The Foundation tackles Everest Base Camp

The Foundation tackles Everest Base Camp

Two members of Fine & Country will be bracing themselves for the toughest Foundation expedition yet, on 12th-26th October this year. Volunteers have so far conquered marathons, 200 mile cycle rides and a number of other challenges in aid of the Foundation and homelessness, but none as treacherous as the trek to Everest Base Camp.

Sean Newman and Clint Nykamp from Fine & Country West Midlands will set off on their two week adventure in October, along with another five friends to form a group of seven. They will see some spectacular sites and test their endurance as they march their way to all the checkpoints. They will cross Dudh Kosi, the Milk River, and see the majestic sites of the Nuptse-Lhotse ridge. 

The Milk River

The Fine & Country Foundation is working with Campbell’s Foundation in Nepal which has been operating in the village since reconstruction began in 2015. The team of seven are all sponsoring families within the village. We are given frequent updates from the village, allowing us to learn the individual stories for each family.

What is the relevance of Everest?
The Guardian reported on Sunday 26th April, “Climbers at the Mount Everest base camp – and others trapped higher on its slopes – were locked in a desperate effort to treat injured colleagues caught in a devastating avalanche that swept through the encampment after being triggered by Saturday’s powerful earthquake. 

With at least 17 people believed to have been killed on Everest, and 61 injured, climbers in the camp sent frantic messages calling for helicopter assistance to evacuate the most badly wounded.

There are around 100 climbers at camps 1 and 2 on Mount Everest, above base camp, and all are safe after an earthquake set off an avalanche, the head of the Nepal Mountaineering Association said on Sunday.

Twenty-two of the most seriously injured at the base camp were taken by helicopter to Pheriche village, the nearest medical facility, Ang Tshering said on Sunday. However, bad weather and communications were hampering more helicopter sorties.

It will also be difficult to evacuate the climbers above base camp as the route back through the Khumbu Icefall was blocked, Tshering told Reuters.
The route through the Khumbu Icefall – which is fixed annually with ropes and ladders and gives access to the higher slopes – appeared to have been badly damaged.”

The disaster from April 2015

Team Thangpalot’s training
The team of seven have been training hard to prepare for Everest Base Camp. They are beginning their trek on the 12th October for two weeks. The group will be climbing to 5,634 metres above sea level and experiencing ever-changing weather conditions, high winds and freezing temperatures.
All the team have taken this challenge seriously. Paul Campbell has been using a personal trainer three times a week while Sean Newman has bought an altitude mask to adjust his body to the thin oxygen. 

Paul has recorded a Facebook Live video of his last gym sesson with Marek, his personal trainer. 

The team have travelled to the Brecon Beacons and to ease their way into the climbing.

Sean, Dean, Simon and Paul are returning from Marrakech today after their three-day hike in the Atlas Mountains. The altitude training proved to be incredibly useful to mentally prepare the team for their 12-day journey beginning one week today. Additionally, there are items that they didn't think to bring which will prove essential at Everest Base Camp, including lip balm. The Atlas Mountains provided a range of weather conditions over the three days, from boiling heat, to heavy rain and then freezing temperatures with snow. Medically, Paul suffered with his knees whilst all the team felt the pains of altitude sickness. The group had to think hard about regulating their water and calorie intake which proved difficult in Marrakech resulting in weight loss and weakness on the hike. 

Sean has filmed a great video of their training. The scale of how far they walked and the gradient is made clear when he points out Simon and Paul walking. They have taken a look at a the debris of a plane that crash and scattered across the mountain. 

(Left to right: Simon, Sean, Dean and Paul)

House no.27 – Jayram Tamang
Simon Hawkesley is raising money for Jayram who 70 years old. He lost his parents before he was 9, and his wife died before he could reach 25. He has no family and lives in a corrugated shack with his chicken, Kukhura. He is a farmer who supplements his income by labouring, such as carrying bags of rice, selling fish.

Jayram and Kukruha are looking forward to their new home

House no.28 – Dok Dok Tamang
Paul Campbell is training hard to support Dok Dok, a honey-seller who supports his father, wife and child. We have a short video about Dok Dok and his story. 

