Nepal Photo Book

It’s here! My photo book of Nepal, made possible thanks to the generosity and of many.

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This 20-page, lay-flat photo book measuring ~8.5 x 11.5″ / 21.5 x 29 cm with captions is crafted through tens upon tens of hours of envisioning, collaborations, love, and labor. I am really, really happy with it. I am also glad to have waited until this month to write the captions and compile it all together. I don’t believe I would have had as much cohesive ability to articulate the mountain load of memories and experiences in my 7 weeks in the Himalayan country. It truly was everything I could have imagined, and so much more.

I wish to take a moment to give gratitude to the 30+ backers on Indiegogo (https://igg.me/at/nepalconsciousimpact/) in making my autumn 2015 trip possible. This book is dedicated to you. And for a few of the contributors, this photo book will be on its way to you soon.

For friends & friends of friends who wish to further support me (once more) – please contact me for a(nother) copy! The cost is the same as on the fundraiser – $120 USD + shipping (between ~$3-10 depending on location), or $90 if you are ordering a second. Payments via Venmo/Google Wallet/Paypal/Square (subtledream@gmail.com) are welcomed. Get it before I depart for Nepal on April 4. The campaign perks are active once more, if you wish to go through Indiegogo.

IMG_8208Nepal Photo Book Collage

Also, I am super happy to report to all contributors and friends that the $900 that was allocated as a donation to Conscious Impact will be “recycled” in flying yours truly back to Kathmandu. For this return journey, I will do much of the same things as I did in autumn – assisting in building physically (we’ll be starting on one of the schools in April!), documenting the progress, providing the team with content that can be utilized across their communication and marketing platforms, and whatever else that comes up. I am going back with a sharper focus and desire to promote social good through social media, to further improve the new art of videography, and to continue living a simple, experience-based life. I’ll be volunteering and living in the village through 3 volunteer build groups (April, May, and June) until the monsoon season hits around mid-June. There are no set plans to return states-side. So after that, we shall see…

Dhanyabad (Nepali for thank you), and onwards!

Jonathan

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PS: follow me (FB: Jonathan H. Lee / “subtledream photography” / Instagram: @subtledream) and Conscious Impact (Facebook and Instagram @consciousimpact #ComeToNepal) to see updates! 🙂

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Superhuman, a time-lapse tribute to the PNW.

This video is a tribute. A tribute to wild places, friends, adventures, and to Seattle, my primary homebase for the past year and a half. I am thankful for wilderness, where we are able to unplug and recharge by an entirely different yet distinctively energizing way. Through time in nature, whether alone or in the quality company of friends, I have been a witness and admirer of the beautiful land and life that surrounds the Pacific Northwest through all 4 seasons. I am grateful for flowing water, for the elements, and for the indigenous peoples as well as environmental groups that have preserved this land for generations upon generations to enjoy. I hope this time-lapse video invokes a sense of wonder of our immense natural world, and inspires the exploration, respect, and preservation of wild places.
To say that it is difficult to distill the dozens of journeys and 60,000+ images in the Cascades, Olympics, and Puget Sound into just 3 minutes and 38 seconds, is most certainly an understatement. This video is the essence and result of hundreds upon hundreds of hours of planning, travel, hiking, hauling and setting up the equipment, dialing in the perfect settings, sleeping under the stars, (trying to) stay warm, fighting off mosquitoes, and nearly the same amount of time and attention in meticulously compiling it all together.
Immense gratitude to all (tagged, but so many more) for a beautiful year and a half together in the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy, and do share this with anyone who also loves the great outdoors.

Photography, concept, and editing: Jonathan H. Lee // www.subtledream.com // @subtledream

Music: Andrew Bayer feat. Asbjørn – Super Human – LISTEN: soundcloud.com/andrewbayer/super-human BUY HERE: po.st/bDoAndroidsDream

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Twenty Fifteen

What a year.

From Seattle to Kathmandu, from sunrise over snow-covered alpine peaks to sunset on tropical palm tree-lined beaches, from being homeless to owning the keys of my own home, from climate rallies to gratitude circles, and from earning just above minimal wage per hour to receiving infinite gratitude per second from fellow humans… twenty fifteen gave me the full spectrum of emotions, challenges, and from that, much growth.

