2016 Computer Power Project

One of the longest running requests we’ve had from the monks at Mera’s monastery has been to figure out a way to power computers to provide an expanded learning environment for the monastery’s residents. The main issue has always been generating consistent power. Laptops use more power than the home’s lightbulbs and that power needs to be even enough to avoid damaging the equipment.

The village of Mera is a four hour hike from the nearest town of Phaplu and to that end, does not have a connected power source. The village itself derives its power from a small hydro-electric system which has typically been enough to run light bulbs in most of the village’s houses as well as the monastery. After last year’s earthquake in April, this hydro-electric system was further burdened due to a suspected shift in the underground water source from which is gets its water. This has led to situations where their light bulbs will go out for minutes at a time or during their drier months (around the spring) where they may not have any light for entire evenings.

This year, the Maya Sherpa Project resolved to make the Computer Power Project a reality. The Computer aspect of the project was quite easy. The German organization Mountain Spirit had donated the laptops, pre-installed with a range of education software. We also left our own touch by including offline (no internet access required) versions of Wikipedia in Nepali, English and a simplified version of English called Basic English which uses a controlled amount of words to make learning English easier for non-native English speakers.
The Power aspect of the project was more involved. Through a mutual connection, Pattie Moon was put in touch with an incredibly intelligent and avid electrical engineer by the name of Nathan Proper. Nathan also happened to have grown up in the Colorado mountains, is an enthusiast of everything outdoors, and has had a lifelong dream to visit Nepal.

He eagerly accepted the offer to design and build a system which would generate the necessary consistent power flow with an added challenge from Pattie… it should include a bicycle. Yup.
Earlier in the year while sitting around a table with the monastery’s Khempo, they had both joked about how, if only, they could harness the power of the young monks running around the place by putting them in hamster wheels. This led to a lightbulb going on (no power required) and the idea of attempting to use a bicycle to provide the electricity was born.

Fast forward many months, many miles flown, one heck of a long jeep ride, and a four hour hike, Nathan and I arrived at Mera’s monastery and, with much eager help from its monks, assembled the project Nathan had been working on for the past several months.

The result? A bank of four car batteries to provide the consistent power, recharged by a roof mounted wind turbine connected through a custom-built controller. And, as promised, a bicycle…. connected to a small generator which would also help to power the battery box. All of which was brought in checked baggage from the United States, save for the batteries and bike which were purchased in Kathmandu. After an uneasy day or two, not knowing if the turbine would work properly or had perhaps, been damaged in transit, we got a windy day and confirmed that the batteries were charging back to 100%.

The laptops worked beautifully and the monks loved the software installed – especially, to my surprise, the touch-typing software. A solid hour was spent with all three computers echoing F,J,F,J,FF,JJ,F,JJJ,FF,J… over and over as they sped through a lesson teaching them their home keys. This had the extra benefit of causing the rest of the room to double over in laughter.

There is some room for improvement with the bike aspect (messing with gearing, etc.) as it turns out it’s not terribly efficient at generating power. That being said, it was by far the biggest hit. Almost every time we came into the computer room, someone was on the bike pedaling like crazy, trying to keep their robes out of the way and laughing the whole time. Perhaps next time we’ll just bring a few bikes for them to ride around for fun!

Speaking of next time, Pattie will be headed out to visit this Spring, checking in on the projects and possibly accompanied by another electrical engineer to fine tune and add to the power project. Our next steps will be to review the effectiveness and efficiency of the project and consider how we might be able to take what we’ve learned so far and utilize it in other remote Himalayan communities. Surely there are many others who could benefit from having computers and a reliable means to power them.

2015 Year in Review

MSP banner logo

June 10, 2016

Dear Friends of the Maya Sherpa Project,

2015 was a difficult year in Nepal, with two devastating earthquakes in April and May 2015, which killed 8,000 people, injured more than 21,000 and left many homes destroyed. This event brought new challenged to our small organization. We were moved to help Nepal, and with your generous support, together we were able to reach out to meet some of the needs.

In recapping this past year, The Maya Sherpa Project continued to support our ongoing projects, as well as the much needed help to the earthquake recovery efforts. Thanks to our generous donors, our efforts are making a difference.

