Update on Jasper’s Family

In Nepal, the underemployment and unemployment rate is over 50% and each year over 2 million of the country’s 19 million men leave the country to work as labourers in the Middle East. Kamal, Jasper’s father, had already spent 5 years in Saudi Arabia and the UAE when we met him. As you can imagine this huge number of absentee husbands and fathers is incredibly hard on families.
With the arrival of Jasper and with little work on the horizon, Kamal was unwillingly considering a placement in Afghanistan or Iraq where he might earn money to send home to Nanu and Jasper.
Typical Langtang valley lodge with trail marker

Welcome to Lama Hotel, the first tiny riverside village
on the way up the Langtang Valley.

But, through some extraordinary timing, Kamal received a phone call from a lodge owner in the Langtang valley who remembered Kamal’s charismatic personality from years before. (The Langtang is one of Nepal’s main trekking areas and where we’d spent 3 weeks trekking in 2011). This lodge owner had obtained a US visa and was leaving with his family to the United States. He asked Kamal “would you like to lease my lodge while I am in America?” The answer? Yes, please!

This all happened last August as we were starting to design our jackets. We were able to assist Kamal in leasing the lodge, making it easier for him to remain in Nepal. Now, Kamal, for the first time in his life, has control over his own and his family’s future.

Village of Kyanjin Gumba seen from a hillside above the village

A typical village along the trail, full of friendly lodges and tea houses. This is Kyanjin Gumba at the top of the Langtang Valley.

Incredibly, it takes 9 hours to go the mere 108 km by road to the bottom of the Langtang valley, followed by a day’s walk to Kamal’s “Sherpa Lodge” in the tiny village of Lama Hotel. But, he gets to stay in Nepal and he plans for his wife, Nanu and son, Jasper to join him soon. Already during his first autumn tourist season, he been successfu and employed other members of his family.

Now, the spring tourist season is beginning, so we are excited for him! It is amazing what a person can do when simply given the opportunity. We are looking forward to the day that we can visit Kamal in his own hotel!

We wanted to share some pictures of a typical Nepali travellers’ lodge and of the region. And if you ever plan to go to the Langtang valley, let us know! Kamal will be thrilled to welcome you!

Simple lodge bedroom with two narrow beds with white sheets Typical lodge dining room ringed by tables and a wood-burning stove in centre

 

 

 

 

 

Trailside hotels offer lodging and “fooding” along the way. A typical dining room offers tables and seating around a warm fireplace. Bedrooms are very simple, but clean.

Kamal carrying a load of rice and sundries from a tumpline across his forehead

Kamal, last August, loaded up with 65kg of rice and other staples to get his new “Sherpa Lodge” ready for the autumn tourist season!