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Meet the talented Nepalis who are bringing cheer to their people and tourists to their country

Thaneswar Guragai, a multiple Guinness record breaker, and Phurba Tenzing Sherpa, who has climbed Everest 10 times, are in Hong Kong to boost much-needed tourism in their beleaguered nation
PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 August, 2016, 5:33am

In the three months after a devastating earthquake struck Nepal in April 2015 and claimed about 8,700 lives, injured at least 22,200 and made hundreds of thousands of people homeless, Thaneswar Guragai did what he knew best: show off his quirky talents at spinning basketballs and balancing objects on various body parts.
It may sound trivial but his skills, which have earned him 13 fun Guinness World Records to date, was able to bring cheer to the Nepalis during a dark time. Many villages were destroyed, and today, many who lost their homes still live in makeshift tents.
Thaneswar moved to Kathmandu in 2006. Photo: Edmond So
“The children are in trauma and crying all the time, and they have nothing to do. I wanted to make them happy. I went to the tents and performed for them,” says Thaneswar, 26, who was born in the far-eastern district of Sankhuwasava and moved to the capital Kathmandu in 2006.

Recently, Thaneswar made his first trip to Hong Kong to showcase his talents for another cause: strengthening and promoting tourism in Nepal.
On the morning of Sunday July 24, in front of the Central Harbourfront Observation Wheel, Thaneswar spun a basketball on his elbow for 6.62 seconds, beating the previous Guinness World Record of 6.14 seconds set in the UK in 2012.
Then, Thaneswar set off with about 300 others on Hike for Nepal, a 13km charity hike from the Harbourfront to Repulse Bay, led by compatriot Phurba Tenzing Sherpa, a highly-regarded mountaineer who has climbed Everest 10 times.

“I’m here to spread the message, ‘We Will Rise’,” said Phurba, 27, in an interview with the Post before the hike. “I’m here to inform the world that Nepal will certainly rise up again and to tell the international community that Nepal is safe, our mountains are safe and foreigners should visit Nepal. Nepal is based on tourism; without tourists, there is no life for Nepalis.”

On his 10th Everest ascent on May 20 this year, Phurba planted the flag of the We Will Rise Foundation atop the 8,848-metre peak. The foundation, a charity launched soon after the earthquakes struck, has taken part in social activities to foster and strengthen the cooperative spirit of Nepalis at home and abroad to help rebuild.
Thaneswar shows off his skills with a basketball.
The foundation had collaborated with the Miteree Service Committee Pokhara Hong Kong to organise the Hike for Nepal. With each hiker required to contribute a minimum of HK$200 to participate, nearly HK$46,000 was raised through the event to support the earthquake survivors in Nepal, according to Nirmal Shrestha, founder director of We Will Rise Foundation. Nirmal says the foundation works in organising different kinds of motivational activities, as well as building schools and houses for the earthquake victims.

While donations of money, clothing and food are appreciated and certainly help, Phurba says the biggest way people can help Nepal is by visiting the country. With few tourists, business in Nepal is quiet and many Nepalis have nothing to do. With little engagement and interaction, spirits are low.
The impact of the earthquake on Nepalese’ mental health has been termed the “invisible disaster” by reports. The World Health Organisation noted a rise in mental health problems in Nepal in the wake of the devastating earthquake.
In an article published in the Nepal Journal of Epidemiology in December 2015, Kiran Thapa, a public health student at the Institute of Medicine in Kathmandu, noted: “The magnitude of the mental health problems might not show due to the prevailing stigma in the community, which stops many from discussing their mental issues.”
Thaneswar uses his nose in Yau Ma Tei. Photo: Edmond So
According to Thapa, the only mental healthy policy in Nepal is from 1996, which focuses extensively on community-based rehabilitation. Nepal has one of the world’s weakest mental health systems, with only 0.08 per cent of its health budget spent on mental health, with fewer than two psychiatrists per million people and even fewer clinical psychologists.
Phurba himself was badly affected mentally for about three months after the quake struck. He had been at base camp that day taking a rest day in the middle of leading an Everest expedition. He suffered physical injuries from the avalanche but was fit enough to help with the rescue efforts.
Phurba’s mountaineering company had lost some US$200,000 in equipment and gear, and in the aftermath, there was zero business as nobody dared to climb Everest. For two months he slept by the roadside.

