on the customers hat acting as blinkers as he bites. The array of shops catering for adventure, mountain boots, sleeping bags, ski polls, heavy jackets, hats with flaps and cannabis resin. The hotel had a roof top garden where I eat a breakfast of toast and tea with a hint of lemon, scanning the hazy skyline, the eagles circle in the valley surmounted by the mighty Himalayan mountain range. Bicycle taxis in the streets below race through traffic, children scream and cheer, playing ballgames in the courts and gardens surrounding the temples. The Mountain air blows southerly from Tibet as pray bells ring out above a wireless radio humming and coughing static from the kitchen.

I visited again in 2008 and walked into the office of Thili Sherpa who rolled out the maps and named a price that was much lower than any other guides had quoted. He answered all my questions patiently and politely. In hindsight I was being over cautious and acted like a bit of a dick, but like all good strong Buddhists he was noble and honest and great fun as he guided My friend Stuart and myself through the mountains and jungle.

We stayed in touch ever since. Last year Thile asked if my family were ready to trek in Nepal. I explained that the youngest seven-year-old would probably tire quickly. "Don't worry, I will carry him," Thili said. The funny thing is, he meant it.

In April this year the first quake hit Nepal claiming the lives of almost nine thousand and injuring many more. The natural disaster has displaced over half a million people. When the second quake hit in the Dolakha region Thili asked for help. His family home had been destroyed.

I decided to start a fund to try and help. Thili would have done the same for me. We need to try and hit a modest target before wiring over some funds direct to the cause. I'm not a big fan of NGOs and the culture that has become so I'll be sending money raised straight to the guy I trust on the ground, Thile Sherpa.

First consideration is getting food and proper shelter for the children in the region and then trying to rebuild things to a semblance of how they once were.

I intend to host a series of events to give readings, performances, singings and book giveaways in Thailand to help this cause. Anyone that can come along, please do so, even if you don't wish to contribute, enjoy the music, literature and art. If you have a similar idea in another country, why not make it happen?

If you can't be present but wish to contribute in some other way please let me know by email, facebook or phone, or drop a message to this post.

Author David Philips has contributed his royalties from his book Battleship Run. I've put my ebook and audio book royalties into the pot so we have made a good start!

First event is called Night of Nepal and will be held at the checkinn99 on Sukhumvit Bangkok, between sois seven and five on the 14th June, 2015. It's a Sunday evening from 5pm, after the free jazz session.

The beat goes on.

James Newman.


toffeebar said...

Nice article James. I'm glad I could help out for this noble cause.

Spanking Pulp Manifesto. said...

Thanks, Toffeebar.
Your help is very much appreciated.

Spanking Pulp Manifesto. said...

Update from Thile. Thanks to our donations and the donations of others the school in his village is now complete. Thanks very much to those like you, Tofeebar, who contributed.

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