Tag Archives: Nepal

Karma Documentary: Some Frequently Asked Questions

Are you still taking donations?

Yes.

Donations are very much still welcome and needed.

What is the best way to donate?

PayPal has been the most efficient and easiest way people have found to contribute.

Contributions of ANY amount are gratefully accepted.

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If the link does not work for you, you can go to PayPal and send to l.mislinski@gmail.com – That same email can be used for any questions you might have.

For what has the money been used?

All money that has been received has been used for film related expenses and/or put directly into the hands of people in need in Nepal (depending on if it was pre or post-earthquakes).

Have you used any of your own money?

Yes, far more than we ever should have. Thus is the way of things when your heart goes sprinting ahead of you towards people in need. You end up playing perpetual catch up.

Why was the film on hiatus?

Even with the earthquakes (beginning in April of 2015, and continuing into May), we thought we could, both, help the Nepali people with immediate needs and finish the film. We soon found that was not the case. We had to choose. The immediate needs of those who had lost homes, businesses, and loved ones took precedent.

What is taking so long?

Funds and life being life are the easy answers. The more complex answers would be better served over a nice dinner with good wine. Preferably, somewhere we could show you footage you have not yet seen.

If you could go back to the beginning, what would you do differently?

We would have found someone else to come on board to handle the money aspect. Neither of us are motivated by money. We are both better suited for creating and for helping people, both of which are easier done with funding. There is a reason why it is called a necessary evil.

What do you look forward to most with this project?

The sharing of laughter. Even though there are many heavy aspects to the situation, when we have sat down and shown people footage, it is the moments on film that have induced laughter that have been the most rewarding.

 

 

Contributions of ANY amount are gratefully accepted.

***PayPal here:

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©Christen Babb

Many Nepalis Still Lack Shelter, Over a Year After the Earthquakes – How We Can Help Them Together

While we enjoy sharing happy stories about the beautiful sights, cultures, and people of Nepal, the reality is that many people in the country are still struggling to recover from last year’s devastating earthquake. Even today, many families lack basic shelter. And, it is the Monsoon season.

We were contacted by one of our Nepali friends, Sampurna Khanal, who is trying to raise money to provide basic shelter for 21 families. Each shelter will cost approximately $200. So far, he has raised $400, and asked for our help. All of the money donated (minus banking transfer fees) will be sent to help these 21 families.

Contributions of ANY amount are gratefully accepted.

***PayPal here:

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~~~~~

Thank you to the following people for your donations!
Saurav Lamicchane

Sampurna sent a thank you message to include in this post with some photos showing the destruction from the earthquakes:

Hello and Namaste from Nepal.

I think all of you out there know about the devastating earthquake that occured in nepal one year ago. Thousands of people lost their life and millions of people lost their shelter. Thousands of people still dont have a proper shelter and enough food to survive. So our team decided to collect donations to the help the victims. We have list of 21 family who really need help and donation for them and for their childrens education. 21 family consists of old ages people,orphan and jobless people who lost everything on earthquake. 6 months earlier also we donated rice and utensils to 54 family who really nedd some support. Due to lack of government help they really are living a worst life. So if You and I can go hand in hand then we could make a better life for them. Please help us as you can and please ask your friends,relative and others too. Penny counts a lot here. Thank you so much!

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Nepal, Karma Documentary, and Tax Deductible Donations

With the end of the year quickly approaching, the rush of getting things done can seem overwhelming. Oftentimes, the last thing on our mind is the tax season still a few months away. However, a few minutes of your time now can benefit not only you when that tax time comes, but can help people in Nepal and the Karma Documentary film project now.

We have been sponsored by a non-profit organization, which means that any money you donate can be used towards your tax deductions in the spring. Whether it is you or your company that has the ability to make donations this holiday season, a letter can be sent to you that you can keep with your records for your taxes.