I am grateful for all the people who came through in life, their gifts of patience and generosity, their lessons for and with me, and the opportunities to learn and do what I love, at home in the Pacific Northwest as well as overseas. Numerous new connections made, old connections strengthened, and more and more I feel connected to a global network of like-minded, forward-thinking, consciously-aware beings doing good in the world. I’ve come to realize this is such a solid and necessary state of mind to be in, especially as the internet exposes truths and sheds light onto more of the injustice and greed that has plagued our world and hidden in the dark for far too long. It is easy to become inundated by the wrongs and pockets of darkness. I speak directly to systemic racism, cruelty to wildlife and fellow humans, disregard for our soils and water, the never-ending pursuit of wealth and illusion of superficial happiness, the blatant disparity, and other ego-driven acts of selfishness. In this day and age, unless you are unplugged from the outside world (or only watch Fox news), to not be aware of these things is a personal choice, plain and simple. On the same side of the coin, to know AND not act is, in my opinion, a crime as severe as actions out of apathy and ignorance.

I moved to the Pacific Northwest for flowing water, for abundance of wild places, to discover like-minded community(ies), to continue refining what a low-impact, low-carbon lifestyle looks like for me, to (once again) uproot myself to establish a potential homebase in a region that I have been deeply fond of since my first visit as an adult in 2007. I feel pretty strongly about the progress I have made on all of those fronts and more. I owe it to many friends (you guys know who you are!), to working at REI, to the incredible community-driven project that is the Beacon Food Forest, and certainly to my family who have embraced my unconventional life path. Thank you. 

It’s about time for that next leap. That next set of life challenges I am happily willing and ready to face for my own growth and positive impact on a larger scale. Working alongside the Conscious Impact crew and the community of Takure in Nepal in autumn reignited my love for international development projects and in serving others. The experience gave me the opportunity to not only visit a region of the world I had been dreaming of for years, it also provided me the perfect way to combine photography and videography to raise awareness, inspire action, and promote the desire for cross-culture interactions and need for collaborations beyond political boundaries. What a powerful combination. My time in Central America reaffirmed my desire as well as ability to combine travel, work, art, and play into a beautiful package, and what a fruitful few weeks those were. I got to trace back some of the steps I had taken when I lived and worked in Panama, and more specifically, in the indigenous Emberá village of Piriati Emberá, where I returned and spent valuable time with the family that essentially has taken me in as their own. 

I wish to be clear and deliberate in what I intend to attract for 2016 and beyond. I can proudly and confidently say I have everything I need, to live, to travel, to recreate, to co-create, and be well. In this year I intend to see, feel, hear, and learn more of the world that we must touch and feel to truly know, to live minimally yet bring in abundance, to be more thankful for wellness and promote wellness, to continue standing and acting in solidarity with my brothers and sisters across the world who dedicate their hearts and bodies to the same fundamental moral values to one another and to mother gaia, and be an asset to humanity, whether through direct service or in leveraging the power of photography and storytelling, to raise awareness, to inspire action, and to critically question the norms that have been imposed to us subliminally and/or blatantly. I intend to tread lightly yet powerfully through all of these realms alongside people who uplift me as I uplift them. I desire to share the gift of life with humans who see the problems in the world not too large to fix but too obvious not to, who heal one another, and be in the presence of fellow beings also awestruck and marveled by the magic of nature, who will march in social and environmental rallies and sleep under the stars, and never forget that underneath all of us is the desire to be loved, acknowledged, and be good.

Let’s live the life we imagine.

Are you in?

Photo credit @larissaliu_12

A photo posted by Jonathan H. Lee (@subtledream) on

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It’s a #BricksForNepal Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas all! I’ve got some exciting news and updates to share.

Since the last update on Indiegogo, the volunteer team and community members have been churning out compressed stabilized earth blocks with the freshly-arrived brick press with all local materials and labor. They are producing up to ~75 bricks a day now, with the eventual goal of reaching 100/day.

Thanks to many of you, I am proud and joyed to have taken part in the creation of the brick and training center, and now that production is underway, it makes me so, so happy to see that we have raised $5865* in just 15 days. *correction: $5965 by the time I am hitting the ‘Publish’ button!

Our goal of $8000 (~16,000 bricks) is getting closer and closer. That will be enough to rebuild the first school, which serves approximately 85 students. Consider gifting the community of Takure and our selfless volunteers there the ability to keep the production going.

