Whilst it may well be very exciting to be going back to Everest I am very mindful of the events that unfolded 11 months ago and the devastating consequences that were dealt out that day for 000s of families in Nepal. Many of them are still out of their homes and living in tented or makeshift accommodation and the next monsoon is soon to be upon them.
Initially the word on the street was that no building work was to take place during the monsoon which in actual fact has sound reasoning behind it. However what could have perhaps been done during the monsoon was the delivery of building materials or the completing of paperwork. But, no, that didn't seem to happen either.
For many families who live in trekking areas there was no option but to start the work themselves otherwise when the season started they wouldn't be able to accommodate and / or feed the trekkers and get money coming in through the door. Unfortunately it would seem that once they had decided to undertake work themselves that they didn't then qualify for any government aid. Which is perverse. The fact that they felt that they had to build, using money borrowed from the bank, because the government hadn't put a system in place whereby families could be assessed as to what they were going to get is just a shocking travesty. Of course in many Western countries this would be labelled as an 'entitlement' whereas in Nepal it is more of a lottery as to whether a family will qualify or not.
But I digress.
I was in Nepal last November and in to December and it was very refreshing to see that so much had been done to mend the trails and to try and get back to normality (the aforementioned issues not withstanding). The general consensus was to move forward rather than dwell on the past and to try and make sure that future buildings were better prepared to withstand any future earthquakes. Obviously in a country where there is no building control or regulations this is only going to be proven if (when) there is another earthquake some time in the future. I hope for everyone's sake that things are now being built to a higher standard.
But ... for families who had lost loved ones there was no moving forward. There was no brightness on the horizon. There was only the past to be reckoned with and the losses were still very raw. That is the sort of wound that will take an eternity to heal and, indeed, for some will never mend.
Despite all that I was really pleased to be able to take £4,000 to Nepal from donations that had been made early on during my money raising venture last year (before the JustGiving page went live). This was given out to various families as a 'this is for food and clothing' gesture. The mothers were staring the future in the face and although they knew that help was on the way to pay for the schooling for their children they still needed money to clothe and feed the kids. So it was really great that, thanks to the generosity of so many people last year, we were able to ease that burden and take away another unknown.
The dialogue with the families has been quite difficult because they live in quite different areas and, in Kumar's family's case, speak a completely different dialect to the Nepali and Sherpa contacts that I have. But we are getting there and Hazel Grace (from Supporting Nepal's Children) has recently been to the village to meet and greet and chat with the family. The decision from this family is that, for the time being, the kids will stay at the local village school and be at home as a family.
I never wanted to impose any criteria on the families and say that they had to send the children to a particular school - that is not for me to decide. There are a whole host of cultural implications and nuances that I wouldn't be able to fathom no matter how good the interpreter was. Anyway the decision has been made and Debita (13yr old daughter), Hasta (9 yr old son), Jineta (7 yr old daughter) and Saman (3 yr old son) will all be going to Chheskam school which is about a 5 to 10 minute walk from where they live and I am delighted that they have made this decision.
Meanwhile the 2 children of Tenzing (Tashi and Phurpu) are enrolled to go to a boarding school in Kathmandu and are looking forward to starting there imminently. My Sirdar and good friend Kame has been instrumental in helping out with the arrangements in Kathmandu and has even sorted the downpayment of Rs48,380 out of his own pocket.
I am now sat in Doha International Airport with another £4,000 about my person which is for the school fees to get the kids started and on their way and there will also be a few more payments to a couple of other families who we are supporting.
After this round of cash payments things are being a bit more formalised and the JustGiving donations will be sent directly to SNC who give their time in the UK for free. They have appointed one member of staff in Nepal who is then in charge of making sure that there is no duplicity and that fees are paid as appropriate. He's a chap called Nyamgl who I worked with a few times when he was a Climbing Sherpa and I'm really glad that they have chosen him to be their man on the ground because he will be able to direct the ring fenced 'Tim Mosedale' fund to where it needs to go.
In total just shy of £60,000 has been donated and I just want you all to know that it makes such a HUGE difference. I know that a few people have heartily congratulated me on doing the crazy event and for 'raising all that money' but I purely saw myself as a conduit between donors and families in need. Yes I raised the bar to attract your attention in the first place (and it seemed to work) but it is you guys out there who donated who deserve the pat on the back.
And just a reminder that if you haven't seen it there is a short film that Matt Sharman made about the event which kind of tells the tale from beginning to end in a very succinct 30 minute sitting (it's at https://vimeo.com/145796571). Please have a look see and do continue to spread the word.
Many thanks - Tim