I just want to trek
       
     
Kathmandu, Nepal
       
     
Jaya in his village Lamatar, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Kathmandu, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Kathmandu, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Kathmandu, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Kathmandu, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Bhktapur, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Jaya's Family, Lamatar, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Phoon hill (3200mt), Nepal - 2016
       
     
Sunrise on Nilgiri (7,061 mt), Nepal - 2016
       
     
Rainbow and waves, Himalaya, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Flying to Jomsom, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Kali Gandaki River, Jomsom, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Kali Gandaki River, Kagbeni, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Zig Zag, Kali Gandaki River, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Kagbeni, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Play time, Kagbeni, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Play time, Kagbeni, Nepal 2016
       
     
Kagbeni, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Getting to Chele, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Cat and Dog, Chele, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Rock Face, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Flags and stairs, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Shyangmochen La, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Ghemi, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Ghemi, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Tsarang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Tsarang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Chogo La, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Ghar Gompa, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Drakmar, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Marpha, Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
I just want to trek
       
     
I just want to trek

Story of a nepali dream

This is the story of Jaya, a trekking guide from Lamatar, in the Langtang area of Nepal, one of the most devastated area in the earthquake of April 2015. A story of hope and belief in dreams, where everybody can make a difference: help Jaya to get a home and realize his dream to have his own trekking agency.

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Photography: Leonardo Antonio Avezzano

Authors: Andrea Giuliano, Jayaram Basnet, Leonardo Antonio Avezzano.

 

Kathmandu, Nepal
       
     
Kathmandu, Nepal

The April 2015 Nepal earthquake killed nearly 9,000 people and injured nearly 22,000. Its epicenter was east of Gorkha District at Barpak, Gorkha. It was the worst natural disaster to strike Nepal.

The earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, killing 21 people, making April 25th 2015, the deadliest day on the mountain in history. The earthquake triggered another huge avalanche in the Langtang valley, where 250 people were reported missing.

Hundreds of thousands of people were made homeless with entire villages flattened across many districts of the country. Centuries-old buildings were destroyed at UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley, including some at the Kathmandu Durbar Square, the Patan Durbar Square, the Bhaktapur Durbar Square, the Changu Narayan Temple, the Boudhanath stupa and the Swayambhunath Stupa.

To the survivors where their homes were flattened, the government supported with 20,000 Nepali rupees (c.ca 200 USD$) definitely not enough to build a house. Even considering that  most of that money has not been paid, and the beauty is that the money is still there, waiting to be spent. Considering the high level of corruption in Nepal, the only hope is in international donors. Yet more than a year after there is no sign of any rebuilding.

The lack of progress is most stark in the countryside. Whole villages are still shattered and broken. Most of the families had to sell their land in order to manage the day to day. 

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Sources: Time magazine / Wikipedia / Reuters / interviews

Jaya in his village Lamatar, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Jaya in his village Lamatar, Nepal - 2016

"Now it has already been 15 months of devastation. I had to give up to my dream to open my trekking agency; instead, I was helping my family to move forward, building a temporary "shed" for all of 6 us."

"When I was on the mountain during the earthquake, 15 months ago, I was really far away from my family and I was so scared; I had no idea what was going to happen to my family and my village.

I was worried about them because I had no information at all. On the next day, in the morning, I learned that many people around cities lost their lives and many houses flattened. I just broke down. I was also not realizing that I was lucky to be alive since many people lost lives in the mountains as well.

I was on the Everest base camp, the whole nation was in the darkness with fear, a lot of people missinIg, and I was miles away from my family. Every step on the way back was faster than my heartbeat. 

At last, after a couple of days, I got the chance to contact one of my family members and there when I got the news that my grandmother died during the aftershock. The house constructed over my grandparent's place just collapsed like a house of cards. Luckily my grandfather managed to survive.

That was the worst moment of my life. Grandmother and I used to be very close, I used to be the piece of her heart; my eyes were raving with tears.

Finally, after 15 days of struggle I arrived in my village, too late to attend to my grandmother's ceremony. My house totally collapsed and the  henhouse as well, killing all the chickens, all that we had to live and work.

Now it has already been 15 months of devastation. I had to give up to my dream to open my trekking agency, instead, I was helping my family to move forward, building a temporary shed for all of 6 us.