Some companies (for instance, Microsoft), will match your donations, so ask your employer if this is an option you can utilize, as well.

When hundreds of thousands of people in Nepal lost their homes and businesses, the world stepped in briefly for immediate help. Now, months later, they are still struggling to piece back their lives and their communities.

Help us to help them, and to help tell their stories.

We appreciate any help you can give, and we hope your holidays are filled with warmth, love, and good tidings.

Contributions of ANY amount are gratefully accepted.

***PayPal here:

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You can also make donations to our GoFundMe fundraiser.

***by mail:

Luke Mislinski Photography
714 3rd Ave
Salt Lake City, UT 84103

Giving Tuesday and Beyond – Your Help Makes a Real Difference

As we try to keep our wits about us during this busy time of year, it can be hard to keep track of everything. Social media to the rescue! I wanted to take a moment to give a friendly reminder that today is “Giving Tuesday”and reminds us of the Giving Season.

We have received all manners of help from people all over the world to get to where we are with the film. Yet, we still are not at the top of our climb. As you think about where to make your donations this Giving Tuesday, and throughout the season, please consider contributing to the Karma Documentary.

Your donation will support the people of Nepal and help them recover from the devastating earthquakes. Together, we will tell their stories and encourage the return of tourists. It has been a slow recovery so far. Fall is usually the busiest tourism season in Nepal, and the numbers this year are far below what is needed for many Nepalis to get by in good years. Help us turn that around.

Thank you, Happy Holidays, Happy Giving Tuesday, and Namaste!

Contributions of ANY amount are gratefully accepted.

***PayPal here:

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You can also make donations to our GoFundMe fundraiser.

***by mail:

Luke Mislinski Photography
714 3rd Ave
Salt Lake City, UT 84103

Indie

Seattle – Beyond the Screen – Friday evening with the Karma Documentary

The filmmakers, Luke and Christen, behind the Karma Documentary are coming out from behind the screen to spend an evening with you. They will be talking about the filming process and their experiences in Nepal, sharing photography and behind-the-scenes footage, and getting to know you over some adult beverages.

Do not get lost on your couch spending another night in front of your screen when you can come be part of the process in person.

We look forward to seeing you. Come alone or invite people to join you. This is a welcoming and inclusive gathering.

Friday, November 20th, 2015
St. Andrews Bar & Grill (7pm-1am)
7406 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, Washington 98103

If you cannot join us, you can still help:

***You can donate through PayPal here:

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You can also make donations to our GoFundMe fundraiser.

***You can send a check to:

Luke Mislinski Photography

3563 US Highway 26
Dubois, WY
8251312241063_10206076169995531_3438207596608848462_o

Christen ~ Nepal’s Needs Are Ongoing

What can you do to help?

Visit: The number one thing you can do to help Nepal is to travel to see it for yourself. So much of what is needed in Nepal revolves around influxes of tourism. Almost every way of life in Nepal is affected by the ups and downs of tourism. This is not in the budget for all people, so…

Donate: Even small donations help us work towards getting out their story with the film and to send money to the individuals and families we know it will benefit most. If you have checked your coffee fund, your rainy day fund, and even scoured the couch cushions and there is nothing to be found that you can spare…

Share: Help get this out in your networks, where it can reach other people that can help.

If we all do what we can when we can do it, we are all part of the movement to make our world a better place.

 

 

Contributions of ANY amount are gratefully accepted.

***PayPal here:

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You can also make donations to our GoFundMe fundraiser.

***by mail:

Luke Mislinski Photography
714 3rd Ave
Salt Lake City, UT 84103

© Luke Mislinski
© Luke Mislinski

Hey Boulder, CO

© Christen Babb
© Christen Babb

Join Luke on June 18th in Boulder, CO, for an evening of beverages, beautiful imagery, stories, and discussion around the filming of the Karma Documentary and how the earthquakes in Nepal have affected the lives of those we met, and the telling of their stories as we move forward.

