12/31/15: In 2015 the Wellmark Foundation donated $21,000 to support Plenty’s work with the Pine Ridge Gardens Program, which started in 1986. The Foundation sent a video crew to record the work. See the video at Pine Ridge Reservation Gardens Project
“As you know, Nepal has suffered a terrible earthquake – in fact two earthquakes, one on April 25 and the second on May 12th. Our son Vajra was in Kathmandu, where he was born, for both quakes and witnessed some of the terrible destruction and loss of life in the Durbar square of Kathmandu where he has an apartment, thankfully in a modern, earthquake-resistant house. Like many people, we immediately responded to the earthquake by giving donations to various institutions dedicated to disaster relief. It soon became apparent that much of the most immediate and elective relief work was being done by small groups of Nepalis and expat foreigners who were supplying relief to communities they knew and had a connection with.
One friend in Santa Fe, John Vavruska, set up a mini relief project for the village of Chupar, ancestral home of other mutual Nepali friends in Santa Fe, Uttam and Budu Rai, funneling donations through a small non-profit: Plenty International http://plenty.org/news/ His effort has inspired us. Just after the first quake, Vajra visited Halcok, the village where we lived for over ten years in the 1980s and 1990s. While he was happy to report that his best friend in Nepal, Sukri Putwar, and his family were safe, there had been widespread destruction of the poorer houses of the village. Vajra wrote us on April 28, “I went up to see Sukri at the village. 56 houses collapsed (out of what maybe 100?). All the old houses, gone. It’s as if an entire memory has been erased. Sukri incredibly lucky to be alive. Made me realize that the real destruction in Nepal must be up in the little mountain villages, in the stone houses.”
We decided that we wanted to help, and with the eager participation of the Nepali staff in the office we work with in Nepal, we were able to send up a shipment of food and essential supplies to the homeless villagers encamped below the ruins. We are now planning to provide supplies for more substantial temporary housing, food, sanitation and other priorities.
The not-for-profit organization Plenty International has graciously agreed to allow our Halcok relief e!ort to run donations through their organization, thus making donations tax-deductible in the US. 97% of donations will go directly to Halcok relief. We will be paying our own expenses for travel to Nepal and o”ce sta! there. If you would like to join this e!ort focused on helping one needy village, please send your tax-deductible donation (checks only please – we are not set up for credit cards or Paypal), made out to Plenty International and write on the note line “Halcok Relief Nepal”. Send your donations, made out to Plenty International, to us at:
Lois and Ian Alsop – 38 Old Galisteo Way – Santa Fe, NM 87508 USA
Please consider adopting Halcok and helping “one village at a time” survive now and rebuild in the future. Thank you.
Ian, Lois, Vajra, and Vasundhara Alsop”
In May Plenty Board Member Robert Reifel traveled to Pine Ridge Reservation with volunteer Alex Miller to help with the garden project. As is often the case weather created problems. Initially heavy rains flooded the newly tilled gardens and then they had seven inches of snow. Nevertheless, tools and plants were purchased and distributed to dozens of gardeners along with plants from the greenhouse and fresh compost. Milo Yellow Hair is the project Manager.
These are photos we just received from Plenty volunteer, John Vavruska, who is in Nepal doing earthquake relief. He and his Nepalese partners have been purchasing rice and driving it out to the village of Chupar, just north of Kathmandu. The last photo is of temporary shelters made from bamboo, recovered roofing panels, and tarps. John said there were 11 people sleeping in one of these. Note the landslides in the background.
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.