Read more & pitch in at: https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/bricks-for-nepal

Photos by Michael Libis

At the bottom of this post are images from the upper school of Takure, where I spent much time with other volunteers and local kids as we were setting up an afterschool program to play, create art, sing, and learn English.

Also, if you are in the Seattle area or know somebody in the region who would be interested, I will be co-hosting a presentation with Allen Gula, one of the co-founders of Conscious Impact, at the Seattle REI on Tuesday December 29th at 7pm. We will have the latest updates from the project, new media, and perhaps most importantly, how folks can contribute and/or volunteer in the coming year. This presentation also serves as a follow-up to the event that I hosted at the Beacon Food Forest back in August.

More details and RSVP via: https://www.facebook.com/events/1517245291907059/

Thank you. Namaste.
Bonus: photos of the upper school in Takure from Sept/Oct.


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Doug Tompkins

A moment of silence and remembrance for Doug Tompkins.
I’ve only read and seen movies about Doug. The movie 180 South, which features him and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, was a truly memorable point in my own evolution. The makers of the film, along with Doug and Yvon’s commentaries and adventures, sparked my marveling of our natural world, the desire to travel to wild, open spaces, and to preserve them. Her wife, Kris Tompkins, has been leading Conservacion Patagonica, an organization that I fully back and am happy to have donated to through the support of many friends and family on my bicycle tour fundraiser in 2013. The organization has done some incredible work in the Patagonia region. 
 
Much respect to you, Mr. Tompkins.
 
“… he died doing what he loved.”
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Nepal – Redefined: The Second Contemplation (trailer/teaser)

My brothers Luke Namer + Sebastian Buffa, the duo behind Redefined films, worked alongside the Conscious Impact team, dozens of volunteers, and yours truly in Nepal throughout October and beyond. This is a fresh-out-of-the-oven teaser of their upcoming short documentary on Nepal and specifically, of our dai Dheeraj Mishra of YUWA Unity Nepal, in his home village Takure and family land. Trust me, this will be a treat. Turn up the sound, and enjoy these 128 seconds. I cannot wait to screen the full feature next year.

A story unfolds beyond the numbers. Into deeper understanding, the human and the global community merge. To evolve as workers of a mutual cause, and to relinquish passive viewership.

Redefined: The Second Contemplation.

Screenings this May.

‪#‎ComeToNepal‬ ‪#‎ConsciousImpact‬ ‪#‎ConsciousImpactNepal‬

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Life Update (Nov 6, 2015)

Greetings from Central America! I write this on a bus heading to Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica, where my high school friend Steven’s wedding is happening this weekend.

After my extended stay in Nepal, I caught a sore throat and fever that unfortunately made the journey home quite uncomfortable. Thankfully, I spent 4 days in between the 2 journeys in quality company of old friends and housemates. My body has been restored completely now. A strong dose of nature, rest, good food, even better company, and wanderlust have been perfect cures. Right before departing Kathmandu, I finished a 8-minute film showcasing our work as volunteers and the community of Takure. It is intended to be shown to upcoming and prospective volunteers of Conscious Impact & YUWA, and of course serve as a tribute to all the incredible experiences and progress made collectively in Sept and Oct. I am proud to show this to all the supporters and donors to my fundraiser. Definitely worth noting that all 3 songs were sung and recorded in Takure, and 2 of the songs are original pieces inspired by our time in the village. Turn the sound up!

Upon returning to the U.S. later in Nov, I will continue to organize, edit, and publish content captured in Takure & Nepal. Orion and Juliette have been posting many of my photographs on their personal Facebook profiles as well the Conscious Impact FB page. Luke + Sebastian from Redefined Films were great to work with, and they too will be producing content in the coming weeks/months. One of their videos will showcase Dheeraj, the co-founder of YUWA Unity Nepal and a resident of Takure. It’s looking to be really good. I will keep you all posted with links. I had some sincere, heartfelt conversations with Orion and Allen while in Nepal, and the current intention is for me to return Feb 2016 to pick things up once more. By that time the brick press(es) will be set and producing compressed stabilized earth blocks daily, and thus the reconstruction of the school(s) ought to be well under way. I am so looking forward to it! Attached are some favorites from my last 2 weeks in Nepal. For folks who have selected a print or photo book as perks, we shall be in touch later in November in regards to making all the happen. 🙂 With much gratitude for your support, in whatever quantity and manner, to have made this journey and project, for myself and for so many others I have crossed paths with, not only possible but truly, deeply enriching.