Neptune Mountaineering – 8pm
633 S Broadway St Suite A, Boulder, Colorado 80305
(303) 499-8866
info@neptunemountaineering.com

© Christen Babb
© Christen Babb
© Christen Babb
© Christen Babb

Supporting the cause:

-You can donate through the GoFundMe campaign, as well as share the link and encourage others to donate:

http://www.gofundme.com/karmadocumentary

-You can donate through PayPal here:

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-You can send a check to:

Luke Mislinski Photography
14821 SE 181st Street
Renton, WA 98058

© Christen Babb
© Christen Babb

Luke ~ The People of Nepal – Ashok

How do you know when travel impacts you deeply? Which journeys give you the most powerful memories? These thoughts have been bouncing around my mind furiously since I returned from Nepal. Nepal left a deep imprint. Every time I ask myself why, the answer is simple. The people.

I met Ashok Bhujel, a young Nepali man in his early twenties, one day as I returned to my guesthouse in Changu Narayan. He helped with all sorts of daily chores around the guesthouse. He greeted me with a warm smile, and open arms. I could not even begin to have a want before he would anticipate it and help me out.

Ashok is a dreamer who likes to think about the possibilities for his friends and family.
Ashok is a dreamer who likes to think about the possibilities for his friends and family.

I got to know Ashok better over the next three weeks. He is a dreamer. Whether he was inviting me to sit with his friends and trade songs on his guitar, or teaching me about the political, educational, and economic struggles of younger Nepali generations, Ashok dwells on the possibilities, not the barriers.

I have been keeping touch with Ashok occasionally. It was his messages to me a couple weeks ago that both gave me great relief that he was ok and sadness for his upcoming struggles. Ashok, like so many in Nepal, has lost everything – his home and his job – due to the earthquakes. He has a new wife, Nena. Together, they were starting their life together in Kathmandu when the earthquakes struck. Rather than relay his story to you, here are his own words from our recent conversations. I asked him to tell his story, so I could share it with you.

“Okay Luke Iet me start. Well I was working in starview and she had a singingbowl healing centre in Bhaktapur Dattariya. One day I took one of my costumer to her centre and then I meet her. Her name is Nena Nepali.

She is very good as a person. So I liked her at first sight. I took her visiting card and then slowly we came close. Well she is a town girl and I belong to village. She had lots of big dreams like to be a big successful business girl…”

Ashok and Nena
Ashok and Nena

“And one day she took me to her home I met her parents. They had a small shop too. Her parents and her 3 yrs old brother all are very nice people. After that slowly I talk about her with my parents. They want to meet her too.

Then I took her my village. My village is 150 km away from Kathmandu. It’s a rural place, completely a small village. I hope u can imagine. She was so afraid while we were on bus coz it feels like we r riding on elephant. It makes me laugh remembering her face on bus in that day. After that my parents liked her. So after that we fix the date and get married. Then I got job doing Thanka paintings.”

Ashok and Nina on their wedding day.
Ashok and Nena on their wedding day.

“But I didn’t have still home to stay. So I was sitting. With her parents. Life was going slowly okay u know but now my sweet home in village is no more. My family is staying under tent. I don’t even know. Do they getting foods or not. My wife shop is also gone and with that all her hard work and dreams too.

Seeing around how and what earthquake brought to our normal life still today we cannot sleep well. Thinking about how to start all when it’s gonna be normal like before my heartache tears rolls down. What to do how to do? I don’t have any idea. In one side I think about Nena and in another about my parents. She is a elder child of her parents and I must also. We both are feeling helpless brother. But still haven’t giveup our hope.”

***You can donate through PayPal here:

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Ashok and Nena are some of the many people in Nepal that will receive help from the donations you make to our GoFundMe fundraiser. Please contribute today.

