Author Archive for: ‘Jake Norton’

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“I had no work before the #earthquake,…

“I had no work before the #earthquake, but now I do. So, there was some good in it for me. But, I work all day and make only 500 rupees (roughly $5). Life is hard in #Nepal,” said Ram. He and several others were hard at work cleaning rubble below two collapsed houses in #Machhapokhari, #Kathmandu. Of the many projects needing to be done in post-earthquake Nepal, one of the big and pressing ones is figuring out what to do with the rubble and debris of collapsed buildings. #buildbackbetter #HelpCarryTheLoad #nepaliloveyou #everydayasia #everydaynepal #nepalphotoproject #nepalquake

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He built his home 40 or so…

He built his home 40 or so years ago for 500 rupees. A traditional, two story home of rubble masonry skimmed with ochre mud and accented with local timbers, the house stands out today because it is one of the few traditional homes in #Mankhu, #Dhading, that withstood the intense shaking of the April 25 #earthquake. Our #conservation #architects, Randolph Langenbach and Dipendra Gautam, quicly figured out a possible reason why: a band of timber running through the masonry coupled with a second story diaphragm at ceiling level. Combined, these two elements allowed the structure to sway with the shaking earth but not crumble outward like similar structures. Why did he incorporate that basic timber-lacing when others did not? “Someone told me it would be stronger,” he said with a smile. Forty years, two strong earthquakes, and hundreds of aftershocks later, his house is a testament to the simple elements that can be cost-effectively added to a structure – being built or rebuilt – that give it greater strength, lower injury potential, and still allow for a traditional look. The #gabion band technique we did on Ram Sunar’s house is a variant on this same theme, and hopefully will catch on as people rebuild in rural #Nepal. @clarkliesl @mreverest7x @jibanghimire @mountainfund #herfarm

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I watched him as he inspected the…

I watched him as he inspected the gabion bands built into Ram Sunar’s home. Similar in concept to the timber lacing that has helped buildings survive earthquakes in Kashmir, Bam, and elsewhere, gabion wire to make the bands can be locally sourced and is financially doable for Nepal’s rural poor. Construction is not complicated, requiring implementation of one band per story, helping reinforce small village homes. The man’s home, like Ram’s, had been leveled by the quake. Ram is a #Dalit, this man a #Brahmin; apparently, earthquakes ignore #caste hierarchies. After a bit of discussion about the merits and cost effectiveness of gabion bands in rebuilding his home, the gentleman kindly informed me he’d rebuild in the traditional way, with no changes, no gabion bands, no reinforcement. I asked, “Why?”, and the reply was simple the ubiquitous and coy South Asian head wobble. Perhaps old habits die hard. Perhaps the man couldn’t fathom rebuilding his Brahmin home to replicate that of a Dalit. Perhaps, as the girls from Her Farm told me, the locals are slow to adopt new techniques, despite the promise that they are stronger and more resistance to quakes. As the man walked off, Ram surveyed his home with pride, marveling at the progress from broken rubble to livable, stable structure in just a few days. With luck, the home of this humble, kind young man can be a model for others to copy as they rebuild today – before the next earthquake proves its utility. #buildbackbetter #Nepal #nepaliloveyou #liveyouradventure #HelpCarryTheLoad @clarkliesl @mreverest7x #herfarm #Mankhu #Dhading #themountainfund

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Sometimes, the universe confirms a good deed….

Sometimes, the universe confirms a good deed. Upon arrival in #Mankhu, our conservation architect, Randolph Langenbach, and Nepali engineer Dipendra Gautam, found the home of Ram Sunar. A #Dalit, or low-caste man, Ram is a subsistence farmer with few means. His home was leveled in the April 25th #NepalQuake. He gladly accepted our offer to help him with rebuilding his family home using Randolph’s gabion band structure, which mimics the timber-laced construction in #Kashmir, #Bam, and elsewhere that survived similar quakes. After two days of work in the intense heat and humidity of monsoon in the middle hills, the team of local masons have gotten most of the first floor finished. Ram’s house, once finished, will not only be more #earthquake resistant, but also a showcase home for others who need to rebuild in the village. Yesterday’s afternoon #rainbow, arcing through the sky and right toward Ram’s home brought a smile to all our faces. Small steps, but each one counts. #nepaliloveyou #HelpCarryTheLoad #buildbackbetter #liveyouradventure

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As I sit here in #Mankhu, #Dhading,…

As I sit here in #Mankhu, #Dhading, I’m thinking of my grandmother, Dorothy Gaines Milnor, who passed from this world around the time when I stared up at the dazzling Milky Way from a silent perch in #Mustang. She was an amazing woman, who lived a long and full 95 years, with many of the last focused on battling through pain from crippling arthritis – a pain she would not give in to, living alone in her home in Illinois until she died. It was she who introduced me to #Nepal, having traveled here by chance during the Spring Awakening of 1991. Her stories of this magnificent country encouraged me to come here with family for my first time the following year. She was not a perfect person, as she’d readily admit (and who is, afterall?), but she was an inspiring one, and taught me volumes about life and experience and learning about our world and it’s people. I take solace in knowing her spirit is up there somewhere, in one of the myriad stars dotting the night sky wherever I go. I miss you Grandma, and I thank you for the years of love, laughter, adventure, and sharing. #goneisntgone #liveyouradventure #nepaliloveyou #HelpCarryTheLoad

