I am covering a story about a container of Medical supplies that has been shipped to Himalayan nation of Nepal , bound for the Friendship Clinic Nepal, in Meghauli, Chitwan.
The story began over 3 years ago in Atlanta , Ga. when Hari Bhandary, the man behind Clinic Nepal was in town trying to raise awareness and funds for his project. MEDSHARE INTERNATIONAL ( Atlanta ), an aid organization that specializes in donating medical supplies in developing countries, agreed to donate a container full of medical gear. But two things had to happen before the container could be shipped, Clinic Nepal had to be registered as an International Non- Governmental Organization (INGO) so that the gear would not be taxed and tariff once it reached Nepal , and that Bhandary needed an additional $20,000 to cover the shipping of the container.
Over the next two years Bhandary and his Nepali team put together the necessary paperwork, and after many setbacks, were finally awarded the status of an INGO- based out of Gibraltar UK. In the summer 2006 Bhandary went back to America in hope of raising the capital to bring the container over. Six benefits were held, four in Atlanta , Ga , one in Bryson City , NC , and one in Tallahassee , Florida . Bhandary also traveled to Washington DC . and New York , NY . to raise additional funds. Throughout it all it was Clinic Nepal Inc., based out of Atlanta , Ga. , that did most of the legwork involved in securing the necessary funds needed to get the container to Nepal .
Nepal has been in the headlines over the past three years because of the instability of its monarchy, and its Maoist insurrection. In the summer of 2006 the King of Nepal was forced to step down, and the Maoist came to the peace tables. And once again the Himalayan country of Nepal slipped from the pages of many newspapers.
Last March when I was here, it was thought to be the height of the violence, and economic problems in Nepal . Kathmandu , the countries capital, was without water, and only could run electricity for 6 hours a day. The cities supply of fresh fruit, milk, and petrol was cut off due to the transportation strikes (called Bhandas) that lasted for weeks at a time. Nepal ’s chief export, tourism greatly suffered due to the countries lack of mobility and its political instability. All of this would change when peace would be restored.
Now being back eight months after the peace talks, Nepal is still suffering the same set backs as before; Kathmandu is still suffering from a lack of water, and only able to run electricity for less than 12 hours a day. This week I was just told a Bhanda was imposed, the roads would be closed, for how long, no one knows. Nepal ’s 70 indigenous groups are all rebelling and it is thought that the revolution of before was nothing like what would happen if the current situation worsens. Madesi Mukti Morcha is one of the biggest factions in this situation and is thought to lead by a former Maoist leader.
So this is the backdrop to the story of the medical container. The whole goal is to have a simple ceremony and open the container, and hand out the over $100,000 worth of medical equipment and supplies. I believe it is a compelling story, not of just one mans fight to help his fellow man, but the story of a small nation, living a day to day struggle, hoping that one day things will get better.
Currently the Clinic Nepal operates 3 kindergartens, one medical clinic, outreach village health camps, has helped to provide over 20,000 villagers with safe drinking water and sanitation. Hari Bhandary is not alone, he is support by his all Nepali staff, and is backed by the support of doctors, social workers, and friends from Bristol, England, Freiberg, Germany, Gibraltar UK, Barcelona, Spain, and Atlanta, Georgia.