November saw the team and participants head to East Nepal – it’s always a little trickier travelling in the East, so a little more Land Rover time; but BOY was it worth it! We headed pretty much straight away to Rumjatar after a recovery night in Kathmandu. Rumjatar is a remote Hill Village roughly half way between Kathmandu and the Indian border at the Eastern point of Nepal….and directly below the Everest region of the High Himalayas.
The workshop was again looking to help photographers with little knowledge, and improve the photography of those with some decent experience – and it was a cracking team (we always seem to get on; must be the calming effects of the mountains and people of Nepal.
So – one of the first projects was to head where we could reasonably easily access to photograph Everest itself. We were not disappointed because the weather was perfect, and as clear a view of the mother of mountains as you could hope for.
From there we headed to the Gurkha Welfare Trust Area Welfare Centre (AWC) on the edge of Rumjatar so we could spend 3 days in the village, really getting to know the place and the people. Most people in Nepal are terrifically friendly – but in Rumjatar they seemed especially so – it was such a privilege to live in amongst these people for a while and try to imagine what life is like here permanently. The structures were good and people genuinely seemed content in this tricky to reach part of the world.
When the time came to leave, we bade farewell to the ever-attentive staff at the AWC and headed even further east to one of the largest towns in Nepal; Dharan. On the northern edge of Dharan (and thankfully with added altitude, as it can get oppressively hot in Dharan) lies one of the most impressive AWCs – a Key AWC with amazing medical facilities for those ex-Gurkhas or their widows who live in the region. There is also the second Residential Home for the very elderly ex-Gurkhas who have fallen on hard times, or had been living in distress – an incredible facility and such an amazing thing for those who really need help.
In all, travelling East was very special. The people and houses are slightly different to those from the West – but Nepal is Nepal. Fabulous!