There in the distance was Mount Everest, Sagarmatha, the roof of the world. The Base Camp hike was quite literally the high point of my six-week stay in Nepal in February-March 2012.
I think back with warmth of a unique country of contrasts and wonderful people: the smiling faces of the students I tried to teach English, the big-eyed children appreciating attention at the orphanage where I volunteered for a while, the elderly couple with whom I stayed, their pride in being able to serve me dal bhat (vegetables, lentils and rice) two times a day, and the guide who cracked jokes all the way to Base Camp, while I stumbled on, out of breath.
Already a developing country, the 7.9 multitude earthquake which hit Nepal one week ago, has left the country in devastation, at least 5,500 people are dead and millions are injured, have lost their homes, are at risk of falling ill and in sore need of clean water, food, clothes, shelter and medical attention. What will become of them? Are some of the people I met in Pokhara, Kathmandu and the Himalayan villages among them?
An avalanche triggered by the earthquake killed 18 people at Base Camp, many of them local guides and assistants, in the worst natural disaster which has occurred on Mount Everest. Already, climbers are resuming their plans of summiting the world’s highest peak.
I was surprised to discover that more than 100 Nepalese live in Iceland. Experts in river rafting, many of them first came to the country to take tourists down wild glacial rivers and teach the Icelanders the ropes.
Concerned for their family and friends back home, the Association of Nepalese in Iceland has organized a collection for victims of the earthquake, and many have responded already.
To make donations, the account number is: 0133-15-380330 and the registration number (kennitala): 511012-0820.
Earlier this week, The Student Association at the Community College of Breiðholt (Fjölbrautaskólinn í Breiðholti) donated ISK 150,000 (USD 1,200, EUR 1,000) to the cause. Seven of the school’s students are from Nepal.
Clothing and food have also been collected and various fundraising events are being held.
The staff of kindergarten Sælukot are planning to raise funds in cooperation with NGO Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team by cooking meals and selling them for ISK 2,000 (EUR 14, USD 15) on May 4. Orders can be made on Facebook.
Pharmaceutical company Alvogen, in cooperation with UNICEF and the Red Cross, will hold a fundraising concert at Harpa in Reykjavík on June 6. Among the musicians set to perform are Retro Stefson, AmabAdamA and Ylja.
The goal is to raise ISK 5 million through the event.
Actavis plc, the parent company of Actavis in Iceland, is contributing ISK 3.5 million (USD 26,000, EUR 24,000) to disaster relief through the British NGO International Health Partners (IHP) and is looking into ways to donate medicine and medical equipment.
The Icelandic government is contributing ISK 10 million.
Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir – eyglo(at)icelandreview.com