Plans are for me to go to Khotang tomorrow morning. Chokpa at the dZi foundation has made all arrangements for flying, scheduling meetings, notifying our two ngos in the field, arranging escorts during my stay and translating information for me. Ben Ayers of dZi has done everything from the field to help and support me/us. I have had amazing support from so many friends and family here. This will be a very different trip to Khotang for me.
Namgyal's puja was three days long at his home, with 8 monks, one lama and all the Buddhist/Sherpa traditions. I spent the better part of two days there. With occasional moments of clarity I have had lots of time to think. I have concluded that there is no better way to honor Namgyal than to continue our work in Khotang. Although most people identify Namgyal as an elite mountaineer, we know that what defines him is that he is an elite humanitarian. The best thing I can do right now is to go to Khotang and reassure everyone that we are still committed will continue to be. It is a privilege that we can continue what Namgyal started. I appreciate everyone's tremendous support both in Khotang, in the Kathmandu valley, and all of you in my other home. This trip review our toilet construction in the villages of Rakha and Sungdel (initiated January 2013), the Dispung sub-health post construction (slated to begin after monsoon season this year), and the Rakha sub-health post (to begin construction after the satisfactory completion of the Dipsung sub-health post).
A discussion about building a chorten (Buddhist monument) at Bane has taken place with Namgyal's mom, wife and other family. They would like this to be a bit away from the sacred lake and the other chortens we have built there at the site of their ancient foundation of their family house. Namgyal's mother requested having it face Kathmandu so she can see it (she must have great eyes for an elderly woman, Kathmandu is several hundred miles away!!) It makes me wonder if Namgyal himself is up on Everest facing Khotang so he in turn can see all the children he continues to help. I will ask the community to help us arrange a puja to have a formal day-long Buddhist ceremony at some date in the future after the chorten is completed.
Yesterday I met with Arjun Karki, founding vice chancellor of Patan Academy of Health Sciences. I am so pleased that our friendship and d2n's ties to the institution remain strong. There are no set plans for projects together at this time but I believe there will be opportunities in the future.
I met with the Kathmandu Rotary Club who will partner with our international rotary grant spearheaded by Lewis Clayman. We are hopeful for grant approval sometime this summer, and initiation of the project September 2013. The project will be carried out by the Lifeline ngo, whom Ialso met with and things are on track. They are translating the 60-page curriculum for our review. I have also asked them to look at potentially adding on a program for the village management committees to further strengthen this project. Once this information is received it will posted on the website.
The Rotary Club would also like to provide uniforms, books and school supplies for about 25 disadvantaged children in our three villages. It is hoped that this to be a project for young girls only and for those most in need. There is a Dalit ("untouchables") community in Dipsung; these girls would be my first choice to receive The Rotary Club’s generosity. d2n will continue to favor women, and to favor those ethnicities/castes that are the most marginalized.
In closing, I truly appreciate everyone's love and support.