Here is the video footage from my first trip out to the village of Gogane with the Active Hearts Himalaya team, just days after the first massive earthquake hit Nepal.
Here is storyline, in case you want to read along…
For millions of Nepali people, this unbelievable nightmare is their reality.
Homes and land destroyed, families torn apart, and everything they’ve ever known in their modest lives, is now either gone or changed forever.
The village of Gogane is one of the hundreds of communities outside Kathmandu that were devastated by the earthquakes.
Unlike many of the surrounding villages however, Gogane, was one of the fortunate ones.
And that’s thanks in large part to this man…
Dan Keys is a long-time Himalayas trekking guide who started Active Hearts Himalaya with fellow guides and porters from Gogane, to fund and facilitate a new library within the village.
However, one week before it was scheduled to open, a massive earthquake hit Nepal, and destroyed the library and entire village around it.
This is the story about how Active Hearts Himalaya became the catalyst for Gogane’s survival…
I joined Dan and the Active Hearts team already on the ground in Kathmandu – Sourcing and purchasing supplies with money from the initial charity donations.
We bought a generator, tarps, food, water, sleeping mats, and all the most immediate resources needed.
We packed it all up into giant duffle bags and loaded them between two jeeps to make our first delivery out to the village.
It isn’t until you leave the city that you can see first-hand just how badly Nepal was effected by the quakes.
Roads were cracked, homes were flattened and makeshift shelters spread across open fields.
As we continued, the scenes got more and more disheartening, and path itself proved to be difficult..
We made the best of a minor setback by having some fun with the local kids in the area, before the boys came down from our village to pick us up…
But, a few miles up the bumpy dirt path, we hit another problem when the truck crossed over a new crack in the road and almost tipped down a steep embankment.
We managed to tie the truck to a tree and pile rocks under the cliffside wheels to save it from falling over night and quickly moved our supplies off the truck and into the village before a massive storm hit that evening.
The trip out to the village proved how difficult it will be to send aid to this region.
The morning sunshine brought my first glimpse of Gogane… a beautiful and humble village up in the mountains – and a true community in every sense of the word.
Over the next few days we had a lot of work to get done, so while the villagers were busy cleaning out their homes and putting up shelters, we focused on distributing supplies and giving medical attention.
We setup a make-shift medical center in the middle of town and over the next few days, our two nurses worked relentlessly to attend to hundreds of people.
They saw everyone from old men to newborn babies, and broken limbs and cavities.
Meanwhile, the rest of our team worked with the village leaders to distribute rice and other supplies.
We gave out phone cards for people to call their families outside the village and direct donations to those who needed it most.
It was incredible to see how thankful and appreciative the entire village was.
And in the afternoons, when the work was all done for the day, we’d run around with the kids and give everyone an escape from reality for a little while.
Our efforts are a drop in the bucket compared to how much devastation there is here in Nepal, but to this village, and a few surrounding communities, this effort means everything.
We would return to Kathmandu to source more supplies and find better shelter options in the coming day, but not before being forever changed by this experience.
The Nepali people have an unbelievable spirit filled with love, compassion and an unwavering ability to persevere.
They handle absolute chaos and destruction with remarkable poise and control.
But, this is only the beginning for them. They still have a village, a school and a life to rebuild.
It’s an incredibly difficult task to take on, but hopefully, with help from village leaders, the Active Hearts Team and future volunteers and donors, this beautiful place will one day be whole again.
From myself, the team, and everyone in Gogane, thank you for your support.