Philanthropy

A Prayer for Nepal.

NamasteThree years ago, almost to the day, I was in Nepal. I had traveled there from China, where I’d been visiting Heifer projects, and was supposed to have stopped in Tibet but sadly, I couldn’t get a visa from the Chinese overlords and ended up with five extra days in Kathmandu. kath2To say Kathmandu is an overload for the senses in a vast understatement, particularly since I’d been used to staying in the rural countryside where Heifer projects abound, (and you can’t buy much besides food or hay). But in Kathmandu, there is no end to all the things you could possibly wish to purchase.super cuteSo I walked the endless, crazy streets pockmarked with construction and packed with shops and people….

thread vendor

vendor

rickshaw….visited the holy sites…

The eyes of the Buddha

architecture

krishna…and tried to drink in everything around me.everest-beer-portraitIt wasn’t until I got to the countryside, though, that I felt as if I were really experiencing Nepal. Just getting there was fairly arduous as the steepness of the terrain and vastness of the Himalayas quickly overtake you.

steep

landlocked

girl

Himalayas above the cloudsIt’s almost impossible to imagine people trying to farm here, and yet they do.

Tirtha & Mitha with their water harvest, greenhouses below and new plants.

With a grace, spirit and resilience that is something to behold.

Goma & Saraswoti Mishra, president of WGCC

laughing

Mithu Namaste

wowYesterday, Nepal was hit by the worst earthquake in almost 80 years, with 3,700 already known dead — and I’m beyond worried about the people I met in these villages and in Kathmandu, all the Heifer Nepalese folks working in these projects, and the animals themselves, who  live in even more precariously built structures than the farmers.

at risk


Som & goat

I know we are going to hear a lot about the 17 western climbers who perished on Everest, but I’d like to leave you with some photos of the people of Nepal who are at the heart of this crisis.

Sisterhood is powerful.

baby namaste

Thuli Maya Lama

Shiva Lal Chepang, teacher extraordinaire.

beautiful kids

Who they're fighting for...

Krishna's Mother in Law

Neither does he...

determined

And here is where you can give if you’re so moved: Heifer Nepal Rehabilitation Fund.

Namaste.

Categories: Agriculture, Animals, Disaster, Heifer International, Nepal, Philanthropy, Photography, Poverty, Travel, Women | Tags: , , , , , | 24 Comments

Re-Namaste Nepal!

sun doors After the rather cold, gray monotony of China’s cities, going to Nepal was like stumbling out into a blaze of riotous sunshine.storefrontI was pretty cranky that I didn’t get to make my planned trip to Tibet (no way is China giving a visa to a western blogger), but it’s hard to hold onto a grudge in Kathmandu. doorBecause of its decades of tourism with trekkers, Kathmandu can seem almost western in its food, shopping and pursuits of pleasure, but right outside the city (and even inside) the essential Nepal comes clearly into view. street lifeFrom the indomitable women who have been working Heifer International programs for the last 25 years and bringing entire communities of powerless wives into economic security…new water buffaloTo the caste system of untouchables who are likewise being included in Heifer projects and given a chance to succeed…

Beautiful Chepang girl, from an untouchable caste.

Beautiful Chepang girl, from an untouchable caste.

To the Hindu temples where cremations take place along the river (with biers divided along caste lines– even after death)..

A fancy sandalwood bier for the Brahmin class

A fancy sandalwood bier for the Brahmin class only.

..and milk is poured down in sacrifice to one of the 44,000 gods.milkNepal boasts all the majesty and mystery of the Himalayans hovering in the distance…

Yup, that's Everest!

Yup, that’s Everest!

…but still struggles with poverty, hunger, a chaotic communist regime, and a highly stratified society. Chepang childAnd yet, Nepal is one of the most lovely, likeable, unforgettable countries I visited.fish pond

A Heifer veterinarian

A Heifer veterinarian

beauty2

Rice fieldI want to go back: to walk the Annapurna circuit, to meet more of the women who so inspired me…

A woman in the cooperative at Shaktikor.

A woman in the cooperative at Shatkikohr.

…and to see more of the work Heifer is doing in this intriguing country.

That's some heifer!

That’s some heifer!

Plus, there are a few folks I need to say Namaste to. covered smileFor more Nepal & more Namaste, click on the posts below:

https://heifer12x12.com/2012/05/29/a-new-namaste/

https://heifer12x12.com/2012/05/26/what-i-ate-in-nepal/

https://heifer12x12.com/2012/05/24/she-works-hard-for-the-money-less/

https://heifer12x12.com/2012/05/21/caste-ing-a-stone-against-prejudice/

https://heifer12x12.com/2012/05/18/goat-ed-into-greatness/

https://heifer12x12.com/2012/05/16/divine-peaks-intransigent-maoists-or-welcome-to-nepal/

Categories: Animals, Heifer International, Hunger, Nepal, Philanthropy, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Deep Thoughts About Peru…

thinker

Fourteen years ago, I went to Peru, visited Machu Picchu, Cusco and Lima, and figured I’d seen the country.

Machu Pichu

Machu Picchu… check!

Last year, going back to Peru with Heifer, I realized what a boneheaded assumption that was. For one thing, the country has changed radically since 1999. Lima’s population is now approaching 9 million and the city is far more glamorous and glittery than it was back then, although the slums on the outskirts of Lima stretch for miles and are truly grim.

RivasMoney photo from Wikipedia.

RivasMoney photo from Wikipedia.