Namaste.

 

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From Takure

The ambient light diffusing into my tent gently woke me up. It was roughly 6 am. The air was damp, but not muggy. I remembered it had rained last night. I remembered being pulled out of a deep sleep as the rain drops spattered onto the nylon rainfly less than a meter above. The rain was light though, soothing. I teleported back into dreamland within seconds. I have slept well almost every night. This rain was particularly welcomed. It hadn’t rained for nearly a week. The transition out of the monsoon season has been quite drastic in these past 5 weeks. The frequency of rain has dropped noticeably, and so has the evening temperatures. Autumn is definitely upon us.

The volunteer camp in the village of Takure in the district of Sindhupalchok has been my home for nearly the past 6 weeks. I have lived out of a small tent, waking up early to the sun everyday to learn, work, and live alongside dozens of volunteers from across the globe. In some weeks there have been only about 15-25 of us. Others 40-55+. We eat a vegetarian, plant-based diet. We drink, shower, and clean with water from a spring further up the hill. Natural resources such as bamboo, wood, sand, clay, and stone are collected from around the community, and if needed, purchased from nearby stores to support local businesses. The diversity of the characters this camp and project has attracted here is truly immense. Equally immense is the hospitality and warmth of the Nepalis, specifically the community members of Takure. We’ve been welcomed into a number of families’ homes and served tea, milk, and sometimes even fresh harvests such as cucumbers with chili salt. Their stories, openness, and humility humble us each and everyday. Describing the essence thus far with any one or even combination of adjectives doesn’t even begin to articulate the full spectrum of humbling and enlightening human experiences I (we) have had.

Today we bid farewell to the 10-day October rebuild volunteers. Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when you have worked, laughed, sang, cooked, sweated, learned, and shared experiences with around the clock day after day. We share the collective vision for global learning and understanding. We seek connections beyond geographical and political boundaries. We are drawn closer by our similarities rather than being divided by our differences in beliefs, genders, and interests. We celebrate the unique journeys and skill sets which we are all on and have. It makes for quite the special bonds. I have certainly made a number of friends for life.

In the following several days, we will be completing the main structure of the training center. The training center is going to be where community members of Takure and folks from all around the region can come and learn about an alternative building material which will be produced on-site. Compressed earth blocks, or CEB for short, is the main product. These blocks are to be made from nearly all local materials, are ecologically and financially sustainable, and very importantly, earthquake-proof. The CEB will first be utilized in rebuilding the 2 local schools, a project which both Conscious Impact​ and YUWA Unity Nepal​ are fully committed to and foresee starting later in November. The vision is to have this training center to be a knowledge-sharing space and marketplace run by villagers of Takure to offer lessons, discussions, and have the earth blocks for sale at a significantly lower cost (as well as ecological footprint) compared to conventional building materials and methods.

I am so proud of my friends’ work in this beautiful, special place. I am filled with awe at the progress we have made in the past month and a half. When you first walk around this village, you may only see physical devastation. Yet as all of us have discovered and experienced, the people living in the temporary structures rebuilt from scrap materials from their fallen homes are more often filled with resilience, joy, and hope. Amazingly, despite having had all but one structure collapse from the earthquakes in April and May, there is not one human casualty in Takure. Rupak​, one of the local young men who has been working with us as well as serve as our interpreter, remarked that this is such a special place that Shiva himself has protected the village. This resonates well with the spirit we have felt through the visits to homes and schools. The community members are thankful for this life and are ready to rebuild better and stronger than before.

The dwindling internet access here at camp has made uploading content and staying connected limited and difficult at best. I apologize for the lack of updates especially these past couple weeks as our internet access went from limited to barely existent. As I (reluctantly) emerge out of the woods from this special place, I will undoubtedly be adding content to this fundraising campaign and on social media. There is so, so much to be shared.

Due to the complex and escalated political and social issues in Nepal these past few weeks, many resources including petro has been a rare commodity throughout the country. Many flights out of Kathmandu have been canceled, including my own. After several days of uncertainty (and some frustration), my departure date has been postponed to October 23 — 6 days later than originally scheduled. This delay allows much-welcomed downtime, further envisioning with Allen​ and Orion​ for what the next year holds for us, in addition to the films we will be able to produce with Luke​ and Sebastian​, the good folks behind Redefined​ Films.

