Our hearts are in Nepal

destroyed house in Ranagaun
Destruction in the town of Ranagaun, Nepal.

When I checked the news on my iPad this past Saturday morning, I was dismayed to learn of a huge earthquake in Nepal. I grew up in Japan, where earthquakes are rightly respected, and where our school had elaborate drills in place that we ran through several times a year. So I knew that 7.8 was huge.

I immediately thought of Ranagaun, the village in the foothills of the Himalayas that I had visited two years ago. Entrepreneurial women in this village had had great success with our integrated pest management techniques, producing much healthier vegetables and many more of them.

woman with cauliflower
Happier times: This woman was able to grow much better cauliflower using new techniques.

In fact, one woman had done so well selling vegetables that she had built a nice big house with a brick patio out front. We sat on the patio cross-legged on a cool February day and listened to her tell of her good fortune, and the women’s cooperative that she was a part of.

Now, we have learned, many of the structures in this village have fallen. Our partner, the NGO International Development Enterprises-Nepal (iDE-Nepal), has informed us that all of their staff are safe. While they are not a relief organization, they have distributed food and plastic in villages where they are active, including Ranagaun.

distributing supplies
An employee of iDE, our partner in Nepal, distributes supplies.

As the photo here attests, the residents are very creative in constructing shelters using the plastic.

plastic-covered shelter
Villagers have used plastic to construct a makeshift shelter.

Survival is the first order of business, of course. But we hope that the farmers can get back in the fields soon and resume the work that gives them such great satisfaction.

farm family
Before the quake: Farmers stand proudly in their field.

We are all wondering how we can donate to earthquake relief. iDE suggests donating to their organization: http://www.ideorg.org/ .

Here are other ways:

  1. Seven vetted charities doing relief work
  2. Hope Worldwide

(All photos are courtesy Bimala Rai Colavito, of iDE-Nepal.)

* * *
Here is a success story from our IPM Innovation Lab work in Nepal:
Healthier Families, Higher Incomes: A women’s farmer group in Nepal reaps the benefits of IPM

And here is a post I wrote from Nepal, on the trip I mention above:
Important people: your traveling companions

Our hearts are in Nepal