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After the Earthquake by Ric Conner

Denise and I, spent the month of October in Nepal, retracing some of the steps we took thirty years ago. During the many trips since, we have watched the country change, only this time it was different.  Not only has Nepal changed politically, socially and economically, especially Kathmandu, but in the aftermath of the April 25th earthquake where we had once seen houses and temples now there was only rubble, tarps and tin shelters.
Interestingly enough on first sight Kathmandu didn't look too have suffered as much as we had expected. But on closer inspection and after talking with our Newari friends we learned that many of their houses in the old Durbar Square areas of Kathmandu and Bhaktapur were uninhabitable.  Many of the famous temples in these UNESCO World Heritage sites were also destroyed or badly damaged.

However, as bad as this was, where we found the real damage was in the villages. We trekked for over two weeks through a dozen villages where every house, school and health post was destroyed or dangerously compromised.  People are going to spend the winter in temporary shelters, most without electricity, although solar is becoming more common. The good news is people feel they have enough food for winter and have a good supply of wood for cooking.

And the good news in Kathmandu is, that despite all the hardship, most of the Ganesh Himal Trading artisans are  working at their crafts again. Business is almost back to normal, but we are reminded of the recent past through the stories we hear of the sleepless nights camped outside, the fright and incomprehensible movements of the earth, the destruction of sacred places and the loss of friends and family. But also of the people helping one another, of resilience, strong cultures and the joy of getting back to work and gaining an income.

It was so great to see all our friends in Nepal after such an ordeal. It was good to see them smiling, drinking tea and putting their lives back into some kind of order. It will be a long time before Nepal fully recovers from the effects of this natural disaster and they will need all the help we and others can provide. But help and support is what Fair Trade is about!

Recycled Silk Update:

Many of you (and your customers) have been wondering where those great selling recycled silk placemats and table runners are! One of the casualties from the current border crisis between Nepal and India is our inability to get recycled silk from India. We will continue to back-order items and hope this clears up soon. Below is an update from ACP, the producer group who make these stunning products:

Dear Partners,
We are writing you to update you regarding current situation that we are facing here in Nepal due to border blockade to India. Everyone's worry-concern is on making the ends meet for the present.The blockade has made us out of fuel,cooking gases, medicines, raw materials which are actually basic needs of everyday life. Tramspotation has now been a huge problem for all of us here. Staffs and artisans are facing difficulties in getting vehicles to reach office. Those who had private vehicles are also coming in public vehicle as 98% of the staffs are out of fuel. 
People have started to travel on roof of public vehicles still they do not have space enough to sit properly. Similalry, it has affected our production as we cannot dye, press the fabric, difficult to print. Our artisans are not being able to pick raw material for the order and drop finished goods here on time.

Schools are closed and hospital are facing difficulties. How to get the cooking gas, some petrol, bring the guest from the airport or keep the organization running is the pivot of everyone's thinking. People are spending days in queue just to get 10 litres of petrol and for cooking gases! People have now started buying induction cooker, but due to overdemand they are also out of market. Electricity is only the source now we can rely on. But as you are all aware due to shortage of electricity, we face about 6-10 hrs loadshedding daily. Few Days before, we had one container of medicines sent to Nepal but they were burnt by protesters. People are dying out of medicine and not being able to reach to hospital on time. We cannot think past about day to day sustenance. The resilience and fortitude demonstrated by we Nepalese during the earthquake is once more validated for us. Hopefully we Nepalese have learnt a lesson that may make us ponder seriously on attaining self reliance.

We at ACP are also having difficulties fulfilling the orders. Dyeing and printing unit is completely stopped as the result we are not able to fulfill the textile orders. Similarly for other products raw materials are not available in the market.

We do not know when this will end but we are hoping things would be back to normal soon. Lets keep our fingers crossed. Namaste- ACP.


This has been quite a year for Nepal. One which they would like to put behind them but one which keeps adding more layers of complexity and uncertainty. Just as Nepal seems to survive one catastrophe, another is dished up for them to endure. And endure they do.  These people are some of the strongest and most resilient people on the planet. As India's now 3 month blockade of their borders continues, Nepali people have no access to petrol, cooking gas and now medicines while in the midst of trying to rebuild after the devastating earthquakes of April 25 and May 12. Despite all of this, they are still hopeful for the future. They continue to smile but the worry lines grow deeper.  As Ric and Cameron and I walked through villages just weeks ago, where all houses were destroyed from the earthquakes, the first question we were asked was would we like tea, the Nepali spirit of welcoming and generosity has not diminished, but they are worn thin from travail.