ONGOING PROJECTS 2015:

  • Girl’s Scholarships– 3 girls in full time English language boarding school
  • Mera Monastery– support secular education teacher, winter gear to monks.
  • Mera Health Clinic– financial support for healthcare workers in partnership with Mountain Spirit Deutschland.
  • 2014 Avalanche Scholarships– partnership with the Juniper Fund for advanced/tertiary education for children of 2014 Avalanche victims.

msp4msp3 msp2 msp1

EARTHQUAKE RELIEF

Our first project was to donate financial resources for immediate earthquake relief for the purchase of food and tarpaulins. These were distributed to the hardest hit areas outside Kathmandu, April/May 2015, by the Sherpa Welfare Group from Mera, Nepal.

eq2 eq1

Nima and Nick bring relief in June 2015.

Our next earthquake relief effort was for Nima and Nick to travel to Kathmandu and the Khumbu in June 2015. Their presence, showing our care and concern, made a real difference to many traumatized families still living outside, in makeshift shelter. They were able to distribute relief supplies in Kathmandu and to villages in lower Lukla. In addition to offering rain jackets, tents, tarps, work gloves, medicines, and some financial support, they worked to help sort and dismantle damaged structures, and assisted with the harvest, helping to assure some food security for these families during this monsoon season.

They found that many places were severely damaged, while others were untouched. It was decided, from their report and the recommendations of our manager in Nepal (Pemba Sherpa), that the best way to help rebuild Nepal, is through the support of the local community-based efforts. Supporting children getting back to school would be one way to honor our mission and help create the new normal.

Pemba handing out gloves (1) Nima harvesting 1 (1) Home in Lukla (1)

Nakchung bridge building.

Our third earthquake project was to support a small village that had been entirely cut off, due to multiple landslides. With Nakchung community support, the MSP built a new bridge and trail. This joint collaboration between the two groups was a huge success. In addition, the MSP is now supporting 10 children from the Nakchung village, with scholarships to attend the English-language Hillary school in Lukla, about 3-4 hours away.

nakchung3 nakchung2 nakchung1nakchung4

Phakding School Support. 

As of the end of 2015, we had also completed a project to help the school in Phakding (about 3 hours from Lukla). The school was completely destroyed from the earthquakes and had to be rebuilt at a different location. With the support of the MSP, new desks and benches were made for all their students.

phakding2 phakding1phakding3phakding4

The Himalayan Sherpa lifestyle is basic at best, so you can only imagine the toll that last year’s earthquakes have taken on their well-being. They struggle to survive, let along pay for school and other “luxuries.” Yet, in spite of all this, they remain a peaceful, kind and joyful group of people.

Namaste,
The MSP Board of Directors: Pattie Moon, Dawa Sherpa, Sharon Lowe, Nancy Kramer, Alex Moon

If you like our work, please consider donating to us!





All contributions go directly to supporting Sherpa communities in Nepal. The Maya Sherpa Project is a non-profit organization. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the IRS 501C(3)Charitable Organization Law.

Maya Sherpa Project

Our commitment to the Sherpas of Nepal is a continuation of our 6 year-old non-profit organization’s charter. To quote our Board President, Dawa Sherpa:

“My vision for the MSP is to help bring basic education and medical care to my fellow Sherpas, in order that they can experience a life of greater well-being, while still maintaining the richness of our culture.”

2015 Our Visit to Nepal

Nepal Earthquake Relief Update
Nima Sherpa and Nick Moon’s visit to Nepal, June 2015

On June 1st, Nima and Nick left for Kathmandu, about 5 weeks after the first quake in late April. What they found in the city was a mixture of areas that were left untouched by the two major earthquakes and others that were completely destroyed. In general, the latter were buildings that were poorly constructed and the oldest historical areas that date back 100’s of years. Some city roads were impassible, others seemed unchanged.nick-and-nima-visit-nepal-2601

Their family and friends were living in conditions ranging from dangerously primitive to simply uncomfortable. One family had set up a makeshift shelter of donated tarps, along with family rugs from their ruined home; eighteen people were eating, living, and sleeping in this covered area. Another family had a home that was damaged, but still standing. They would go inside to gather things they needed, but were afraid to sleep under its roof, for fear that one of the continuing tremors would be another big one and bring down the entire house.nick-and-nima-visit-nepal-2478

All of these conditions were exacerbated by the onset of the monsoons. Torrential downpours made the 100 degree heat stifling, caused a thriving mosquito population, and created perpetually-soggy living conditions in Kathmandu. The chaos of the initial weeks after the two major earthquakes was replaced by a resignation of some kind of “new normal.” There was now food and access to some health care, along with running water, but the future depends on the hope that the government would, in fact, be compensating for the loss of the homes.

