John Vavruska, a friend of Plenty Board member, Robert Reifel, is an engineer and photographer in Santa Fe, New Mexico and a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal. John, who speaks Nepali, is a close friend of Uttam and Budu Rai, originally from Nepal but now U.S. citizens living in Santa Fe. Budu’s parents live in the village of Chupar in the Nuwakot district of Nepal about 25 miles north of Kathmandu. All houses, approximately 200 of them in the village, were destroyed by the powerful 7.8 earthquake of April 25.
John and Uttam are headed to Nepal on Friday May 8 to assist with food and shelter relief for the village. Budu’s brothers Maila Tamang and Dawa Tamang, along with their friends with access to four-wheel drive vehicles, are beginning to transport badly needed relief supplies– tarps that will serve as shelters through the monsoon season, and food– rice, cooking oil, and salt to the village. The logistics of securing these supplies have been challenging but these great people on the ground along with donations from the good people here at home, are making this relief effort possible. Plenty International is supporting John’s, Uttam’s, and the villagers’ efforts and is calling for donations, which can be made on our website (www.plenty.org) or, preferably, by checks made out to Plenty International designated with “Chupar, Nepal Relief” on the note line. Checks should be mailed to John Vavruska, 872 Don Cubero Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 87505. These photos show the village of Chupar and some of John’s friends before and after the earthquake.