….wild is the wind…creative freedom is the seed….
“We are not using any any cement or steel to build in the Himalayan Village. I am using locally extracted stones and mud and wood. So exciting!” says Sherap Sherpa, the founder of Brabal Eco House Project.
I have known Sherap for years. I think at one point he gave me a ride on his motorbike from a Jazz club in downtown Kathmandu because there was a national strike on organised by the Maoist or the Royals or whoever, and all taxis were out. I remembered we were both really disgusted with the pollutions in Kathmandu. It caused so many health problems.
Nepal is a culturally rich country but the average population is still very limited in their access to many resources that we, in the west take for granted.
I remembered the shock I experienced when a Canadian friend from the World Health Organisation told me that she managed to cut infant & mother mortality rate by 74% up in some of the remote villages of the Himalayas by simply teaching everyone how to use a “birthing kit”. The so-called kit consisted of a bar of soap, a string and a sharp sterilised razor blade.
She explained,”It was just a simple case of teaching everyone to wash their hands with soap before helping with the birth, use the sterilised blade to cut the umbilical cord and use the string to tie up the belly button bits until it falls off naturally. The most important bit was to wash the mother and baby after! Just by doing that we got rid of some serious chance of infection and reduced the mortality rate by 74% in the region that year! The kit costs 74 cents each for us to give out!”
When Sherap talked to me about his Tamang cultural village, I was very interested in the idea of Sustainable Eco-tourism where tourists really learn something about local life by immersing themselves in the village. I considered this the opposite of Global tourism that often destroyed local culture!
Well a few years on, Sherap’s project, supported by Sustain-Able will begin building its first Bath-house in Brabal village, using Solar energy. I do not need to explain to anyone the importance of hygienic conditions for both locals & tourists. The important thing is to do it in a way that does not destroy local culture. There are many wonderful things about the Himalayas. But seriously, pollution and lack of hygiene are not the two things we should “preserve” as some sort of cultural relics. What we could do is to bring sustainable technology that can improve the Human Development Index of the area, while working with people who really know what the local culture is about!
So, I wish Brabal Eco House Project the best of luck and know that you have Sustain-able’s support. Let us know what we can do to help! We share the same visions. There is no reason to not work together to improve the planet, instead of raping & pillaging it via Globalisation!
This is Sherap’s description of the Project:
“Roughly 160km north of Kathmandu towards Tibet border, located perfectly in a serene peaceful environment within the Langtang National Park, Brabal is a small village with only 20 Tamang indigenous families. There’s no motorable road but a scenic two hours walk from the nearest road takes you here. Most people rely on farming potato, apple, wheat, cauliflower, corn and local vegetable. But it has a great tourism potential because the village lies on the ancient Tibet trading route and the popular Langtang Trek. Literacy rate is very low and a lot of youths have gone to the Middle East to work and earn a better living. And when they return, they stay in Kathmandu and hardly return to the village. So currently there are about 14 families and mostly elderly people.
Hygienic standard is very low among these people. But culturally this village is rich and the natural beauty is incomparable to any other surrounding villages or district. Although I didn’t grow up here but this is my father’s village. He was a respectable Buddhist monk who died in India when I was 15 and it took me roughly 3 years after his death to find my roots that’s in Brabal.
Now my project is to help make life better by bringing some facilities like public bathing place without disturbing the environment. I already brought The Mountain Institute to set up a small project to help develop a medicinal herb farm about 6 years ago. Now roughly 6 families are earning good amount of money through selling herbs.
Brabal could be developed as a home-stay destination to help local people earn and this is what I have tried for the last 3 years.
Information is available at http://www.visitlangtang.com/
I will keep updating you regularly. Thanks for your time and for being a member of Brabal Eco House Project. “
Cecilia is a Hong Kong Chinese-Australian Social Entreprneur, Artist, Directors of NGO in Africa, South Ameria, Asia and California who really really likes to "tell it how it is", having travelled to over 40 countries around the world & seen some interesting things every so often.
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