nick-and-nima-visit-nepal-2943

Nima and Nick were able to distribute a number of donated items from the US that proved useful: rain jackets, mosquito tents, Crocs, umbrellas, sleeping bags for the kids, and a camp mattress to protect Grandma from the wet ground. They also purchased plywood to build a crude privacy shelter for the two elderly women. They also visited friends of Nima’s, one of whom was in a hospital due to internal and bone injuries suffered in the avalanche on Everest. Like many, he arrived in Kathmandu after heroic rescue efforts, only to find that health care was sparse. However, he is expected to live and the visit by his longtime friend made a big difference to him.nick-and-nima-visit-nepal-2329

Perhaps the most important “gift” that Nima and Nick gave was to simply be there – to show their care and concern, and to deliver the well-wishes from those in the US and elsewhere, who contributed to the supplies and funds that were donated so generously.nick-and-nima-visit-nepal-2606

This was true as well when the two of them traveled to the Khumbu region. They were able to fly into Lukla, the start of most trekkers and climbers on their way into the Everest region. This village is very close to Nima’s home, Kangma. There he found his mother and many of his family, who were all sleeping out of doors either in tents or under tarps. Some of the homes in his village were rubble, others standing with stress cracks, and a few untouched. However, no one wanted to sleep indoors, for fear that they would be trapped if another quake hit. At this time the aftershocks were occurring almost daily.nick-and-nima-visit-nepal-2403

Here they distributed the monsoon supplies (rain jackets, boots, Crocs, umbrellas) as in Kathmandu, and also many rugged work gloves. The latter were put to good use as Nick helped the local men sort through the ruined buildings and clear the rubble into piles that could be used later to rebuild. The main work at the time was to clear away the debris from the local school, a Hillary institution, which was completely unusable. Getting the school back and functioning was a high priority for the village; even with the recent destruction, the local children were already back to class in tents.nick-and-nima-visit-nepal-2822

Meanwhile, Nima donated money to the monastery to help rebuild the local community shelter, in addition to cash donations to family members. He also purchased almost 40 extra tarps to be sent from Kathmandu. The ones distributed earlier by aid groups were useful, but too small for practical shelter. There was also a need for extra tarps in order to protect the summer’s harvest; it was time to harvest the barley and potatoes and they needed dry storage. Nima joined in the harvest as well after Nick left for the States. However, they first had a fact-finding trek to take up into the Khumbu.nick-and-nima-visit-nepal-2947

Over a period of 5 days, the two of them hiked on the familiar routes, through Phakding, Jorsale, Monjo to the Namche Hill. From there they went to Namche, Tengboche, Khumjung, Thamo and Thame. The trek was arduous due to the never-ending monsoons and the uneven trail conditions, including some that had been wiped away completely from landslides. Some of the villages were deserted due to fear of slides and floods, others had some occupants; but all were struggling with the destruction and aftershocks.

On the well-known route to Everest they saw a random arrangement of international efforts of help, from the German Red Cross cooking tents to the Chinese supplies. However, the situation in the off-the-beaten-path villages was a different story. There was no organized aid, if any at all, to help with housing, food and clothing. One traveling couple of South America had taken it upon themselves to stay in Thame after the quake and to organize relief efforts for some residents in even more remote locations. Nick and Alex donated money to their effort, which was largely a Facebook-run event.nick-and-nima-visit-nepal-2953

Upon return to the States, both Nima and Nick expressed their opinions about ways to utilize the generous donations the Maya Sherpa Project had received. They agreed that the best approach is to help rebuild village structures – the schools, health clinics, and monasteries – that will not be supported by government funding. Nothing could be more important, as these places are the heart of every Sherpa village; this is where they come together as a community to celebrate, share, learn, and mourn. And this is where they will find the support to help each other heal. The Sherpa are a resilient people, but first, let us help to get them back on their feet.

2015 Earthquake Update

August 28, 2015
From the Maya Sherpa Project Board of Directors:

The 2015 earthquakes in Nepal may be out of the news, but the country and its rebuilding efforts remain in our minds and hearts. The initial help from the large international aid organizations was instrumental in helping to save lives and stabilize many others. Our own Sherpa family from Mera – which was spared – collected supplies and set out to help other in villages that had received the brunt of the earthquakes’ devastation.