Despite the country’s huge economic advances (no Latin American or Caribbean economy grew faster than Peru’s from 2001 to 2011) over 30% of Peruvians are still poor — and the struggle to survive is concentrated in the sierra (highlands) and the selva (Amazonian jungle) where Heifer works.Coming up to Chillcapata

While Peru is beautiful in almost every conceivable way…

Gorgeous Lake Titicaca

Gorgeous Lake Titicaca

…this country twice the size of Texas is packed with copper, gold and zinc, ripe for mining. And its climate poses a bit of an agricultural challenge, to say the least.andres

In the sierra, it’s difficult to raise much of anything except potatoes…

A million hours of work to create an arable plot of land.

A million hours of work went into building terraces to create arable land at 10,000 feet.

….and just about the only animals that can survive the altitude and cold are sturdy llama and alpaca.On the road to Chillcapata

The people who live in the highlands, where I spent most of my time wheezing for breath at 8-12,000 feet, are mostly indigenous and are now embroiled in an epic battle to save their beloved mountains from rapacious mining interests (that also threaten to destroy the jungles).

Pasco City is right on top of this ugly open mine.

Pasco City is right on top of this ugly open mine.

They are hard-working, proud, creative and fiercely independent people. chillcapata mama

…and I have so much respect for Heifer working with those communities to help them make a living on the land.

17-year old Rebecca Yanac keeps the breeding records for the family's alpaca herd.

17-year old Rebecca Yanac keeps the breeding records for her family’s alpaca herd.

I usually never like to go back anyplace (there are too many new places to see) but I reckon I’ll be going back to Peru soon. mom & baby

For one thing, I’ve got a new god-daughter there.

Leidy Melisa Arpasi Calle (before I cut her braids & became her godmother)

Leidy Melisa Arpasi Calle (before I cut her braids & became her godmother)

And I’ve got some other important people I need to check on, too.little oneTo read my previous blogs on Peru (including explicit alpaca lovemaking– and the story of my new god-daughter) check these links:

https://heifer12x12.com/2012/03/29/bienvenidos-a-peru/

https://heifer12x12.com/2012/03/30/just-sitting-around-knitting-and-changing-the-world/

https://heifer12x12.com/2012/04/02/showered-with-flowers/

https://heifer12x12.com/2012/04/04/my-cinderella-story/

https://heifer12x12.com/2012/04/09/edith-piaf-in-the-andes/

https://heifer12x12.com/2012/04/12/what-i-ate-in-peru/

https://heifer12x12.com/2012/04/15/feeling-the-love-in-yanacancha/

https://heifer12x12.com/2012/04/18/a-fiber-primer-for-yarnheads-2/

https://heifer12x12.com/2012/04/20/guinea-pigs-not-just-for-breakfast-anymore/

https://heifer12x12.com/2012/04/23/ive-got-friends-in-high-places/

https://heifer12x12.com/2012/04/26/never-can-say-goodbye/crafts

Categories: Heifer International, Peru, Philanthropy, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Guatemala Re-Mix.

Beautiful Lake Atitlan

Beautiful, mesmerizing Lake Atitlan

  I’ve been feeling really bad about leaving my Heifer blog behind and abandoning all my new followers –love you guys!! — who haven’t been getting any new posts from me.

I met these organic foodies in Quilinco, a lovely town north of Huehuetenago. What cuties!

I met these organic foodies in Quilinco, a little mountain town north of Huehuetenango.

So I’ve decided to go back and do a little remix of photos & stories from each of the countries I visited last year…. starting with lovely Guatemala.church

It's hard work picking cabbages, and takes a family to do it.

It’s hard work picking cabbages and takes the whole family to do it.

Juan, a cauliflower farmer and father of four, also raises pigs, chicken, sheep and cows.

Juan, a cauliflower farmer and father of four, worries that he won’t get more than 10 cents/pound for his crop.

Even driving by, you're greeted like somebody special. (I always wave back!)

Even driving by, Guatemalans greet you like you’re somebody special.

Planting corn in tandem, with pole-diggers and bags of corn seed.

Planting corn in tandem, with post hole-diggers and bags of seed. (Nobody’s retired here.)

Mountains, clouds & sky

Mountains, clouds & sky – fundamentals of a Guatemala road trip.

Sweet farm boy taking a break from planting & weeding.

Sweet farm boy taking a break from planting & weeding.

Everywhere I went, I saw people close to the animals that fed them -- remarkable how distant we've become from these animals that sustain us!

When was the last time you had this kind of relationship with a goat?

Juanito was shy and only peeked out this window when he thought I wasn't looking.

Juanito was shy and only peeked out this window when he thought I wasn’t looking.

All dressed up & ready for the Feast of Maria Candelaria in Cunen Valley!

All dressed up & ready for the Feast of Maria Candelaria. (Post-celebration aspirin close by.)

These piglets saw me from across the courtyard and stalked right towards me like a little rock band... such attitude!!

These piglets saw me from across the courtyard and stalked right towards me like a little rock band… such attitude!!

And of course, Guatemalan children are just off-the-charts adorable!

And always, the Guatemalan children will melt your heart.

Here are the links to my other posts from Guatemala from 2012. (Why did I write so many?? Boy, that overachieving thing sure faded quickly….)

Enjoy!

Welcome to Guatemala!

Hola Amigos

Head in the Clouds — Freshly Pressed!!

Vamos, Chicas!

Solid Gold Soul

Animal Magnetism in Happy Valley

Re-gifting, Heifer Style

Seeding the Future

Short Stories

And I’m leaving for Guatemala again tomorrow (on a non-Heifer trip) … stay tuned for more!

Categories: Guatemala, Heifer International, Philanthropy, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

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