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I went to Nepal last year with maybe not the healthiest attitude to the country. I went feeling nervous and seeing it as an excellent one year contract for work, but nothing else. I didn’t want to be rude or ignorant but at the same time I never seen myself as a “culture vulture”. I just wanted to get there, remain busy during the year to make it go fast and learn as much as I could about the zoology of the area and that was it. I didn’t have an open enough mind to learn from every spectrum of society in Nepal. Within a few weeks of getting here and working with my colleagues Raj and Seejan I very quickly realised I had much, much more to learn about this country than just its incredible biodiversity. It’s hard to define what I mean by this, but I can say that Nepali people can be described by their eagerness to learn, help and protect. These three traits, as well as their local knowledge of their natural heritage, makes them, without even realising it, some of the best qualified conservationists I have met. They are extremely proud of their wild places and wild animals, and also proud of their label as the “roof of the world”.
Unfortunately Nepal is a poor country, and although every young person I met whilst there showed the eagerness to learn, help and protect, the opportunity to develop this eagerness isn’t always available. Since the catastrophic events of the major earthquakes on April 25th and May 12th the opportunities for young people in Nepal to learn, so in the future they can protect their biodiversity, has been almost completely stalled and halted. Thankfully it seems that the death total has finally halted also, and hopefully with no further increase. Unfortunately now that the death toll has ceased, and food and medical aid are getting into the country, the media spotlight has been turned away from Nepal. The people of Nepal have goals and aspirations like anyone else in the world. What is unique is the high number of people in this country whose goals and aspirations involve the protection of their natural heritage. This is why with the guidance and help of some of my friends in Nepal we collected money and began the Go School Initiative (GSI) sending children back to school as soon as possible rather than halting or stalling their eagerness any further.
I understand money is short with people here at home as well. I have never wanted the label of humanitarian and still don’t. This year though the people of Nepal and its wildlife have given me so much. I have seen their commitment to conserve their nature not just for future generations but anyone who will visit Nepal, which I strongly encourage everyone at some point to do. Nepal doesn’t want handouts it just wants to return to normality as soon as possible and continue their work of improving the country they are so proud of, not just for the themselves but for the future, for anyone who will visit and most importantly all the species that live within its borders. That’s why I urge you to visit the below link to read where we are trying to direct help and help us continue and let everyone you know Nepal will rise again.