The Relationship Between Food, Culture and Travel
A blog about the links between food, culture and travel, written by Emma Pietropaolo based on her firsthand experiences.
October 15th 2019
On 25 April 2015, Nepal experienced one of the worst natural disasters witnessed in the country since the 1934-earthquake. The earthquake killed almost 9,000 people, injured even more and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless. Aftershocks followed in the hours afterwards, as well as a second earthquake just less than three weeks later in May. Several towns and cities around Nepal are left devastated, and it could not have happened at a worse time of year, as monsoon season is arriving, leaving very little time to recover and find shelter for these large groups of now homeless people.
While there is no lack of large INGOs attempting to help the Nepalese people, they are inhibited by their size and organisation. Nepal Red Cross has hundreds of tons of emergency equipment, donated by Red Cross Germany and India, just sitting behind locket iron gates going no-where, even five weeks after the earthquake, as they are waiting for government approval! It has also been noticed that the UN-body World Food Programme has been sending rotten rice to the people over several occasions.
However, our project partner Education and Health Nepal (EHN) is a small charity organisation that has helped bettering the lives of Nepalese people in the past year by teaching English, helping orphanages and improving medical care in rural communities. When the earthquake hit, EHN was among the organisations that decided to help in any way they possibly could.
They have been visiting several of the towns and cities, which were affected by the earthquake and aftershocks. In the weeks following the earthquake, they received a great deal of support financially from around the world. Peoples’ generous contributions have been used to provide several tonnes of rice, several hundreds of tarpaulins and tin roof sheets to provide shelter, mosquito tents and nets, buckets and scoops for water carrying and storing, as well as all the small basic amenities like toothpaste, soap, brushes etc. Next to this, they held a 3 day health camp, where over 100 local people and more than 200 school children were tested and treated for free. Lastly, they have managed to provide the protective fencing of 5000 trees in Padampur Chitwan, which were part of last years’ reforestation project.
So, the next time you decide to make a donation, be sure to find the small NGOs working on the ground side-by-side with the locals. They will make sure that any help, supplies, food and material will get to the locals without hesitation or unnecessary delay. Large relief agencies are often dependent on the government to approve decisions, which can cause large unnecessary delays in getting the needed help out to those affected in time. People’s contributions sent directly to a small charity will always get a whole lot further, and anyone can make a difference, however the size of a contribution. We all just need to think twice about where our money is best serving the people who need it!
As the future has become more uncertain for many Nepalese, EHN has committed itself to help rebuild schools, make buildings safer for future earthquakes, and continue to be part of the reforestation programme, while still carrying on the projects that they had before the earthquake hit. If anyone wants to experience the beautiful country of Nepal, while making a difference on the ground for the Nepalese people, then we could use your help!
By Charlotte Laursen, WorkingAbroad Blog Writer