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A remarkable week spent in the high country caves of #Mustang, #Nepal, with @clarkliesl, @mreverest7x, and a great team of #archaeologists and adventurers. It was my first visit to Mustang, but certainly won't be my last. An ancient kingdom nestled in the rain shadow of #Annapurna and #Dhaulagiri, Mustang has the climate of the #Tibetan Plateau and the topography of southern #Utah. Near #Chuksang, we explored caves, found amazing artifacts and human remains of ancient peoples, and had great times with wonderful people. Just one more of many reasons to #visitnepal. | In this photo, #Nilgiri rises above the village of #Tangbe, while the wild and powerful #Kali #Gandaki weaves it's way southward.

A remarkable week spent in the high…

A remarkable week spent in the high country caves of #Mustang, #Nepal, with @clarkliesl, @mreverest7x, and a great team of #archaeologists and adventurers. It was my first visit to Mustang, but certainly won’t be my last. An ancient kingdom nestled in the rain shadow of #Annapurna and #Dhaulagiri, Mustang has the climate of the #Tibetan Plateau and the topography of southern #Utah. Near #Chuksang, we explored caves, found amazing artifacts and human remains of ancient peoples, and had great times with wonderful people. Just one more of many reasons to #visitnepal. | In this photo, #Nilgiri rises above the village of #Tangbe, while the wild and powerful #Kali #Gandaki weaves it’s way southward. #liveyouradventure #nepaliloveyou #HelpCarryTheLoad

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Just a quick #S5 shot while taking…

Just a quick #S5 shot while taking a timelapse last night looking up the braided #Kali #Gandaki River above #Kagbeni. Amazing countryside here in #Mustang, a place I’ve dreamed of visiting for years. And, an honor to be here with archaeologists uncovering keys to the rich history of the area and of #Nepal. Little to no #earthquake damage here – yet another reason and place to #visitnepal. #liveyouradventure #everydaynepal @clarkliesl @mreverest7x

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“Travel is fatal to prejudice…” Those insightful…

“Travel is fatal to prejudice…” Those insightful words are perhaps the most critical reason we should travel, be across the tracks or around the world t meet with those on the other side. What we find is generally deep and profound similarity veiled by stark differences in language, faith, clothing, custom, and skin. But, underneath those assumed or genetic, and ultimately superficial, differences, we find that people are people, with the same needs and desires, regardless of location, look, and belief. But, to find that, we have to travel, and then we have to talk. Sri Gopal Giri-ji Maharaj, pictured here, is a prime example. From first glance, he could not be more different than me; we are both the epitome of exotic in comparison to one another. But, beneath the veil, we’re much the same. Over an hour of sharing tea, we talked and laughed, shared pictures of family and travels, discussed politics and the devastation of the #NepalQuake, and then went our separate ways. Travel, explore, connect. Great to be back in Nepal with @clarkliesl @mreverest7x and more!#travelisfataltoprejudice #liveyouradventure #nepaliloveyou #nepalphotoproject #sadhu #Pashupatinath #Kathmandu #Nepal

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I went to a #war zone today….

I went to a #war zone today. Perhaps not a “real” one in terms of bombs going off and people fighting one another. But, it is a war zone nonetheless. #Bhaktapur, one of my favorite places in the world, took the brunt of destruction in the #NepalQuake. A #medieval city of narrow, brick street winding through ancient #Newar homes with intricate woodwork, huge parts of Bhaktapur were leveled in the #earthquake. This neighborhood, just a stone’s throw from famed #Dattatreya Square and the Peacock Window (which fortunately survived) used to have dozens of 4-story homes. It’s now just piles of shattered brick and splintered timber. A war zone indeed, and one in which recovery is a long and difficult road. #HelpCarryTheLoad #nepaliloveyou #liveyouradventure #dattatreyatemple #everydaynepal #everydayasia #nepalphotoproject #buildbackbetter

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I'd love to know her story, hear her tales and insights and inspirations. But, in the years I've met her and spoken to her and given her donations, she's never replied much. She speaks only #Tibetan, and I only #Nepali (and some English on a good day), and she seems hesitant to discuss even if we could. So I content myself with a deep smile, a tashi delek, and receipt of a blessing from her wizened soul. Sometimes, that is more than enough.

I’d love to know her story, hear…

I’d love to know her story, hear her tales and insights and inspirations. But, in the years I’ve met her and spoken to her and given her donations, she’s never replied much. She speaks only #Tibetan, and I only #Nepali (and some English on a good day), and she seems hesitant to discuss even if we could. So I content myself with a deep smile, a tashi delek, and receipt of a blessing from her wizened soul. Sometimes, that is more than enough. #nepaliloveyou #nepalphotoproject #bodhanath #HelpCarryTheLoad #thestoriesafacecantell

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