Visions of the heart of the Himalayas

"Lost Kingdoms of Nepal … Burma … and Cambodia"travelogue at COTR April 8 and 16.

Above: David and Patricia Stock (in back row) are pictured at the school in Kutal

Above: David and Patricia Stock (in back row) are pictured at the school in Kutal

It was in the fall of 2008, after his first trip to Nepal, that David Stock broached the subject of forming a group to help the very poor people they had met there. His wife Patricia came up with the name and The Canadian Friends of Nepal was created.

With the help of 14 of their friends plus family, the money collected from their first fundraiser was sent to Nepal. At that time the group assisted nine families and the school in the village of their guide, Bishnu.

Since that time, The Canadian Friends of Nepal has grown to 73 people and family members who contribute at various times. There are now 12 families and the school that the group supports.

In February of 2009 they presented their first slide show at the college to raise money for one of the two fundraisers they have each year. David puts hundreds of hours into making the DVD travelogues and tries to make them as entertaining as possible.

In the Fall of 2011, Gordon Terrace School in Cranbrook offered to get involved and raise money for the little school in the village of Kutal, which is 32 kilometres from Kathmandu. Through many fundraising events and the collection of Canadian Tire Money ( which was doubled by the head office in Toronto) the school raised  $6,000 that year. Work was begun on a three-room addition to the Nepali school that will be used for three- to five-year-old children. All the villagers volunteered their time and most of the work was done by hand. With the money raised they were able to construct the shell of the building.

This year Gordon Terrace School is helping again. Their goal is to help buy doors, windows, plaster, paint, school furniture and a washroom for the addition. Work has started on this part of the project and  will be completed soon.

To help with the fundraising The Canadian Friends of Nepal will be showing the latest DVD presentation “Lost Kingdoms of Nepal … Burma … and Cambodia,” on Monday April 8, and Tuesday April 16, at 7 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre at the College of the Rockies.

Both shows are being sponsored by the College of the Rockies International Department.

This presentation is of David and Patricia’s fall 2012 trip. The first part of the adventure was to the Upper Mustang area of Nepal near the border of Tibet. This area is more Tibetan than Tibet because there is no Chinese presence. The former “Forbidden Kingdom” is still a restricted area that requires each foreigner to pay 50 U.S. dollars a day for a pass into the region. David describes it as a remote, spectacular, high mountain desert that resembles the Grand Canyon and the Alberta Badlands with the Himalayas all around. They then traveled to Myanmar ( Burma ) where great political changes are going on. The country is changing quickly and tourists are starting to once again be able to visit the incredible ancient cultures that populated the former British Colony.

They finished their trip by flying to Cambodia and doing an in depth tour of the Killing Fields and the ancient temples of Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. Words cannot begin to describe these World Heritage sites.

Admission to the travelogue is by donation and all funds received will be put into The Canadian Friends of Nepal June fundraiser. Also, Gordon Terrace School students and staff will be selling  small 5 dollar cloth “travel bags” filled with soap, shampoo, and other travel essentials to raise money for their Nepal school project.