The Mountain Fund

The mission of The Mountain Fund is to eliminate poverty, its causes and symptoms, in developing mountain communities around the world.
May 15, 2015

Earthquake again hits us

3 generations in makeshift kitchen in the village
3 generations in makeshift kitchen in the village

It was all going so well. We were getting everyone food, temporary shelter, cash if needed and everyone was starting to plan the future. The tremors had finally stopped and the nervousness that had hung in the air for nearly two weeks was subsiding. Then, it came again. Like a hungry monster back to finish it’s meal the second quake stunned all of us. There was very little property damage here in the villages as there wasn’t much left standing from the first quake to knock down. What was knocked down this time were peoples spirits. A pall hangs over the village and no one can quite summon the energy to get up and begin again, yet again.

At Her Farm we are doing our best to help others cope with the trauma of a huge second quake. For the children we’ve held grography classes and talked about what causes earthquakes. For older youth I’ve given them some very basic lessons in using a video camera and sent them out to interview others in the village, to get them to express what’s inside them. We started reconstruction on the toilet facilities at the school as well in the hope that it may now open the end of May, or that’s the new schedule.

It all feels inadequate, it’s going to take more time this time around. The first quake was a horrible shock, the weeks of ongoing tremors kept that reality alive in everyone’s mind, but then for a while, a very short while, it was calm. 

May 11, 2015

Rebuilding of Mankhu

We have now visited every home in the village and interviewed each family to ascertain their needs. Thus far we've provided food and emergency shelter to 370 families and have our 3rd truckload of food arriving today.

There are 200 homes to rebuild here. Our estimate is that on average people need $500 in building materials after factoring in what can be reused from the damaged homes. Sand, cement, wood, roofing material, some electrical parts and steel rebar are the most needed items.

People are anxious to start rebuilding now. They have family based work groups organized so that all labor will go to repair first one family member home, then the next and the next.

The village is looking to us for help with materials. Few had any savings to draw from and there's no such thing as homeowner insurance here. So many have come to us asking if we would make them a loan to rebuild. I have little faith that people can ever repay such loans but I am so impressed that they aren't flat asking for handouts and would ask for a loan in the first place. I'm touched, moved and inspired by the gentle people of this village.

Please help us to help them rebuild their homes and lives.

May 4, 2015

On the ground in Mankhu village, Dhading District

Hundreds Homeless
Hundreds Homeless
It’s been a week since a powerful earthquake shook the tiny village of, where our project Her Farm is located. While the news stories here in Nepal are Kathmandu-centric, the loss in the villages is beyond comprehension. About 85Mankhu% of the population of Nepal lives in rural villages like Mankhu. Houses here are built of stone and mud and lack the structural integrity to stand against the incredible forces that befell us one week ago with tremors continuing till this time. Of the 200 homes in Mankhu, perhaps 20 survived. For the residents, all is lost. Household possessions, clothing, food stores and even seeds for this years crops are buried beneath stone and mud. 
Mountain Fund has provided supplies for temporary shelter to nearly every family needing it in this village and many in the neighboring village of Goganpani as well where the loss of housing is equally great. Tarps and tin roofing have been provided with more of such supplies due to be delivered soon. We’ve brought up from the valley below, over a very rough road 4km long, sacks of rice, beans, soya and other foodstuffs.  It was all gone in a day to the homes here and we have another truckload on the way.
Power is now mostly restored in the village. We have 3 families living in the schoolhouse at Her Farm and dozens more in a tent city on our land. For the villagers the rebuilding will be a slow and difficult process. These are subsistence farmers with very little cash money. While walking through the village and surveying the loss two days ago with a young man who lives here, I commented that his family is lucky since 4 out of the 14 people in his home have cash paying jobs.  He replied back to me, “Uncle, that’s just enough to feed us all.”  I asked what the family will do to rebuild their home and he replied, I don’t know. 
Two people perished here in the quake and several were injured, though not seriously. If the quake had struck in the evening when people were inside of their homes, the losses would have been staggering. 
A baby was born in the village today, a sign that for all the carnage of the past week and the hardships the people here have endured, life does go on and will go on. Mountain Fund is headquartered in the village and we will be here to help in the aftermath and will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our neighbors to rebuild their homes, theirs lives. It will take months of effort but Mankhu will rise. 
Thank you for your support and concern in this dark hour. Together we will see the darkness go and light appear.

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