We also sent two from the US– Nima Sherpa and Nick Moon – to Nepal in June, with supplies and money for food, medicine, tarps and other emergency needs. They were met with gratitude from the many families and communities they visited, both in Kathmandu and in the mountains. They were also met with the onset of the monsoons, which only served to emphasize the dangerous conditions that much of Nepal is facing: unstable mountainsides, lakes and trails that are now being undermined and even swept away by the torrents of rain. Their trip, detailed here (link), gave us first hand knowledge of the conditions in much of the Khumbu (Everest) region.

What we learned is that the rebuilding of homes is being handled by the government, with the aid it has received from other countries. The effort is not without problems, but it is evolving. However there are still the schools and health clinics and monasteries and community projects for which the Nepalis will not receive compensation. This has always been, and now remains, the focus for our organization’s work. Regarding the recent devastation from the earthquakes, there are villages that have received no attention and no hope of support . . . and our task is to find and identify how we can help those people.

Recognizing the epic scope of the destruction and the length of time to repair the lost homes and communities, we still want to move forward with our best efforts. Our manager in Nepal, Pemba Sherpa from Lukla, has traveled extensively and has identified – and is now prioritizing – a number of projects that meet our criteria: villages that have no tourist or foundation money to help them rebuild their community structures, and local projects that can be personally supervised by our MSP staff.

With this list, we are currently considering rebuilding a road to a small community that has not only been destroyed, but is cut off from all help; supplying scholarship money for displaced children who now have to go to school, and live, in other communities; rebuilding a Monastery guest house for visiting lamas; contributing to the rebuilding of a school that has to be moved to another location, due to unstable conditions at its original site. We hope to begin some of these projects in October, after the monsoon season.

Even with these projects, we know that the relief work is ongoing and is long-term. How long? Perhaps it was best put by David Morton, a seasoned high altitude climber and director of the Juniper Fund (http://www.thejuniperfund.org/overview/): “We are looking at a generation of rebuilding.”

Thanks to those of you who so generously gave to our making this rebuilding possible. If you want to continue to help, we are most grateful for even the smallest of donations. In a country with such great need, everything is useful and much appreciated.

Blessings of peace,
The Maya Sherpa Project Board of Directors
Dawa Sherpa, Sharon Lowe, Nancy Kramer, Pattie Moon

2015 Nepal Earthquake

nepal-earthquake-damage-sized

This came from our manager’s village, Lukla… every house is damaged.

Dear Friends,

Members of the Board of Directors of the Maya Sherpa Project have received many queries about how to help with the devastating earthquake disaster in Nepal.

Here is what we know and suggest we can do to help, with your assistance.
The United Nations estimates that as many as eight million of Nepal’s 28 million people have had their lives disrupted by the earthquake. Over 1.4 million people need food assistance, and tens of thousands are thought to have been left homeless. There are many large, international aid organizations doing tremendous work on the front line, in providing the immediate and basic needs such as food, water and shelter at this most emergent time. If you are interested in contributing to this early stage of relief, please consider contributing to The American Himalayan Foundation.

However, we understand many of you would like to make a more direct impact in this recovery effort. We, too, have this in mind as we look at the needs of our Nepali family and friends. Our first-hand communication with those in Kathmandu and in the outlying mountain villages indicates that there will be ongoing needs for an extensive period of time. In particular, assistance with housing, medicine and daily essentials during the upcoming monsoon season is of considerable concern. And then the compelling rebuilding phase of recovery. The Maya Sherpa Project can’t solve the large scale recovery issues in Nepal, but we have the capability, through your support, to assist those Nepali and Sherpa friends we know and currently serve. And then, in turn, these souls can support their neighbors, family and villages more fully.

In this spirit, we have created a donation based fund that will provide direct support to our Nepali and Sherpa friends and their villages. All funds, supplies and equipment will go directly to support of recovery efforts with the assistance of our Maya Sherpa managers that live and work in these villages on our behalf.

This effort is possible, ONLY, through the willingness, energy and generous donations of caring individuals as yourself that understand the value of helping those suffering in this most tragic natural disaster.

We are most grateful for you support!