Luke ~ The People of Nepal

The news has been horrific. Many of us have seen the images and videos of the destruction in Nepal as the country shook repeatedly over the last several weeks. The wonders of an interconnected world bring the heartbreaking losses into all of our lives.

Yet, I am struck by how different this disaster feels to me than the others that have come in recent times. The difference is, of course, that the people hit this time are my friends. I do not say this to take away from the many people who endured the horrors of the tsunamis in Japan or Thailand, the earthquake in Haiti, or any other natural disaster. I say this, because I hope that in sharing the stories of my friends in Nepal, you too will be touched by their humanity and help them.

This is the first of many posts I will be making where I will tell the stories of my Nepali friends pertaining to the earthquakes. While it has been difficult to wake up every morning to countless messages from Nepal recounting the tragedy (13 hour time difference), it is nothing compared to the challenges that they face every day. In a country where life was difficult before, the earthquakes have taken everything from many.

Suman Bhadel, a chef in the village of Changu Narayan, supports both his parents and three younger siblings.
Suman Bhadel, a chef in the village of Changu Narayan, supports both his parents and three younger siblings.

One of my friends who has asked for help is Suman. I smile every time I think about the first time I met him. I had just strolled through the temple complex in Changu Narayan, a 4-th century village in the hills outside Kathmandu, and was meeting my travel companions at the little open-air restaurant just outside the temple gate. As I was walking up the stairs leading to the elevated pavilion, I was greeted by the warm smile and boundless energy that Suman is never without.

Suman explained that he would be our waiter and chef. It turns out, this 22-year old runs the entire restaurant by himself in addition to managing the small wheat, rice, and potato fields his family relies on for food. He supports his mother, father, and three younger siblings. He learned to cook while working in restaurants in India before returning home to work at the restaurant at a small guest house in Changu. Did I mention he can cook? Suman made, without a doubt, my favorite chicken dishes in Nepal.

As we got to know Suman more, he invited us into the community to experience their culture like we were family. Whether he was bringing us to the evening Puja (prayer session that is mostly a musical jam session by a local family of musicians) or taking us on picnics, Suman made us feel at home.

A great honor came one day when Suman invited all of us to accompany him on a 3-hour hike into the hills to attend the village’s annual festival to honor the hindu gods Ganesh and Vishnu. We were treated to a traditional ceremonial goat sacrifice that culminated in a delicious roasted goat feast. As we were walking back to Changu in the golden sunset over Kathmandu valley, we learned that we were the first visitors to attend this ceremony.

We were the first visitors to Changu to be invited to this festival, where sacrifices were made to Vishnu and Ganesh.
We were the first visitors to Changu to be invited to this festival, where sacrifices were made to Vishnu and Ganesh.
Locals from Changu Narayan await the feast after the sacrifices.
Locals from Changu Narayan await the feast after the sacrifices.
A happy group with full bellies makes the 3-hour walk back to Changu Narayan after the festival.
A happy group with full bellies makes the 3-hour walk back to Changu Narayan after the festival.

The messages I received from Suman in the days following the earthquakes were heartbreaking. Like many people in Changu Narayan, Suman and his family lost everything. His family’s home was destroyed. The restaurant he worked at is gone. He has no income, and he is the sole provider for his family. They are now sleeping under a tarp at the village’s Bus Park. Suman tells me that it would cost $3000-$5000 to build a new basic mud home for his family. Considering that his salary was about $35 per month before the earthquake eliminated his job, he has no way to pay for it.

The destruction in Suman's village, Changu Narayan, is extensive. Photo by, Balkrishna Baj.
The destruction in Suman’s village, Changu Narayan, is extensive. Photo by, Balkrishna Baj.

In the midst of all of this tragedy, there is a positive note. Suman just got married May 8th. Amid all of the loss and destruction, a glimmer of happiness still shines through.

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Suman is one of the many people in Nepal that will receive help from the donations you make to our GoFundMe fundraiser. Please contribute today.