“It was not easy to survive,” says Phurba, who comes from a family of Sherpas and whose father was part of the legendary Tenzing and Hillary expedition. “But I feel normal again now. This is life – we have to challenge many things and we could die anytime.”
Thaneswar, a manager with a Nepal mountaineering company, was in the sixth floor of a cinema watching a film with a few friends when the quake hit. He says he never ran so quickly before; within seconds he was out of the building. Fortunately his home in Kathmandu, about 10 minutes’ walk from Phurba’s, was not affected and neither were his family in Sankhuwasava.
Thaneswar says many Nepalese people still have the earthquake on the back of their minds. “The people have changed emotionally – everyone is so nice and controlled towards each other because they know they could die any moment.”
He suggests September, October and November are the best time for tourists to visit Nepal. “It’s not rainy, not so cold, the weather is clear so you have a great view of the mountains.”

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as : positive spin

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Hikers brave heat to trek 13km along Hong Kong Island to help Nepal rebuild after 2015 quake

Focus was to promote Nepal and to tell people it is safe to visit after devastating earthquake left tourism industry on its knees.

Almost 230 people completed a charity hike in sweltering heat yesterday to raise funds for rebuilding efforts in Nepal after it was hit by a devastating earthquake last year. Nepalese people living in Hong Kong, along with members of the local and international community, raised at least HK$46,000 on the 13km trek.With temperatures reaching 32 degrees Celsius, the hike went through Wan Chai Gap and along the Wong Nai Chung Reservoir ending at Repulse Bay.

“Our focus is not on raising money this time. We did this hike to promote Nepal and to tell people it’s safe [to visit],” said Tulsi Kumar Gurung, president of ­Miteree Sewa Samiti Hong Kong, a Nepalese community which ­organised the event.

“Despite the very hot weather, people participated because they have an emotional attachment to the people of Nepal,” Gurung said.

The earthquake struck on April 25, 2015 and, along with aftershocks which continued into May, left about 8,700 dead and at least 22,200 injured. Its tourism industry, a major source of income, took a battering. Phurba Tenzing Sherpa, 27, a mountaineer who has climbed Mount Everest 10 times since 2007, joined as a guest of honour. Gurung, who also participated, said Phurba shared his experience on guiding expeditions to the 8,848-metre summit with his fellow hikers . Another guest of honour, Thaneswar Guragai, is a 12-time Guinness World Records holder. He attempted to add another title by spinning a basketball on his elbow for more than six seconds. The current title holder achieved the feat in 6.14 seconds in the United Kingdom in 2012.

SOURCE: South China Morning Post

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Sherpa who reached Everest summit 10 times leads Hong Kong charity hike

Jeanette Wang

Event this Sunday to raise funds for rebuilding in Nepal following last year’s devastating earthquake. Teams of five or more can register on the day for 13km route starting in Central

Phurba Tenzing Sherpa has led expeditions to the summit of Mount Everest 10 times since 2007, but on July 24 he will find himself in unknown territory: on a Hong Kong peak.

The 27-year-old Nepali mountaineer is visiting the city for the first time as guest of honour for Hike for Nepal, a 13km charity hike to raise funds for rebuilding in Nepal, parts of which were hit by devastating earthquakes in April and May 2015 which left some 8,700 dead and at least 22,200 injured. Since then the country’s main industry – tourism – has taken a battering.

“Fundraising is personally the secondary aim for me,” Phurba said. “I’m here to spread the message, ‘We Will Rise’. I’m here to inform the world that Nepal will certainly rise up again and to tell the international community that Nepal is safe, our mountains are safe and foreigners should visit Nepal. Nepal is based on tourism; without tourists, there is no life for Nepalese.”

On his 10th Everest ascent on May 20 this year, Phurba planted the flag of the We Will Rise Foundation atop the 8,848-metre peak. The foundation, a charity launched soon after the earthquakes struck, has taken part in social activities to foster and strengthen the cooperative spirit of Nepalis at home and abroad to help rebuild.

The foundation has collaborated with the Miteree Service Committee Pokhara Hong Kong to organise the hike on Hong Kong Island on Sunday. Starting at the Hong Kong Observation Wheel at the Central Harbourtfront, the hike will pass through Wan Chai Gap, Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park, skirt Violet Hill and finish in Repulse Bay. It is estimated participants will take four hours.

Participants need to form teams of five or more members to join the hike, and each member has to contribute a minimum of HK$200. Registration can be done on the day and participants should meet at the Observation Wheel at 7.30am.