In the service of the Nepali and Sherpa people, The Maya Sherpa Board of Directors

Dawa Sherpa
Sharon Lowe
Pattie Moon
Nancy Kramer

2014 Avalanche Scholarship

May, 2014

The Maya Sherpa Project announces its Mt. Everest Scholarship Fund

On April 18, 2014, the Sherpa community suffered severe loss of lives in an avalanche on Mt. Everest. As the climbing season was at its peak, there were many climbers in base camp preparing for a later summit attempt. Meanwhile, Sherpa guides were busy preparing the upper camps and setting ropes for their clients, when the avalanche struck just above the ice fall on the Khumbu Glacier. In all 17 died and many others were injured, resulting in the deadliest day on Everest.

The world responded generously with donations of aid and we, too, collected contributions for the Sherpa families affected by this tragedy. Our decision was to focus the donations on helping the children of the avalanche victims, especially for their future schooling. Our thank you letters conveyed the following thoughts:

“The Sherpa culture holds education in high regard; many of the men have been working these difficult mountaineering jobs specifically to be able to put their children in school. With your thoughtful gift, and that of many others, we will be able to offer educational opportunities for the Sherpa children who lost a father, brother or other family wage-earner in the recent avalanche – in the months, perhaps even years to come!”

“With our local MSP network in Nepal, we will soon get to know these families, and assess their needs for keeping their children in school, offering assistance with tuition, uniforms, books and other supplies. We know that there are many other fundraising projects for the Sherpas, but we will make sure we are also available to those who might otherwise be overlooked.”

This work is a continuation of our 4 year-old non-profit organization. To quote our Board President, Dawa Sherpa:

“My vision for the MSP is to help bring basic education and medical care to my fellow Sherpas, in order that they can experience a life of greater well-being, while still maintaining the richness of the culture.”

Our fundraising efforts had collected $14,000. While this was a substantial amount for an organization of our size, it was decided that we would join forces with others who were also targeting funds for education, in order that efforts not be duplicated. After thorough research, we finally selected the Juniper Fund, a Seattle-based organization, as the overseer of our account, and whose mission in the Nepal is to “support local mountain workers and their families and communities.” In particular the Juniper Fund had established a “widow’s relief” fund, and are personally familiar with the climbing support community in Nepal.

They had also become a clearing house not only for our efforts, but for those of other organizations after the Everest Avalanche. In particular, fundraising from the American Himalayan Foundation was awarded to the Juniper Fund, earmarked for the continuing education of the children.

The JF Director, David Morton, proposed that our MSP funds be designated for the higher education needs of the same children in the years to come. It will be set aside in a special account, and distributed as the older ones complete their 12th year. If they have done well and show a commitment to continue, the MSP funds will be the resource for that. This will be managed and oversight completed by the manager of all the JF educational programs.

A discussion with David was held about the pitfalls of what “higher education” looks like in Nepal and the lack of jobs for those who do get some.  He agreed and said that the JF would only consider private schools (not the public Tribhuvan University) that are more vocational in nature.  These schools offer degrees in health and engineering and he thinks that Nepal is now progressing vocationally and economically to need a trained workforce in the coming years.

2013 Projects Report

Service Trek 2013

Pattie Moon arrived in Mera on October 13, flying from Kathamndu with Ngima Sherpa, Pemba Sherpa and Alex Moon. The latter two left the next day on a trek to the Khumbu via Namche, while Pattie and Ngima remained in the village to work with the monks and villagers. They stayed as guests of the Changmityang Monastery, where they worked closely with the lamas and interacted freely with all the monks. The two of them also visited the village health clinic, as well as many of the villagers’ homes. It is from all these interactions that the assessment took place and new ventures were discussed.

Winter coats from MSPAs part of our service, we took three 50-lb. duffle bags filled with items for the monks and village girls. These included warm winter clothing, school supplies and dental care products (toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss). All the items had been generously donated by friends in both Steamboat and Fort Collins. They were well-appreciated indeed!

Winter Coats from the MSPAs an update, it is worth noting that the local area seems to be better off than it was a few years ago. The villagers were warmly dressed and many had running hot water (through pipes that heat by the fire in the hearth), and virtually every house had a cell phone. They were gracious and hospitable and served us many cups of tea and meals. The health clinic does not have running water, but was clean and well-organized.

The Monastery showed the greatest infrastructure improvements, including: a proper hearth, supplying running hot water to the kitchen sink and spigot; a second kitchen with a two-burner gas cook top; a generator (gift from the MSP); a 4-way printer (gift from MSP); more indoor lights; a library, store room, and two more classrooms. They have also built a series of smaller stupas near the large one, and put in a new, improved outdoor toilet facility. They have more plans to put in an additional kitchen, classrooms, and to expand the facility to include an enrollment of 100 (compared to less than 50 now).