House no.29 – Kamsung Tamang
Sean Newman is sponsoring Kamsung and his family. Kamsung is 35 years old and lost his father and sister in the earthquake in 2015. He is looking after his wife and three children. They are all working hard to prepare their plot for their new home. Kamsung’s wife walks one hour and back to collect sand for construction. Carrying one sack at a time requires tiresome a number of journeys each week. Sean has created two fantastic videos to explain what he is doing and why it means so much to him, please watch the first video here. and watch the second short video here
They have recorded a video to say thank you and explain their story:

Kamsung's family want to thank everyone for their support

House no.31 – Jeetay’s brother
Dean Thornicroft is raising money to help Jeetay’s brother. Jeetay is one of our project co-ordinators who helps to determine which families are the most in need of assistance. Jeetay’s brother is waiting for a new home for his family so that they are settled and comfortable. This will allow him to earn money in another country to send his children to school. 

This video shows the shack that he currently lives in and his future plans.

House no.33 – Koko Tamang
Clint Nykamp is helping Koko, a 66 year old skilled labourer. His wife and two daughters are already married and he lives with his wife who we can see below.

Koko is being interviewed by Renzen, our project manager in the village. Watch the video here. 

Koko's wife is awaiting her new home

House no.34 – Akash Tamang
Sean Newman is sponsoring a second family. Akash is a 33-year-old who support his parents, wife and two children. He is a farmer who supplements his income by labouring. We offered to build him a house, but he insisted that he neighbours receive one first because they were in more desperate need. He is a proud man with a big heart and now it is his turn to get a new home.

Take a look at a short video here showing the shack that Akash currently lives in set in the background and the site of his new home to the right-hand side. The new plot is where his old house stood. In the video you can see that the site is completely flattened, as if a house never stood.

House no.35 – Widower
Pepe Kenth is raising money for a widower in the village. Many of the people that we support are the most vulnerable in the village. The elderly and the orphans are the most common within this category. For this reason, allocation of housing is based on priority. Level of vulnerability is combined with motivation and readiness. The villagers are required to prepare their plot before the money for materials is sent to ensure that the houses will be built promptly. Often, widowers will receive help from other members of the village and volunteers to help clear the plot and gather hardcore and sand. The exact details of this person are yet to be confirmed.

House no.36 – Gyumi Tamang
Mark Tobin is sponsoring Gyumi and his wife. He is 44 years old and has prepared his site for his new house to be built. Everyday they walk for two hours to the river to collect sand.

Gyumi, like many of the villages, is using the site of his original home to be the new plot. Watch this video to see Gyumi and his wife. 

Gyumi and his wife are very grateful

The Agreement
There are four simple rules which the villagers must adhere to if they want to new home.

1. Make sure that their site is cleared of all rubble
2. Be ready to receive materials and start using within 30 days
3. Promise to use all the materials to build their home or they will be requested back
4. Promise to furnish your home and live in it

Renzen is with Kamsung Tamang from house number 29 and explained the rules before he signs them. Once the agreement is signed and the full donation of £1,800 is confirmed, materials can be transported six and a half hours from Kathmandu to Thangpalkot1 in a truck. 

Construction of the house normally takes up to six weeks. Please note that £1,800 pays for all the materials; there are no admin or hidden costs because the villagers build their homes and are helped by other volunteers in the village.

Another family signing the pledge agreement
As mentioned in ‘The Agreement’ video, rule 2 specifies that the family needs to ‘be ready to receive materials…’. This entails preparing the hardcore and the sand. Harcore is gathered from the rubble of their former houses and sand is collected from the river, a two hour hike away.

The women smash the rocks together to make the hardcore

This is Lila Tamang from house number 30, ready with his hardcore. He is sponsored by Malcolm Lindley, Founder of The Fine & Country Foundation

Kamsang’s wife from house number 29, carrying sand from the river

Here is Gyumi, fully prepared with his sand

Temporary Shelters
After the earthquakes in 2015, the villagers gathered what they could from their former houses and built tents and shacks to shelter from the cold. Sadly, the government has not provided support for anyone outside further than a two hour journey from Kathmandu. As the villagers are six and a half hours by road from Kathmandu, they have not had any assistance. 

There is still so much to do. Please help us to rebuild this entire village by donating here. Team Thangpalkot1 are trekking to Everest Base Camp is less than two weeks. We will be providing updates on their progress.

If you have any questions or are interested in sponsoring a family in Thangpalkot1, please contact us today at or call 020 7079 1415. 

6th Oct 2017

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