Meet the lodge owners. Profile #1: Mr. Purna Bahadur Gautam from Melamchi Ghyang
The Climate Trek is all about sustainable tourism in the Helambu. So, the lodge owners along the trek are at the core of our project. With this new series, we like to present all of the lodge owners who are participating in the Climate Trek Helambu. By learning about their personal story, we can understand better why it is so important to make the Climate Trek a success story!
We want to start with Mr. Purna Gautam, 50 years old, who is living in Melamchi Ghyang village. He and his wife are the owners of the Eco-Friendly Home and Lodge. Besides, Mr. Gautam is the Principal of the Melamchi Ghyang Secondary School in his own village. He and his wife have been running the lodge for 8 years by now but since the earthquake, it has not been in operation.
However, Mr. Gautam is not from Melamchi Ghyang Village originally. In 1985, Mr. Purna visited the village as a trekker. He had just been admitted to a Bachelor of Civil Engineering at the Tribhuwan University of Nepal with a full scholarship. Since he had been studying so intensively for the exam, he wanted to spend some time outside trekking. But, when he reached Melamchi Ghyang, his life changed. He saw many children being very afraid of strangers and not willing to talk either. Mr. Gautam asked himself why they were behaving like this. “Then I came to the conclusion, that it’s most probably because of their lack of education.” The thought of that day was the start for 32 years of life in Melamchi Ghyang. Mr. Gautam founded the ‘Melamchi Ghyang Secondary School’, which now has become one of the best and most recognized schools in the Himalayan region of Nepal. He got married to one of the ‘Sherpa’ girl from the same village which was against the Hindu culture during the time back then. Together they have two sons.
Mr. Gautam was in his school during the earthquake 2015. He witnessed 7 rooms of the school building falling down to the ground when he had 135 pupils in the classes for exams. For him it was “God’s mercy that nobody got killed although most of them had small injuries.”
Immediately after he ran towards his home (being also the lodge) when he saw every house in the village collapsing. Luckily, his wife, his two sons as well as the guests were safe. But the loss was unimaginable to him.
Plans for his Lodge and the School
Mr. Gautam participated in the Climate Trek Nepal from the beginning with an outstanding understanding and acceptance of the project. In the last visit, he was very keen to say “I understand what eco-friendly means, therefore I never hurried to rebuild my lodge, but wanted to reconstruct it with better knowledge on sustainable designs and building materials.”
Mr. Gautam provided his commitment to use local materials for the reconstruction as much as possible. He plans to build 8 rooms initially providing both fully comfort and eco-standards.
Regarding his school, Mr. Gautam currently takes care of the education of 250 children. He expects that the total number of students will reach 300 by 2018. He has already got promises from Caritas Nepal to reconstruct the school building. Community Action Nepal (CAN), an NGO in Nepal is supporting the reconstruction of boarding houses for the 250 children. On top of that, atmosfair will support the school with Solar Water Heaters, solar panels and a water purifiers.