At this point, the Monastery is held back from progressing further until the hydroelectric system is in place and can accommodate an increased load of power.

Projects: Monastery

In addition to the day-to-day interactions with the entire monastic community, a meeting was held with Lama Dorjee (and Ngima Sherpa) on October 14th. He first expressed his gratitude for all that the MSP has provided and was especially delighted to have discovered that the computer we gave them two and a half years ago can type and, therefore, also print in Tibetan. This, and the new printer (sent 6 months ago) enables them to make their own copies of the teachings, and not have to send away for more expensive books.

The secular education has gone well enough under the tutelage of Pasang Sherpa, educated in Kathmandu, and originally from – and currently living at home in – Mera. He teaches English, math and a little bit of science; the English is taught at three levels and math is taught in English. The students teach each other to read and write Nepali. All this is in addition to their Tibetan studies and Buddhist practices.

The Lamas feel that discipline is an issue with a secular teacher, and have sent a proposal to Sikkim for a monk to come and teach English and math, hopefully starting next school year (February, 2014). They feel that he will command more respect, and they asked that we keep supporting them with a teacher’s salary, which would now go to the new monk; I agreed. Meanwhile, we owe them for the past 6 months of the 2013 teacher’s salary: $600 US. Lama Dorjee added that having the English studies has brought them more students.

During this conversation, the topic of computers came up and it turns out that the Monastery is very interested in finding a way to educate the young monks on computers, which they know to be essential in life anymore, the same way English that is necessary.* It is also a way for the current tawas to teach themselves many other subjects, and will attract more students to the Monastery.

Several other projects were mentioned regarding the Monastery, two of them environmental issues. The wall has come under discussion again, and the lamas (and the Kempo) agree that it is better to build a stone wall than a wire fence. They envision it close to the Monastery (not encompassing the entire property, which is quite large) as a means to keep out the cows. They already have started a pile of stones, which they get from local masons as they can afford it. They would like to hire these local masons to build the wall. We did not discuss a price for the project yet.

Monastery

The other environmental project is a continuation of the concrete ledge around the Monastery buildings. Those areas that do not have a ledge are eroding badly with each rainy season. The ledge would be similar to the one that surrounds the shrine building and that exists in several other places as well. They already have the gravel and sand, but need to buy the concrete to finish the monks themselves would build it as they have done before). The cost is $500.

A third project requested by Lama Dorjee, was for matching maroon winter coats for all the monks. This will be fulfilled by Pattie Moon, as a gift for the warm welcome and her extended visit at the Monastery.

*A later conversation with the Kempo from Taiwan (en route to Mera, in Kathmandu) bore out this assessment, and he pledged his support.

Projects: Hydroelectric

Hydroelectric ProjectThe whole village is abuzz about this project, a gift from “Uncle” Dawa Sherpa of Switzerland. When finished, it would provide about 45kw/hour (compared to the current 3kw), which means a stronger and more consistent power source. This not only will give better light to the homes and Monastery, but be the means by which the Monastery can incorporate computers into their lives.

Nuru Sherpa led Pattie and Ngima on a morning hike through the jungle to the spot at the bottom of the canyon, where the existing small generator building currently stands. The new, larger generator will be built a bit higher up the mountain side, in order to get in the necessary large equipment. They then followed the path uphill to the place where a reservoir will be dug, which will hold all the diverted water, before sending it steeply downhill to the new generator. Power lines will be constructed to the Monastery and village homes.

At the time of these visits, an engineer had just come to make an assessment and his report had been sent to Uncle Dawa in Switzerland. It was later discovered from the Kempo (in Kathmandu), that the amount to complete the project was well in excess of what was expected, and that it will take a year or two before funds can be gathered to finance this. Until that time, the computer program at the Monastery is on hold.

Projects: Mera Health Clinic

HospitalMSP co-shares with the Mountain Spirit-Germany group. We support a portion of the medical workers salaries. The project is managed directly by MS-Germany. Current the two healthcare workers are in place and supporting the village, seeing an average of 3 patients per day.

Clinic

Projects: Scholarships for Girls

Maya Sherpa Project ScholarshipsAt the heart of the stay in Mera were the visits to family homes to discuss the possibility of additional girls attending the Mt. Everest English Boarding School in Salleri. Our first student scholarship, for Minga Doma, began last February. She has worked diligently and is head of her class. When I spoke with her on several occasions, both at her home and at the Monastery, Mingma Doma appears much more confident and poised than her pictures last winter indicated.