Before the hike begins, Phurba’s compatriot Thaneswar Guragai, also on his maiden visit to the territory, will attempt to add another record to his 12 Guinness World Records by spinning a basketball on his elbow for more than six seconds. Thaneswar’s other records have involved spinning a basketball on his nose (7 seconds), head (23 seconds) and toe (25 seconds), bouncing a basketball 444 times in 60 seconds, as well as other balancing feats.

Another fundraising event will be held on Monday, July 25 at 7.30pm, with the premiere of the documentary Journey to the Top of the World, followed by dinner at Kangan Restaurant in Jordan (1/F, Real Sight Commercial Building, 122 Woosung Street).

For details, contact Raksha Gurung (6705 5607), Krishna Gurung (6438 4025), Nirmal Shrestha (9535 6371), Bhim Pun (5660 9355) or Suraj Gurung (6347 0708).

Source: South China Morning Post

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सगरमाथामा हामी उठ्ने छौं को झण्डा

महाभूकम्पको पहिलो वार्षिकीमा पर्वतारोही फुर्वा तेन्जिङ शेर्पाले संसारकै सर्वोच्च शिखर सगरमाथाको चुचुरोमा ‘हामी उठ्ने छौं’ को झण्डा फहराएका छन् ।

विश्वभर भूकम्पबाट थलिएको नेपाल फेरी उठ्ने छ भन्ने सन्देश प्रवाह गर्न उनले यो साहसिक कदम चालेका हुन् । नेपालको पुन: निर्माणमा संसारकै ध्यानाकर्षण होस् भन्ने यसको उद्देश्य रहेको उनले जनाए । सगरमाथाको दसौं आरोहणलाई फुर्वाले भूकम्पमा दिंवगत करिब ९ हजारप्रति समर्पित गरेका छन् ।

फुर्वाले १७ देखि २४ वर्षको उमेरभित्र सगरमाथाको ९ पटक सफल आरोहण गरेर कम उमेरमा सबैभन्दा बढी आरोहणको विश्व किर्तिमान बनाएका छन् । उनले सन् २००८ मा नेपाली महिला सम्मिलित आरोहण दलसँग मिलेर तीन दिनकै अन्तरमा सगरमाथाको दुईपटक आरोहण गरेका थिए ।

दोलखाको रोल्वालिङमा जन्मेका २८ वर्षीय शेर्पाले सन् २००४ मा येलापिक आरोहणबाट पर्वतारोहणको सुरुवात गरेका हुन् । उनले सन् २००७ मा जापानी टोलीसँग पहिलोपटक सगरमाथाको सफल आरोहण गरेका थिए ।

नेपाली ‘समावेशी महिला आरोहण दल’ होस् वा सबैभन्दा पाको उमेरका मीनबहादुर शेरचन, उनीहरूले सफलतापूर्वक सगरमाथा आरोहण गर्दा फुर्वा त्यसको ‘क्लाइम्बिङ लिडर’ थिए । दुवै हात नभएका आरोही सुदर्शन गौतमलाई सगरमाथाको चुचुरोमा टेकाउनमा पनि उनको ठोस भूमिका थियो ।

दुईवर्ष अघि सगरमाथा आधार शिविर क्षेत्रमा गएको हिमपहिरोका कारण १६ जना शेर्पा आरोहीको मृत्यु भएको थियो । गतवर्ष भने भूकम्पका कारण आरोहण स्थगित गरियो ।

विगत दुई वर्ष देखि रोकिएको सगरमाथा आरोहणमा मिलेको सफलताले पुन: विश्वभर नेपालको पर्वतारोहण सुरक्षित रहेको सन्देश गएको छ ।

Source: ekantipur

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Scaling Everest tenth time for a noble reason

KATHMANDU, June 11: In the morning of May 19, he was on the top of the world, but his heart, overflowed with joy and pride, was flying over it. Though this was the tenth time that Phurba Tenjing Sherpa had reached atop the Mount Everest, his feelings this time around were different, as he was there with a distinct purpose.

The weather too was unlike the past as there was a drizzle over the Everest when he put his first step on the top of the world with a flag of the ‘We Will Rise Campaign’, thereby sending a message to the world that mountaineering in Nepal is now safe and sound. The ‘We Will Rise’ campaign is a motivational movement launched after last year’s catastrophic earthquake.
Phurba was contemplating the effects of the Gorkha earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks that caused the massive losses of lives and property including natural heritages in the country rich in natural beauty. Home to eight highest peaks in the world and famous for adventurous tourism, Nepal’s tourism sector that remains as the backbone for nation’s economy was one of the sectors too badly affected by the disaster.

