Two British teenagers are spending their time in a remote Nepali village for a good cause.
By Dinesh Wagle
You may think they should talk only about recent Hollywood flicks like Catch Me If You Can. They will do that too, because they have just finished reading the book on that title (they have no time to go to the theater and one of them says the story “is boring”). And when they start talking about providing good education to poor, you may think like “what these ‘kids’ are talking about?” But when you see what these teenagers are doing in a remote village of Rasuwa District to poor school children and their school, you won’t be surprised.
At the moment, James Gould (left) and Martin Baker, both 19, are busy helping upgrade the facilities in a public primary school in Kanjm, Bridim VDC. These guys first time came in Nepal in July 2001 as the members of World Challenge Organization Expedition, a school program that sends students of 16-18 year age group go to different countries to experience the local culture and tradition. They made a toilet in Rasuwa. On the way to the Gosaikunda trek, they came to know that their tour guide Dame Tamang was planning to open a school in Syabru Bensi, the starting point of popular Langtang trek. They promised him to help. After returning to England, they created “The Nepali and Welsh Joint Education Foundation” of which James is the Chairman and Martin is the treasurer, and started raising funds for the noble purpose.
Excited after receiving some money from various sources including prestigious Cardiff High School, both boys came back to Nuwakot three months ago. After talking with locals and evaluating the situation, they decided to add facilities in an already established government primary school then making a new one. “At least government school have buildings and they are already giving education to students”, says James. “Our principal is to work with government schools wherever possible.” Now, the Bridim Primary School, for the first time, has new good benches, a toilet is constructed on its premises, and children are provided with uniforms. There are 25 students and one teacher in the school currently. Both James and Martin volunteered as teachers for some weeks. Continue reading
Stan, Anu and I played cards on the way after we were ‘trapped’ in a hotel by rainfall. The game called “Ass Hole” was interesting. Most of the time, Stan was the AH (sorry to write this, Stan!) where as Anu was President. I challenged Stan for the post of AH frequently and won! (not so happy moment for me!) On the way, we discussed world politics, Nepal’s “People’s war”, and about Information Technology- like why Hotmail was limiting it’s facilities to users, why Yahoo is still good for emails, why the inventor of junk mail filter will be millionaire instantly, and why Google and Froogle are becoming immensely popular day by day. Yes, we cracked some jokes too. Continue reading
That was a high time of our surprise when two (of the four) Israelis came with their flashlights at about 8:20 in the night. That was ‘insane’! One guy was carrying another’s bag. We had left them in Gosaikunda in the morning. Their story goes like this: These two guys left their other two friends (a couple- Israeli boy and an American girl who met in Miami and fell in love) at Phedi (actually this is the place just half an hour away from the Ghopte Bhir (steep) where the ill fated plane crash-landed), about 2 hours away from Ghopte lodges. The girl ’suffered from hypothermia at the pass’ and was unable to walk. Worst, these boys, who were leading the trail, were walking on the wrong way. Luckily (?) they sensed they were talking the wrong route only after an hours walk. Then what they did was like this: they directly descended via steep area without any route. One problem after another was following them. Continue reading
Dinesh Wagle and Gosaikunda lake
After crossing the pass, Dutch were out of sight, and we were slowly descending. Tired of walking on the snow, we were just, we were just going down, without uttering a single world. Suddenly a man appeared a little bit up. He was literally running, he was getting down with bang, bang, bang…We thought, one of the Israeli from another group was that guy. No, we were proved wrong. This Guy turned out to be an American ‘wanderer’ called Stan James. Because of his simple and humorous personality, Stan and we were quickly opening up to each other. The infamous place called Ghopte where a Thai airline plane crashed a decade ago was our destination of the day. The guessing game started. I was saying Ghopte was some three corners away; Anu’s guess was about seven. Stan was with Anu. I was wrong. Even she was wrong! But Ghopte came, at last, as a pleasant surprise to us. There were only two lodges and we were soon eating chapatti in one of them. We talked about books, trails to be taken in the next few days, (Stan’s hometown) Colorado mountains etc.
Note: To get an American perspective of Langtang-Gosaikunda trek, go to Stan’s website, and read a fascinating travel detail.
Dinesh Wagle at the Gosaikunda Pass. On his back below is the magnificent lake Gosaikunda
Crossing over the Gosaikunda pass (4600m) in the morning was an exhilarating experience. The wind last night was so strong that it almost blew away the hotel room I was staying in. A plank on the roof had been shifted from its original position. This Gosaikunda pass is generally considered easier to cross. But we thought last night’s snow would make trek difficult. Thankfully it wasn’t that difficult. We walked over the fresh snow. Some Dutch people with few porters and guides were already ahead of us. They were ‘exploring’ & leading the trail. We were simply following their footsteps which was good as that significantly reduced the possibility of us getting lost. I scribbled my name on so many places that, in the beginning, my companion seemed annoyed by my ‘behavior’. Soon she started following me by writing her name on the snow with her cane. We saw at least four lakes on the pass. They were all completely frozen. I have heard that there are numerous lakes all over the area. It was exciting to see so many lakes at the height of 4600 meters. Later in the evening, I wondered about spending a day or two right there at the pass.
Dinesh Wagle crosses the Gosaikunda Pass. On his back is the magnificent lake Gosaikunda