A lot of people asked me how do I feel; I just smile and say that was a nightmare for me and my country. When people ask me "How can you smile in such tragic situation" I answer that I have hope. We should have hope and we should not let Nepal become a place of suffering.

And, with hope, after 15 months without working in the mountains, in July 2016 I got a message from my friend Leo, with whom we trekked 4 years ago to the Annapurna Base Camp, and he asked me "Namaste bro, let's trek again, let's go to Mustang; I'll come with my friend Andrea". 

Never give up, finally, I can go back to the mountains again.

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Kathmandu, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Kathmandu, Nepal - 2016

"How are things after the earthquake?"                   "Kathmandu is ok, the rest is still messed up"

Kathmandu was not dramatically affected from the earthquake, still Durbar Square is a huge construction site shored with wooden prop. 

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Kathmandu, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Kathmandu, Nepal - 2016

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Kathmandu, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Kathmandu, Nepal - 2016

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Kathmandu, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Kathmandu, Nepal - 2016

Happy birthday kid!

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Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal - 2016

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Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016

The situation in Bhaktapur is definitely worst, Durbar Square is full of  rubble. The main temple lost its roof, while the Vatsala Devi temple, famous for its sandstone walls and gold-topped pagodas, was demolished by the quake.

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Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016

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Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016

There's damage also to homes, but the nepali people are strong and proud, and meanwhile the government is busy bickering between themselves, they're all out there finding a way to rebuild their places.

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Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016

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Bhktapur, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Bhktapur, Nepal - 2016

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Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016

"Bhaktapur is in shambles", I mumbled, but I was positively surprised that people here don't lose their mind and they've still hope. Talking with some men playing chess, they tell me "We have lost hope in everything, except God. We don't worry about damage here because it won't do me or anyone else any good. We've to rebuild our places and our lives".

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Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016

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Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Bhaktapur, Nepal - 2016

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Jaya's Family, Lamatar, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Jaya's Family, Lamatar, Nepal - 2016

"Finally after 4 years I meet again Leo and we organize together the trek on the upper Mustang. Together with Leo there's also Andrea, his first time in Nepal and his first trek ever. After such sadness, I have the joy to spend time with friends on the mountains, and talk about my dream: my own trekking agency! We visited my family in Lamtar and we had a great time all together.

Leo asked me what I did miss the most in those 15 months after the earthquake; definitely the mountains, the real mountains, the ones above 4,000 meters! My beloved Machhapuchhre, walking with my clients and teaching them all about culture, mountains, religion.

Andrea asked me how much would it cost to rebuild the house; I don't know, probably 5,000 USD$. I just want my house back, nothing fancy, just a roof for my family.

In that moment they've promised me to help me, with my dream, and my family with my house."

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Phoon hill (3200mt), Nepal - 2016
       
     
Phoon hill (3200mt), Nepal - 2016

"What I did miss the most in those 15 months after the earthquake? Definitely the mountains"

The real mountains, the ones above 4,000 meters! My beloved Machhapuchhre, walking with my clients and teaching them all about culture, mountains, religion. The sunrise, the sunset, the thin air."

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Sunrise on Nilgiri (7,061 mt), Nepal - 2016
       
     
Sunrise on Nilgiri (7,061 mt), Nepal - 2016

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Rainbow and waves, Himalaya, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Rainbow and waves, Himalaya, Nepal - 2016

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Flying to Jomsom, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Flying to Jomsom, Nepal - 2016

Let's go trek again, let's go to upper Mustang.

The majestic view of Dhaulagiri (8,167 mt). The airplane is flying without radar and at a lower altitude compared to the Himalayan peaks.

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Kali Gandaki River, Jomsom, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Kali Gandaki River, Jomsom, Nepal - 2016

By some measures the Kali Gandaki gorge is the deepest canyon in the world, being 5,571 mt lower than Annapurna I (8,091 mt) which bounds it at one point. 

The gorge separates the major peaks of Dhaulagiri on the west and Annapurna on the east. Geologists say that the river bed of the Kali Gandaki is older than the Himalayas.