Devastated by the tragic death of around 9,000 fellow citizens, Phurba longed to overcome his feelings and post- disaster trauma. As Phurba said, he personally wanted to help the people to get out from the hangovers from the disaster, regain psychological strength and reinstall ray of hope for better days to come, while also proving that Nepal is able to rise again. Amidst this quest, he suddenly came to know about the We Will Rise Campaign and decided to set out for the expedition to the Everest with a flag bearing its name.


Phurba Tenjing Sherpa on his way to the summit of Everest for the tenth successful time earlier this year. Photo : Courtesy– Dawa Kipa Sherpa, RSS

Phurba feels that his accent to the Everest with a flag of the ‘We Will Rise Campaign’ was a symbolic message that Nepal could overcome the bad consequences of the disaster and rise again.

Born in a remote village of Dolakha and grown up on the foothills of the Gaurishanker, mountaineering was Phurba’s passion and he has been in this profession since the age of 18.

Now 26, he already holds the world record as ‘most successful ascents to the Mt Everest at the youngest age’. Phurba was also instrumental in guiding the famous 7 summit women expedition as well as helping Min Bahadur Sherchan become the oldest man to step on the summit of Everest. Sherchan record was later overtaken by Japanese mountaineer Yuchiro Miura.

Though adventurous tourism was not unfamiliar for him, he wished to make the expedition to the Everest, resumed after a two year hiatus- following the deadly avalanche in 2014 and the earthquake a year later, purposeful which drove him to the top of the world carrying the flag of the We Will Rise Campaign. The campaign was launched, as said by its coordinator Nirmal Shrestha, at the initiative of Nepalis residing in Hong Kong to psychologically console the devastated hearts of their Nepali sisters and brothers.

Phurba views that it would be a real tribute to those who lost their precious lives to the earthquake if we all contribute from our own respective side and capacity to rebuild the nation overcoming the bad experiences left by the natural calamity rather than continuing to mourn the losses.

Moreover, Phurba’s tenth successful summit to the Everest gave him an opportunity to gauge the impact of increasing global warming caused by the greenhouse effect, a result of massive carbon emission by industrial countries, on the serene mountains. “When I reached there, there was a drizzle, and it clearly indicates that increasing temperature has started affecting the Everest too,” he said.

He also expressed serious concern about the negative impact of global warming on the mountains. Himalayan region, the ‘precious gift’ of the nature, is witnessing snow melting as a result of global warming, putting its mere existence at stake. The Everest, the pride and identity of the Nepalis and Nepal, and world heritage one day may just wear a deserted look if timely precautions were not taken to stop the green house effect by slashing down carbon emission. Where is our existence if we lose the roof over our head?” he said.

Having said that, Phurba did not want to miss the opportunity to draw the attention of the developed countries responsible for unlimited carbon emission leading to the green house effects and its consequence and counter consequences. So he returned from the top of Everest with stones that have been already gifted to the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, as a symbolic gesture to call their attention to save the Himalaya s from the Global Warming.

The resumption in the mountaineering expedition after a gap of two seasons this year saw over 400 mountaineers from around the world setting their foot on top of Mt Everest. But unless some drastic measures are taken, it will not be long before, as Phurba says, Nepal loses Sagarmatha as the roof over her head.
Source: myrepublica

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Hong Kong to ‘hike for Nepal’

KATHMANDU: Nepali diaspora in Hong Kong is organising a hiking event with an objective to strengthen and promote tourism in Nepal. The Miteri Samaj Hong Kong is going to organise the hiking programme on July 24. Phurba Tenzing Sherpa, a record Mount Everest summiter, will also participate in the event, according to a statement issued by the organiser today.

Sherpa has ascended the Everest for 10 times, while he has records for climbing the highest peak of the world twice within three days and nine times within the age between 17 and 24. Meanwhile, Sherpa is scheduled to share his experiences and insights of mountain climbing with the audience and participants. The hiking organised under the campaign “we will rise again” is scheduled to begin from Central, moving towards to Wan Chai Gap, Wang Nai Chung Reservoir Park and conclude at Repulse Bay. According to the Miteri Samaj Hong Kong Chairman Tulasi Gurung, the organisation decided to hold the event as it could promote the tourism industry in Nepal massively affected by the 2015 earthquake.

Source: thehimalayantimes.com

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