The visit to Mingma Doma’s home was attended by her mother, father* and two younger brothers. The parents are very pleased and proud of her achievements and seemed very engaged in her education, even though they themselves have little or none. They were also happy to learn that the MSP is interested in expanding the scholarships to other girls from the village, who would then attend the school with their daughter. The family currently contributes payment for part of the room and board at a Sherpa host home in Salleri.

Mingma Doma takes a variety of subjects, all taught in English (except Nepali grammar and writing of course): English, science, math, health, general knowledge and social studies. She told me that she wants to continue studying at this school, and has the desire to continue with a university education to be a doctor or nurse. For the upcoming school year, she will need a new uniform and shoes.

Maya Sherpa Project ScholarshipsThe second village visit was to the home of Karma and Kanchhi Sherpa, who have a 15-year old daughter, Chokpa. (She was not at the visit, as she was currently attending to the yaks in the jungle.) Chokpa had studied locally through Level 5, and her family would very much like to see her further her education. The mother, Kanchhi, has no education at all and understands how limiting this is; in fact Chokpa would be the first female in this family to be educated.

The parents were very engaged in the conversation and volunteered that they had heard that Mingma Doma is the best student at the school! Chokpa’s three older brothers (16, 17 and 18 years old) have all received some education in Kathmandu, which the somehow family paid for. (The father supports itself with the sales of yak milk and cheese.) I agreed that Chokpa would be our second student to attend the Mt. Everest Boarding School in Salleri and they agreed to pay for minor expenses.

The third village visit was to the home of Dawa Chhering and Yanglli Sherpa. They have a young daughter, Lakpa, who is only 7 years old and currently attends the local village school. There are also two younger brothers (ages 2 ½ and 1 ½) , as well as three older children from a former marriage of the father, who is a widower. The family qualifies on the basis of need, but we felt that Lakpa is too young to attend boarding school. However, we’ve, identified her as a candidate to attend the Mt. Everest Boarding School in Salleri in two more years. The family seemed satisfied with this conclusion.

The fourth visit (yes, this is still the same day and yes, we drank multiple cups of tea and ate at each house) was to Nuru’s home. He is a well-known villager to us, as he has been involved in every trek we’ve taken so far, took us to see the site of the envisioned hydroelectric plant, and also has a daughter, Dali, who has received our assistance in the past year to attend a school in Basa, several hours away. (She and her brothers all go there weekly, and stay with a host family, but it is not a credited 10+2 English boarding school.) She currently studies: English, math, science and Nepali.

Dali is 12 years old and is very obviously very bright. Her father, Nuru, supports her getting an education, even if this means the mother will have to continue to be the one who tends to the animals in the jungle (she was not at this, or any other visit, to this home). Dali wants to be a doctor or nurse and attend university in Kathmandu. We then suggested that she switch schools and attend Mt.Everest Boarding School in Salleri with Mingma Doma. Nuru was very enthusiastic; Dali was overjoyed.

They will all start in February, 2014, and room together at the same host family. It is thought that they will be able to support each other with their studies and that we might receive some financial discounts as well.

Summary and Conclusions

We have a lot of interesting and – more importantly – useful projects in place and more ready to start:

* Monastery education for over 40 young monks

* Monastery environmental project (ledge)

* Winter monastic-style jackets for each monk (about 45), a personal gift from Pattie Moon

* Health Clinic co-opted with Mountain Spirit-Germany

* Three village girls to attend the Mt. Everest Boarding School together, starting in February, 2014 (Mingma Doma, Dali, and Chokpa)

We also have a number of projects on the table for future consideration:

* Computers as part of the Monastery educational program

* Consideration of a stone wall surrounding the Monastery grounds

* Candidate for the Mt. Everest Boarding School in two years (Lakpa)

 

 

 

 

2012 Scholarships

“When you educate a girl, you educate a family.”

– Tashi Sherpa

Maya Sherpa Project
A small contribution can go a long way…
and keeps growing
Help Support Education
in Mera, Solu Kumbu, Nepal

 

 

 

Dear Friends and Family,

Nepali class taking examWe are happy to announce that in 2012, the Maya Sherpa Project has had an active and supportive focus on education in the small Himalayan village of Mera, Nepal.