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Kali Gandaki River, Kagbeni, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Kali Gandaki River, Kagbeni, Nepal - 2016

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Zig Zag, Kali Gandaki River, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Zig Zag, Kali Gandaki River, Nepal - 2016

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Kagbeni, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Kagbeni, Nepal - 2016

Mustang in nepali means "fertile plain", but reality is that without irrigation system nothing grows spontaneously  in this area.

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Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

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Play time, Kagbeni, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Play time, Kagbeni, Nepal - 2016

The Upper Mustang was a restricted demilitarized area until 1992 which makes it one of the most preserved regions in the world, with the majority of the population still speaking traditional Tibetan languages. Tibetan culture has been preserved by the relative isolation of the region from the outside world.

Mustang's status as a kingdom ended in 2008 when its suzerain Kingdom if Nepal became a republic. The influence of the outside world, especially China, is growing and contributing to a rapid change in the lives of Mustang's people.

Play time, Kagbeni, Nepal 2016
       
     
Play time, Kagbeni, Nepal 2016

Andrea playing with the monks of the Kagbeni's monastery.

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Kagbeni, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Kagbeni, Nepal - 2016

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Getting to Chele, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Getting to Chele, Nepal - 2016

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Cat and Dog, Chele, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Cat and Dog, Chele, Nepal - 2016

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Rock Face, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Rock Face, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

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Flags and stairs, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Flags and stairs, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

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Shyangmochen La, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Shyangmochen La, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

The amazing view from a pass at 4,050 meters east from Shyangmochen: Kali Gandaki Gorge, the villages we left back Kagbeni and Chele, and in the back, in the clouds, the peak of the Nilgiri.

Was then that I called Andrea and Jaya and we listened "Comfortably Numb" from Pink Floyd while being silent and staring the horizon. - Leonardo

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Ghemi, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Ghemi, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

The green valley of Ghemi. 

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Ghemi, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Ghemi, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

The world's longest mani wall.

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Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

Muddy mountains kissed by a shy ray of sun.

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Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

"Ride the snake, ride the snake. To the lake, the ancient lake, baby. The snake is long, seven miles. Ride the  snake... he's old, and his skin is cold" - The End, The Doors

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Tsarang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Tsarang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

The entrance in the walls of Tsarang, just on time before the monsoon started to claim its 4 daily hours of rain.

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Tsarang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Tsarang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

Didi preparing the best breakfast to get us fit for 8 hours walk: Tibetan bread with eggs, jam, lentils soup, lemon ginger tea with honey, Black coffee.

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Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

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Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

Lo Manthang was the walled capital of the Kingdom of Lo from its founding in 1380 by Age Pal who oversaw construction of the city wall and many of the still-standing structures.

Lo Manthang is just at 40km from Tibet, meaning that the proximity with Chinese border makes much easier to make business with China rather than Kathmandu. 

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Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

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Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

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Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

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Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

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Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

Mustang also refers to wild horses, and here a monk tries to ride his horse in the End of summer race in August.

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Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

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Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

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Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

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Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

The cliffs' face are pitted with an estimated cave dwellings, some of which are perched more than 150 feet above the valley floor. Archeologists believe that the caves were used in three general periods: burial chambers 3,000 years ago, living quarter (perhaps to escape battles and intruders in the valley) 1,000 years ago and by the 1400s most people had moved into traditional villages and the caves became a place of meditation.

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Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

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Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

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Chogo La, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Chogo La, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

Chogo La 4,325 mt. On top of each pass, you find stones and prayer's flags. Those represent auspicious symbols and the colors represent the elements: yellow - earth, green - water, red - fire, white - air, blue - space. Here you can see also an alpine star between the flags and stones.

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Ghar Gompa, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Ghar Gompa, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

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Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

Himalayan cow boy.

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Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

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Drakmar, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Drakmar, Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

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Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

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Marpha, Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Marpha, Mustang, Nepal - 2016

"Life is a top that spins in your hand"

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Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016
       
     
Upper Mustang, Nepal - 2016

"Never give up, no matter what is going on, Never give up. Develop the heart; too much energy in your country is spent developing the mind instead of the heart.

Be compassionate, not just to your friends, but to everyone. Be compassionate, work for peace in your heart and in the world.

Work for peace and I say again, never give up, no matter what is going on around you; never give up."  - Dalai Lama XIV

Thank you for your support in giving Jaya a present and a future.

Namaste.

Leonardo, Andrea, Jaya.

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