There is 2 and a half days left in the fundraiser. We are so close to the goal. I am overwhelmed by the incredible support from friends and family across over 5 different time zones. I hope you find or have found value in the work that not only I have been doing here in Takure, but we collectively as a conscious movement doing what we all feel is morally and socially the right thing to do. The impact we have made, will continue to here in Nepal and far beyond throughout our lives and those we touch shall spread like ripples on a tranquil pond. I have no doubt this is only the beginning of the greater good we are able to co-create within ourselves and those we touch.

Looking forward, and always enjoying the present moment.

With love and gratitude from Takure,
Jonathan

Indiegogo fundraiser LINK: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rebuilding-learning-and-storytelling-in-nepal/

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Teej Festival

Teej festival in Takure, Sindupalchok district.

Photos and captions by Hannah Markoff.

This is Hannah, here she is receiving a tikka on her forehead. Today is the Teej festival, a day to celebrate women.  A blessing for good health from Shiva was given by one of the local women.

This is Hannah, here she is receiving a tikka on her forehead. Today is the Teej festival, a day to celebrate women. A blessing for good health from Shiva was given by one of the local women.

This is Chelsea, a back bone force of Yuwa Unity and big supporter of Conscious Impact. Pictured here dressed in traditional braman sari for the Teag festival. Red all round.

This is Chelsea, a back bone force of Yuwa Unity and big supporter of Conscious Impact. Pictured here dressed in traditional braman sari for the Teag festival. Red all round.

This is Nita, one of the regular superstar cooks in the conscious impact kitchen. Pictured here with her cousin, dressed up for the Teej Festival.

This is Nita, one of the regular superstar cooks in the conscious impact kitchen. Pictured here with her cousin, dressed up for the Teej Festival.

Pictured here are two of our passionate volunteers, Beth and Sue.

Pictured here are two of our passionate volunteers, Beth and Sue.

This is Mel, one of our rasta loving sydney based volunteers. Pictured here in Nepali dress, playing around with one of the local children at the festival, Santos.

This is Mel, one of our rasta loving sydney based volunteers. Pictured here in Nepali dress, playing around with one of the local children at the festival, Santos.

The women across many communities spent the day inviting us to dance traditional Nepali style with them!

The women across many communities spent the day inviting us to dance traditional Nepali style with them!

This is Rupa, one of the local girls in the village. Most days she ties together leaves in a ball and plays hackie sack better than any of the boys!

This is Rupa, one of the local girls in the village. Most days she ties together leaves in a ball and plays hackie sack better than any of the boys!

This is a snap shot of the closessness that the men in the community share. Male villagers are more affectionate than the women are with each other. It is powerful and beautiful to witness.

This is a snap shot of the closessness that the men in the community share. Male villagers are more affectionate than the women are with each other. It is powerful and beautiful to witness.

This man spent the day drumming for the ladies of the village to sing and dance to in celebration of Teej.

This man spent the day drumming for the ladies of the village to sing and dance to in celebration of Teej.

This is Saati, an indian princess who is giving up her time to volunteer with us. She spent the day sharing stories with us  about the love between Hindu gods Shiva and Paravati.

This is Saati, an indian princess who is giving up her time to volunteer with us. She spent the day sharing stories with us about the love between Hindu gods Shiva and Paravati.

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Agriculture Walk through Takure

My second photo story in working with Conscious Impact and YUWA Unity Nepal in the village of Takure in Sindupalchok district. A few of us joined Dheeraj, one of the co-directors of YUWA Unity Nepal, for a walk around the village to see the edible crops grown here, how food is managed and harvested, and how we can work towards creating an ag site near the volunteer camp to provide local nutrition.

Photos by yours truly. Captions by Erin and I.

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Dheeraj explains the local bamboos- two types used in village – thick for building temporary structures; thin “weaver’s bamboo” used for basket making. Large bamboo takes 3-5 years of growth for structural maturity.

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Dried rice plant – stored and used for making floor mats. Rice is eaten by families and rice husks can be fed to cows to increase milk production.

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Goats- female goats kept with family; male goats sold for meat after one year.

Goats provide milk, meat, as well as useful manure to create compost for plants.

Goats provide milk, meat, as well as useful manure to create compost for plants.

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Okra and Chili Peppers at the Mishra residence. They have many edible plants and utilize every plantable space horizontal and vertical space in the vicinity of their home.