 

Luke ~ The Threads of Tourism Run Deep

When visiting another place, it is common for us to project our own version of ‘familiar’ onto our new surroundings. We fall prey to our own rituals and tendancies, inadvertently drowning out little cultural discoveries along the way. Whether that takes the form of frequenting western style restaurants, hotels, or bars while in an exotic city like Kathmandu, or seeking an espresso or cup of coffee in the morning in lieu of milk-tea, the results are the same. Countless little cultural treasures with the power to grow our insights about life can be missed. The chance to find our similarities through examining our differences is stifled.

I was thinking about my own morning coffee, gulped down moments ago, as I hurried out of the guest house to meet my new friend, Balkrishna. I was supposed to meet this complex and intriguing fellow for tea in his shop, where I was to interview him about tourism in his idyllic 4th-century village, Changu Narayan. I chuckled at my obvious addiction to coffee. Although I had been in Nepal for over a month, I still had not fully embraced coffee’s more gentile cousin. I gladly took the warm milky cup of tea from Balkrishna when he greeted me, however. I was beginning to come around.

After starting the cameras and beginning our interview, I was struggling with trying to tap into Balkrishna’s personal perspectives. As he enthusiastically and thoroughly explained the geography, history, and cultural high points of Nepal, I puzzled over why my normal questions were not on target. His answers were interesting to me, but I wanted to learn how tourism touches modern Nepali’s daily lives.

A couple of things finally dawned on me. First, Balkrishna was telling me what he thought I wanted to hear, because I had not given him the opening to speak on a personal level about his life’s devotion. As someone who has worked in tourism for over 20 years, he grew accustomed to answering the typical questions of tourists – for example, “How old is Changu?”, “What Caste are you?”, “What religions do Nepalis practice?”, “What is your favorite (fill in the blank)?” His depth of knowledge of typical ‘tourist’ information would impress any travel guide editor, but it was his experience with the daily grind of trying to support his family, grow his business, and build his community that I wanted to hear. The second realization I had was that Christen was right. Balkrishna is a gold mine of information about the inner workings of the tourism industry in Changu Narayan, and in many other places all over the country of Nepal.

“Balkrishna, I am interested in learning more about tourism from the Nepali’s perspectives. How do average Nepali people view tourism?” With that question, his eyes lit up. Just as I saw a great opportunity to learn more about these generous and kind people, Balkrishna saw an opportunity to tell his own story on a larger stage.

As Balkrishna started to explain the depths to which tourism has impacted life in Nepal, I started to realize the size of my task for the first time. It is one thing to hear that tourism is the second largest source of income in Nepal, behind foreign remittances (money sent back into the country by Nepali Ex-Pats abroad), it is another to visit person after person whose livelihood relies upon tourism. Once he realized the mission of our film, to tell the story of tourism from Nepali’s perspectives, Balkrishna’s mind went into overdrive, planning out the next four weeks of filming. “We need to go visit the sand quarry, where they are digging sand for hotel construction projects, and the chicken farm that supplies many restaurants, and the pashmina factory, and the silver smith, and the blacksmith, and the tourism college, and the….” The list went on, and on, and on.

Once again, I learned the value of shedding the Western-bred desire to control the agenda of the film. Over the next month, Balkrishna would be my guide, interpreter, production manager, teacher, and friend. Christen was right. She encouraged me to let go of my rituals and tendencies and let Balkrishna guide the story. The stories that he and I lived together, and the footage we captured are the proof. We look forward to sharing more of it with you!

In this clip below, residents of the 4th-century village of Changu Narayan, Nepal go about their jobs supporting tourism.



Please consider donating to the film. Any and all contributions make a difference. Sincerely, no amount is too small, as we need to raise $25,000 just for this stage of the project (and approximately $75,000 in total), and every dollar counts. (Either through the Paypal link or send to Luke Mislinski Photography at

14821 SE 181st Street
Renton, WA 98058)

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