Most travellers come here for the breath-taking scenery and challenging peaks (understatement!). But behind this lies a country in which 77% of the population live on less than £1 per day. Not many have electricity, and most communities who live in the mountains often face dangerous and exhausting journeys to fetch essential water.
Yesterday I arrived in Muralibanjyang (easy for you to say!) in the Dhading district. I’m here to film with wonderful Renewable World for the BBC Lifeline Appeal. Renewable World works together with the community to provide water-pumping for irrigation and drinking use. I saw the Hydraulic Ram Pump used to do this…
I love travelling, and I feel blessed to have been to so many different places. But I am often surprised by what I see. Arriving in Dhading yesterday was one of those moments. Mother Nature can be very cruel, and has numerous ways of making things difficult. In many countries, we have developed a way of dealing with what nature throws at us (although, as I left Heathrow in a couple of inches of snow – and my flight being one of the only ones to leave – I realised that we hadn’t quite mastered dealing with the white stuff in the UK yet!)
Frankly, we don’t often experience the extreme stuff back home, but it’s a different story here. And because of the climate in the mountainous regions of Nepal, the hardships faced by the people who are part of the statistics I mentioned at the top – really hit home. Precious time here seems to disappear doing things that most of us are used to doing at the turn of a tap, or a flick of a switch. Living in the foothills of the world’s highest mountain range is tough… a constant struggle.
From what I saw yesterday, Renewable World and their partners are improving these conditions. One remarkable woman I met yesterday, Sumina – a mother of three, with a husband who has been very poorly, explained the effect the water pump has had on her family’s life. Having water pumped to fields and her home, rather than spending a huge amount of time and effort collecting it means so much. She can provide a nutritious diet for her children. She can sell some of her produce in the local market, which in turn means she can afford to send the children to school (instead of them helping in the fields all day). And, she can grow her vegetables ALL year round.
We were given such a warm welcome… and the smiles on these faces was very humbling.
I will write again when I can. You can see all of this on BBC One on the 17th February.
Namaste for now!
Head over to Gethin’s website for more about the man himself and tune in to BBC One on 17th February to see the full 9 minute BBC Lifeline Appeal for Renewable World.