So what can we do? What we have always done. Stand beside them and let them know that we know they're doing what they can and they are doing their best. Ganesh Himal will continue to get the products they can make with the resources they have and we'll help design new products if they can't get the raw materials for what they have produced before. We'll help them rebuild even if the prices are higher due to the blockade and we'll keep working on their behalf.  It's a turbulent time but if we all take an oar the boat won't rock as wildly. Thanks for keeping hope alive for them, for keeping them in your thoughts and for partnering with Ganesh Himal Trading and Conscious Connections Foundation to try to ease at least some of the burden.  

Thanks for helping us to keep hope alive as well throughout 2015! 

Namaste, Denise


Kitchen Potholder

Recycled Tire Bag
BG-D-CAM  $5.75

 BG-S-FTM $1.35
Recycled Tire Bag
BG-D-BCS $22.25
Sterling Earring
 E445 $12.50

 BG-S-FTS $1.00
Kitchen Coasters
STX-D-CRT $10.75
Sterling Ring
RBH409 $ 20.00

In honor of our hardworking paper producers !

From Kanchan Giri
When we get a letter like this at Ganesh Himal Trading, it makes our day! Thanks to all of you who have helped make this kind of gratitude possible!

I am studying nursing in one of the top colleges of USA which was my dream since my childhood. A few years ago if someone had told me that I would reach such heights I would have seriously doubted their words. Ther
Kanchan Giri
e are several factors which influenced what I am and where I am today and among these factors the organization Ganesh Himal played the most important part.  
My mother is working with Ganesh Himal for more than 30 years. My mother is from a poor family. Her condition in family was not good due to which she could not complete her education despite of her interest. She got married with my father and enter to a marred life. Her married life was also full of struggle giving birth to 3 daughter was not easy task in uneducated family in Nepal. She faced lots of trouble, the condition was worsen which could lead her to suicide also but just because she was independent she could live her life for her family and for us. Her this struggle make her even stronger and sharpen in life. She became an example among the Nepalese women in my place.  But in that condition, if Ganesh himal would not have supported her organization then she would have never been able to carry her life ahead.

With her organization, she could educate her 3 daughter, giving them their career in Nursing and dental science. We all 3 daughters are in medical field which is the contribution of Ganesh himal.
Few years ago the organization which my mother used to work came under scrutiny due to the political and economic issues between the members of Bhaktapur craft Paper (BCP). My mother being the only source of income of my family at that time could not provide everything for me and my sister. She tried her best to revitalize her organization but it was all in vain. Due to this reason I had to halt my education and I decided that I would work as a health personal. I kept working for a few years leaving my study. I thought I would never again be back to my study.....Read more here>>
Notes from the Field:
Front Line Fair Aid
by Grant Gallaher

The very first week we were in Nepal, Cameron and I took a workshop on earthbag building and met Michael, Lucas, and Justin, three guys who were planning to build earthbag houses in Nepal in the near future. Back then, it was only a far-off idea that we might volunteer with them one day. But things serendipitously worked out as they often do in Nepal, and on the 10th of November, we did end up joining their earthbag build in Ghyampesal, Gorkha! Their project began as a 21-day earthbag building workshop put on by the PermaculTourism Initiative and Woven Earth to build one square earthbag house and one circular.
Arriving in Ghyampesal about 17 days into the workshop, we entered into an environment full of people that had been learning, doing, and living earthbag building for the past two and a half weeks. It was an amazing place for us to come into with an open mind and soak up as much information as possible! We were able to get hands-on experience in many parts of the earthbag process, including soil mixing, bag laying, tamping, leveling, barbed wire laying, and mixing, testing, and applying earthen plaster. We got to try things that we never would be able to back home, from carrying 16 ft bamboo pieces up through a mountain jungle, to carrying baskets of dirt on our back using traditional Nepali headstraps. There was a lot of physical manual labor, and it mixed well with the constant input of new, intellectually stimulating ideas and concepts, providing a great workout for both our bodies and minds. Continue reading here>>