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We crossed paths with dede near her home as she was harvesting. She stopped her chores and went to cut up a cucumber with served it to us with salt mixed with chili powder.

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Dheeraj standing by the coffee tree that he planted when he was 7 years old.

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Coffee beans on the tree that Dheeraj planted. About 1-2 months from harvesting. Typical harvest months are November-December.

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Tree tomatoes. Other edible trees include walnut, fig, plum, coffee, orange, dwarf lemon, guava, mango, plum, peach, and grapefruit.

Millet is commonly seen in Takore district (terraces) used as a flour in a variety of dishes, most commonly in a simple water mixture that is then drank. Requires less water than rice. Can also be used as a substitution for wheat flour in any recipe.

Millet – Most commonly seen in Takore district (terraces) used as a flour in a variety of dishes, most commonly in a simple water mixture that is then drank. Requires less water than rice. Can also be used as a substitution for wheat flour in any recipe. Rice is grown later in the year after the millet has been harvested.

Auntie carries grasses for animal food. Locals spend much of their time collecting food for the animals and carrying it back to their homes. Animals cannot be herded to the fields, as they would indiscriminately eat plants meant for human consumption.

Auntie carries grasses for animal food. Locals spend much of their time collecting food for the animals and carrying it back to their homes. Animals cannot be herded to the fields, as they would indiscriminately eat plants meant for human consumption.

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Phakash explains to us the mechanism and creation of bio gas from cow, buffalo, and even human manure.

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Deraj’s friend- Suresh- studied together since first grade- using his land to cultivate different plants which he in turn sells to local villagers to transplant into their own gardens.

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Squash – needs extra support from supplementary plants and structures; a trellace, neighboring tree, or barn structure housing a water buffalo are examples of where squash can be seen climbing and organically growing to large sizes (Seen on Deraj’s land amidst various trees and foliage including a blackberry bush, tomatoes, corn) – all examples of layering plants and utilizing the land efficiently and sustainably.

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Water buffaloes. A major part in grain production and source of useful manure for compost. Adults as well as children spend much time collecting food for the animals and carrying it back to their homes. Animals cannot be herded to the fields, as they would indiscriminately eat plants meant for human consumption. Notice the squash plant overtaking the rooftop.

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Stinging nettles along the side of the road. Nepalis use nettles, however we did not see it grown in visible quantities. 

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Eggplant.

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The mother of Deraj’s childhood friend- he describes her like a second mother and calls her “Amma” – She learns that the Conscious Impact volunteers have discovered and appreciate the local bitter gourd delight and climbs onto her roof to harvest all the ripe pieces for Deraj to take to the volunteer camp.

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Tulsi. Considered a sacred plant by Nepalis. Often planted in front of families’ homes.

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This auntie welcomed us into their home and served us sweet black tea.

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Dheeraj in his elements.

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Before earthquake corn was dried inside homes in “corn houses”. Without the space post-earthquake families now dry corn by hanging outside on lines. This was the traditional practice farmers were able to revert back to.

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Corn is used for both animal and human consumption- family eats the best of the harvest and the rest is made into a powder and fed to animals.

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Surplus isn’t common, but can be sold if available. Dried corn is roasted to produce something like popcorn, but it can also be roasted before drying and eaten from the cob.

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Auntie and her family brought out a dish of freshly grilled corn for us to enjoy as we helped peel the dried corn cobs. Cheers!

Learn more about the work that I, Conscious Impact, and YUWA Unity Nepal are doing:
www.consciousimpact.org
www.yuwaunitynepal.org

Also on Facebook “Conscious Impact” and “YUWA Unity Nepal” and Instagram (@consciousimpact, @subtledream).

I am currently running a fundraiser for my work with these great organizations, and you would be able to support all of our work and get prints of my photographs in Nepal through it. Please check out https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rebuilding-learning-and-storytelling-in-nepal/ to find out.

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The Mishra Family

My first photo story in working with Conscious Impact and YUWA Unity Nepal in the village of Takure in Sindupalchok district. 5 volunteers including myself and our interpreter visited the Mishra family about a week ago. Here is their story.
“Our family was eating dal baht (lunch) when the earthquake happened. We ran to our open field/terrace and watched our home crumble. I injured my foot while trying to run. We lived under a tarp for 1 month while we built a new (temporary) house of wood and other scrap materials. The earthquake collapsed our animals shed and 6 of our goats died. We found the cow stuck under the collapsed roof and helped her get out. She was not badly injured and was still able to give birth not long after. Most of our crop land was also ruined but we had some crop survive.”
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Sanjana, our Nepali interpreter from Kathmandu, provides essential translation and interpretation for us and the Mishra family.

