NOVEMBER 2013

White Flow Nepal

Thirty minutes, that is all it took to depart from Lukla, the trails and mountains of the Himalayas replaced by the noise and frantic activity of Kathmandu.

To say that theEverest Trail Race had been an experience would be an underestimation. I have been extremely fortunate to travel to some beautiful places and follow some incredible races in the past couple of years, but the ETR, Nepal and the visual splendor of Everest and its sister peaks was a joy to behold.

As a photographer (amongst other things), Nepal was always going to tick several boxes on so many levels. I love to see culture, people and the life of a place unfold before my eyes and if I get things right, I hope to capture that in images. The diversity of the region; noise, congestion, and the buzz of Kathmandu, to the open trails and the simple pleasures of the Khumbu region was an experience that I will take with me forever.

I will return to Nepal but it will be different next time. It will never be like the first time, the first time is unique.

As we landed in Kathmandu, runners and staff from the ETR started to say, ‘it’s over’. I couldn’t disagree more. We had a day and a half before our respective journey’s home and in that time I wanted to make the most of what was on offer.

A trip down Tamil Street to experience the banter, buzz and shopping experiences of a Bazaar is always a great experience. Here in Kathmandu it was no different. Like a step back in time, I bantered and bargained for the ‘best’ price on presents and souvenirs for loved ones at home.
The final day arrived. It’s a very definite thing the word ‘final’. I wanted to ensure that my final day was the start of something else and to that end I was elated to be involved inWhite Flow Nepal.

Fernanda, following on from her White Flow Brazil project decided to utilize her free time in Nepal and in conjunction with the *‘Mountaineers for Himalayas Foundation’ (www.mount4him.org), Fernanda created White Flow Nepal with a primary aim to help the children at Kalaish Children’s Home.

The Kailash Hostel (www.hfy-us.org) is operated by the Himalayan Children’s Foundation. The ‘HCF’ is a Nepali charity organization who provides education and care to underprivileged children. Currently, 92-children are homed at Kalaish.

Evicted from three rental buildings, the children at Kalaish have been provided with a home due to donations and charitable endeavors. These donations allowed HCF to build a completely new hostel consisting of three buildings, a dining/administration room, boy’s dorm and girls dorm. Located in the quiet valley of Gorkarna just outside the center of Kathmandu, they have created a secure and stable environment for the children. The buildings were inaugurated by the US Ambassador to Nepal in 2007.

Education, healthcare, extra-curricular activities, a vegetable garden, music, dance, swimming, and mountaineering all provided to the children who come from the remotest parts of mountain villages in Nepal with an emphasis placed on children from the Tibetan border region. The main reason for this has been the lack of facilities on offer for the children in these remote areas. For example, the nearest school was a three to four hours walk away. Children are accepted from 5-7 years old and are cared for until they graduate. It’s an incredibly warm, welcoming and happy environment.
Fernanda wanted to provide some assistance, no matter how small. So armed with bags of clothes and with assistance from Overstims, Compressport and The North Face,Fernanda provided essential items to help facilitate the day-to day experiences of the children of Kalaish Children’s Home.

It was quite an experience! The joy, the laughter, the cheers and most importantly, the smiles, made every step of this run a wonderful step to something more positive. I could see a bigger picture and after all I had experienced in the past 12 to 13 days I could see it all making sense in this final journey. We were doing something very small that was making and creating a massive impact.