Nepal is one amazing country. In 1997 my wife Kylie and I spent six months living in and falling in love with Nepal. The time we spent at the foothills of the Himalayas was both the greatest and worst six months of our lives. Living in Nepal was not easy and came with all sorts of challenges such as permanent diarrhea, living in a single room that was a converted storage area, major communication issues, the smell of the weeing wall at the bus stop, having five people squished onto a bus seat made for two and continual snorting of mucus from people’s nostrils right onto the walkway.
By the end of the six months the ever changing government decided to NOT renew any visas and we were forced to leave. At the time we were convinced we had to get out and really wanted to get away from all the uncomfortable things. Getting on the plane out we were delighted, however the moment we landed in Bangkok all we wanted to do was go back. I have wanted to go back ever since but have never made it.
It was the people of Nepal that we both missed the most – the smiles of the people who had so little. We missed the family who had three generations (8 people) living in a two room mud house who insisted we visit them. We were only able to communicate with the 8 year boy who spoke some English. That family literally had nothing, but they cooked us two fried eggs and insisted we eat them while they watched. This was one of those moments where we knew if we ate the eggs we would get sick for days – but who can refuse that amazing generosity?! We ate the eggs with joy and headed straight for the pharmacy.
One of my stand-out memories was a bus ride we took on our way to hike a mountain to visit a Buddhist temple (the name of which completely escapes me). The bus was full – but no bus driver will turn down a fare. We were rapidly ushered onto the roof of the bus to sit on the roof rack. It was no surprise to find three goats and some chickens already perched up top between the rails. We took great care to watch for low hanging power lines and more than once had to lie flat to avoid being swept off. So much for seat belts, safety rules and possible litigation!
Life was very different to what we were used to, growing up in suburban Australia. Families were extended, women worked the fields, men held hands, cows were sacred and they freely roamed the busy intersections. Oh and we ate rice and lentils (Dahl Baht) more times than I can remember. Despite our major differences, the people living in Nepal were happy. Happy with what they had and happy without the things they did not.
When I left Nepal I had significantly changed the way that I thought the western world should engage with the third world. We absolutely needed to assist with health issues, but I felt it was wrong to try and westernize happy people. We needed to provide them with opportunities but not to change them into something they were not. They did not need changing.
The devastating earthquake of last week is an absolute tragedy for the poorest country on earth. I cannot even start to imagine the pain from massive loss of life. Immediate needs such as shelter, food, water and medicine are enormous. The ongoing struggle to get life back to normal will take many years. There are many people on the ground in Nepal who are positioned to help immediately as well as in the ongoing rebuilding effort.
Inaction is not an option for me this time around. I am not someone who jumps on the charity bandwagon often but in this case the need of the Nepali people is very real to me. I have walked the streets that I now see on CNN reports. I have eaten amazingly spicy food with the people that are suffering. Kylie taught children that are now likely living in downtown Kathmandu – we hope they are safe.
When I was in Nepal we worked with a charity knows as ADRA Nepal (http://www.adranepal.org/) which is connected with ADRA globally (https://adra.org/). I know for a fact that this organization does a great job for the people in Nepal. I will be connecting directly with the ADRA Nepal leaders to ensure that we can help in the most efficient way and in the areas of most need.
eOne Solutions is going to start the ball rolling with an immediate $5,000 donation to the earthquake relief efforts. I am encouraging ALL other businesses in the Microsoft Dynamics Community to also jump on board and contribute to the needs of the people of Nepal. The Nepali people need our help right now. For any business that is in a position to help – I request that you join me and eOne Solutions in doing so.
While every contribution helps – I am not looking for $20 donations. So if you own a Microsoft Dynamics business then I ask you to dig deep and help those that need help. Find $500, find $1000 or match eOne’s $5000 contribution and lets see if we can make a major difference in the lives of the people who really need our help right now. There are many charities from Care to World Vision that are helping and I am sure they all will do an awesome job.