 

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Mama Mishra stands at the one of the front doors of the new temporary home they built after the April/May 2015 earthquake. She owns and runs a tailor shop where she makes 3 to 4 dresses a day.

 

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Mama and granddaughter Mishra was visiting the family in Takure for the Teej festival. They usually live and work in Kathmandu, and come to Takure for various festivals throughout the year.

 

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Grandmother Mishra joyfully describing us about the Teej festival the following day (Sept 16) and all the dancing and singing that will be involved at home and at the temple.

 

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The Teej festival is a celebration that takes place in western and northern India as well as Nepal primarily by girls and women in dedication to Goddess Parvati and her union with Lord Shiva. The Mishra family is already in their festival dresses and jewelry and is getting into the festive mood. Grandma Mishra is telling us about the good food that they’ll have today since most women fast during the Teej festival day in hopes for the long life of their (future) husband.

 

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Steph, one of the Conscious Impact & YUWA Unity Nepal volunteers, with auntie Kamala and Astha.

 

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Astha, the 9-year old granddaughter of the Mishra family, lives and goes to school in Kathmandu. Although shy and reserved at first, she speaks great English and eventually got talking with us about what she likes to do and studies in school. At several points, she event helped translate what her mother and grandmother was saying.

 

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3 generations of Mishra women in front of their almost-5 month-old temporary home built from scarp wood and other materials they were able to salvage from their fallen house. It is Conscious Impact and YUWA Unity Nepal’s priority goal at the moment to build a training center where compressed earth blocks (CEB) will be made and distributed to families here and beyond to rebuild.

Learn more about the work that I, Conscious Impact, and YUWA Unity Nepal are doing:
www.consciousimpact.org
www.yuwaunitynepal.org
Also on Facebook “Conscious Impact” and “YUWA Unity Nepal” and Instagram (@consciousimpact, @subtledream).

I am currently running a fundraiser for my work with these great organizations, and you would be able to support all of our work and get prints of my photographs in Nepal through it. Please check out https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rebuilding-learning-and-storytelling-in-nepal/ to find out.

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Greetings from Takure, Sindhapocuk, Nepal!

Hello directly from the village of Takure! I’ve been here for 5 days. We are currently about 20 people from the US, Australia, Britain, Bulgaria, Italy, and New Zealand. We have architects, builders, botanists, logistics experts, educators, university students, and many more with various skills and passions in the group. Everyone is working together with YUWA Unity Nepal plus members from the community of Takure to create and improve our volunteer camp and the foundations of the future training center (and later, the school). The training center is going to serve as a hub for villagers as well as visitors to learn, co-create, and develop ideas to build and maintain structures with compressed earth blocks and other environmentally sustainable and economically viable methods.

In a couple days, 5-6 more volunteers will join us, while from September 16-25, there will be another 12 or so volunteers converging to really get the momentum going on the training center. It is a very exciting time to be here learning, collaborating, and regenerating the spirit of the people and the structures in the years to come.

One of my roles has been to help out with various physical tasks, such as leveling the ground to build a composting latrine and garden space, gathering stones from a collapsed roof of a nearby house to be reused for other projects. It’s noteworthy that 245 out of 245 houses in Takure sustained minor or major damage.

The other task has been to become familiarized with the local environment and culture while documenting the cross-cultural collaboration as we move forward. The physical damages are very apparent even nearly 5 months after the initial shake, but the spirit of the people here and all around Nepal appear to be strong and hopeful. Rice continues to thrive in the rice paddy fields, goats keep munching on foliage, while day to day business rolls on and kids play on the streets.

I am feeling extremely grateful to BE here surrounded by such eagerness, positivity, and diversity of folks to have this synergistic experience. With over a month left in the fundraiser and less than half way to the goal, I have no doubt that we will reach it and beyond. Thank YOU for every contribution and effort to bring this into reality for myself and so many others here in Takure, and more. I am (we are) so, so appreciative of your support in any form.

In the meantime, please enjoy the attached photos since landing in Nepal.

Kathmandu

Melamchi

Takure

 

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