Wandering: Nepal Will Rise Again
Our company's founders, Wendy and John, have just returned to Nepal for the first time since April. By chance they left Kathmandu the day before the earthquake hit.
Today, Kathmandu is alive and bustling with Nepalese but there are few tourists, foreigners only coming in the form of aid workers and reconstruction experts. The Nepalese are their usual warm and welcoming selves despite the extreme tragedies coming in the form of casualties, destruction and ecomonic loss.
There is an unmistakable feeling of sorrow and unease about Nepal. A sense of anger and frustration bubbles beneath the surface, particularly in the young men, with one stating, "we have gone back 10 years economically." For a country already reeling under long term political instability and lack of clear government, the earthquake and it's aftermath has been devastating.
One shop owner said "it's great to see an Aussie!" Most of the shops are closed or empty... in short, they need the tourists to come back! Historical sites and major tourist destinations like Durbar Square and Bhaktapur are in ruins, and while reconstruction and clean up is already happening, it is a long task. The damage was inflicted on poorly constructed and very old buildings and occurred mostly in the villages. Life goes on but it's really hard - many people John and Wendy spoke with said their families were safe but their homes were destroyed.
One of our suppliers had a few minor cracks in their small Nepalese style 4 storey building but otherwise no damage. The owners had to live in a tent with twenty other people for 6 weeks to make absolutely sure all was safe to return. Everyone wants to help with recovery but are searching for the right ways. One way that Wendy and John are helping is through initiating the rebuilding of a orphanage in a badly hit area. Suppliers, Prem and Sashi, want to collaborate on this and feel it is a good community project.
Wendy and John also met with the team from A Touch of Love charity, who will be visiting our Nepalese suppliers to ensure all who work there are doing well. Many of their workers come from the worst hit regions.
We know the Tree family will be happy to do what is possible to help Nepal. It's a daunting task but the Nepalese are a hardy and brave lot with a great sense of fun and family and we feel incredibly lucky to work with them. As the new tee shirt slogan in Kathmandu says....We will rise again!
Brightly decorated cycle rickshaw on the quiet streets of Kathmandu. Customers are few and far between.
Tibetan shop in Kathmandu brim full of interesting and beautiful Buddhist artefacts.
New Zealand girl who travelled to Kathmandu wanting to help out. We put her in touch with Wayne and Vicki from a Touch of Love.
Copper and brass pots and pans in a Kathmandu street shop. Love the lilac background!!
Shravan festival was being celebrated in Nepal. The women wear beautiful bright colours to honour their festival.
We were happy to see the jaunty fruit displays back on the streets. A welcome touch of colour and fun!
Sacred flowers on sale for pilgrims in Durbar Square. A brave splash of colour amongst the debris.
Women in the factory sorting garments.
Spinning the prayer wheel.
All pictures and text from Wendy. See more from her travels @zendala1