We got many concerned questions about what it is like in Nepal after the April earthquake - Is it safe to visit? Are there places to stay? Can you travel around? What do Kathmandu and other places look like? What help is needed?
There is no reason to be worried about visiting the beautiful and welcoming country of Never Ending Peace And Love! As visitors we had all the usual comforts and wonderful care of our Nepali team. Many tourist parts of the country have not really been affected in the first place such as the Annapurna region. Major roads are not damaged and operational, most hotels in Kathmandu are safe and operational as are hotels in tourist hotspots like Pokhara. In fact the most noticeable difference was the absence of tourists. Now seems the perfect time to go if you like it more quiet.
Given the pictures and videos, focused on crumbling historical sites, we have seen in the news we were worried about how we will find Kathmandu. Many people did lose their homes, including some of our friends, and a significant part of Nepal’s cultural heritage has been severely damaged. In the most sad state is Kathmandu’s Durbar Square - where previously we admired stunning historical buildings in a vibrant square full of life, we found levelled ruins and a gloomy atmosphere. Whilst it will take time and effort to rebuild, fortunately we found the city in a much better shape than we expected based on the news reports. Visitors truly are not affected. For example, the residential buildings around Durbar Sq are standing proud and we never expected to have lunch on a terrace overlooking it!
The worst hit and in most need of help are rural areas in earthquake-affected districts. They are already remote and poor and, after the earthquake, in the worst hit parts most houses including schools have been levelled or damaged - the 3 schools we are supporting in Dhading district have all had their buildings partially or completely damaged. This has been shown very little and help is slower to reach here. Just because the devastation in Nepal is no longer on the front pages of our news, does not mean that local people don’t need our help anymore. We mean to keep helping.
We have been impressed and inspired by the courage of local people, with how they are coming together to gradually rebuild their country and livelihoods. Be it the families who have built new temporary homes for themselves, or teachers and students who continue in education despite having no classrooms or little materials.
As Courage Journey we empower people to live and lead with courage and as such we are also committed to continue helping Nepal grow. Do keep in touch if you want to continue directly supporting specific families and children with us. Details of our planned support for next year will come soon.