Our first project was to hire and support a teacher for the village monastery to be an adjunct to the traditional Sherpa religious studies of young men from many neighboring Sherpa villages. Their teacher has been giving instruction in Nepali, Math, Science and English.

We have also partnered with a German NGO, Mountain Spirit, to support the education of two village women as healthcare workers. Upon completion of their education, they have pledged 5 years of paid service in their village health post.

Mingma Doma with school signOur newest project – and one that we are very enthusiastic about! – is that of educating young girls from the village. These are capable individuals, yet they have no further chance of education in any form, due to economic hardship as well as availability of education resources.

Our first student is 10-year old Mingma Doma, for whom we have provided a full scholarship at a boarding school in Salleri, a neighboring village about 5 hours away. Mingma Doma is thriving in school and will have the chance to make choices in her life and contribute to her family and village. Without this opportunity, these girls are destined to lives of hardship and often abuse. With education, they not only have a different future for themselves, but also provide a lasting effect on their siblings, the village as a whole and eventually children of their own.

Our goal is to give other girls the opportunity to share in the education that has been given to Mingma Doma. With your support we can! Please make a donation to the Maya Sherpa Project, your tax-deductible donation will help bring educational opportunities to a young girl and improve the quality of life for everyone in her village.

Sincerely,
The Maya Sherpa Project
P.O. Box 880144
Steamboat Springs, CO 80488

2011 Mera Service Trek

The first service trek for the Maya Sherpa Project took place in Mera, a remote Himalayan Sherpa village.  In May, 2011, six Americans went there to work on a number of the planned projects in education, healthcare and environment.  We flew from Kathmandu to Phaplu,  amountain village with an airstrip, that is about a 6-hour hike from Mera.  We all arrived in the evening, a bit cold and tired, but very happy to find our beds – in the Monastery!  While not planned, it turned out that this was the best place for us to stay, as there is no tea house in this village and much of our work would take place there.  As it happened, this was perfect, in ways we could never have imaged!

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Starting the next morning, we awoke to the horns and chanting of the early morning prayers at the Buddhist Monastery.  We started right in on our work that day, first assessing the English and Nepali classes that had started two months earlier with a teacher placed by the Maya Sherpa Project.  We also began the tree planning project with both the monks and villagers.  These two projects continued to unfold over the next week, as we also dove into work on health care and environmental issues.

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Not only were our scheduled projects completed (and we now have some direction for their future unfolding as well), but other important projects came to light that also need attention.  We also learned that there are opportunities for collaborative relationships with other organizations.

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

The trip to Mera was very important in that the actual needs within this community became more apparent as we immersed ourselves in their lives and culture.  In general, the week spent in Mera and at the Monastery was one of work, side by side with the villagers and monks.  We learned more than we could have imagined beforehand about their values, their needs and their lives.  This became an open-hearted experience of sharing, not necessarily just giving, as we all exchanged much about each other and our respective cultures.

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

As part of this exchange, it became apparent that our priorities are not necessarily theirs, and that is was important for us to understand their values, not impose ours.  We also learned that there are any number of very simple solutions to some of their needs. Toothpaste and toothbrushes, socks and computer paper, aloe vera gel and band-aids are taken for granted in our homes but a luxury in theirs.

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Another straightforward solution to a problem was to buy a couple of dozen clothes pins for their washing lines. These lines are set up in a field near the kitchen and the hand-washed monks robes are regularly blown to the muddy (and cow-visited) ground by the rain and wind. Washing has to be done all over when this happens. Now they are able to secure their robes on the line and only wash once.

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

It was also a joy to see the delight on the faces of the young monks when they came to understand a new English word, or create a collage with colored papers and glue. Their appreciation for the gifts we brought spoke more than words can describe. They laughed at our funny ways and we delighted in theirs. We shared cups and cups of tea, whether at their spiritual ceremonies, in the dining room at a meal, or in the middle of a field during a break in planting trees.

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Perhaps the most rewarding part of the service trek was the individual and personal expansion that every one of the Americans had while staying at the Monastery. We all arrived wet and exhausted in this remote village with no running water, no heat, limited electricity and hard beds. A short week later, we all left with feelings of respect and wonder, accomplishment and gratitude, delight and sheer joy! We had also made new friends and came to understand more about what we actually all have in common than what our differences are. We gave an education, and we received the same.

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011

Mera Service Trek 2011