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robertogreco : nepal   10

Where Not to Travel in 2019, or Ever | The Walrus
"When adventurers crave “untouched” places and “authentic” peoples, it’s the locals who ultimately pay"

"For what is still missing from this scenario is consent. In its place is a sense of entitlement as extreme as it is commonplace."

"We want what we want when we go abroad, which often is the untouched, the authentic—even as our arrival, by definition, undermines those very qualities in a place or of a culture and contributes to the slow, involuntary conversion of one way of life into another."

Respectful pilgrimages rarely make the history books or headlines, which is all the more reason to pay them attention. Consider the 1971 “antiexpedition” of Norwegian eco-philosopher Arne Næss and his friends to Tseringma, also known as Gaurishankar, in Nepal, a then unsummitted 7,181-metre peak sacred to those living in its shadow. In a pointed critique of mountaineering’s culture of conquering, Næss’s team travelled light, consulted with a local lama as to how high on Tseringma they could respectfully go, and invited villagers along not as porters but as colleagues. A few years later, other foreigners would claim the first ascent of Tseringma, but forget them. Remember Næss and team, who climbed to a certain height, took a look at the summit from a distance, and turned back."
travel  observation  consent  authenticity  2019  kateharris  colonization  colonialism  adventure  untouched  imperialism  india  johnallenchau  pilgrimage  nepal  arnenæss  canon 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Vox Borders - YouTube - YouTube
"Reporting from six borders around the world, Emmy-nominated journalist Johnny Harris investigates the human stories behind the lines on a map in a new series for

The six-part documentary series airs Tuesdays starting October 17th.

For additional content, travel dispatches, and more visit "

Divided island: How Haiti and the DR became two worlds

It's time to draw borders on the Arctic Ocean

Inside North Korea's bubble in Japan

How the US outsourced border security to Mexico

Building a border at 4,600 meters

Europe’s most fortified border is in Africa ]
borders  haiti  dominicanrepublic  arctic  arcticocean  japan  northkorea  korea  mexico  us  centralamerica  border  2017  spain  morocco  china  nepal  españa 
november 2017 by robertogreco
6, 53: Mapping
"Doing Nepal-related things, some of them involving fancy new satellite imagery and such, but also the simple, repetitive work of contributing to HOT OSM, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. This is easy and makes the delivery of supplies incrementally faster. I don’t know what it’s like in and around Kathmandu right now. It’s almost certainly a lot of traumatized people trying to help injured people as fast as possible, probably without enough clean water or shelter. Some aid agencies I mostly trust (which ain’t all of them) say they need to know where there are roads and potential helicopter landing sites, and we can tell them that.

If you want to, orient yourself with the HOT website, read @meetar’s guide, find other resources (in a pinch, ask me, though I’m not an expert), and pick up some tasks from the tasking manager. I recommend the vanilla, in-browser iD editor for beginners – I still use it mostly. I think the main barrier for many people is an impression that they don’t know enough to help: like you have to be a trained cartographer or something. That is, politely, false. If you can trace a road, you’re helping. This is a case where a bad map is better than no map. Your work will be checked and polished by more experienced people, and then given to responders who understand that it’s the best available, not authoritative. Your help is welcome."
maps  mapping  osm  openstreetmap  charlieloyd  peterrichardson  nepal  2015  hotosm  via:lukeneff 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Thin Places, Where We Are Jolted Out of Old Ways of Seeing the World -
"TRAVEL, like life, is best understood backward but must be experienced forward, to paraphrase Kierkegaard. After decades of wandering, only now does a pattern emerge. I’m drawn to places that beguile and inspire, sedate and stir, places where, for a few blissful moments I loosen my death grip on life, and can breathe again. It turns out these destinations have a name: thin places.

It is, admittedly, an odd term. One could be forgiven for thinking that thin places describe skinny nations (see Chile) or perhaps cities populated by thin people (see Los Angeles). No, thin places are much deeper than that. They are locales where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and we’re able to catch glimpses of the divine, or the transcendent or, as I like to think of it, the Infinite Whatever.

Travel to thin places does not necessarily lead to anything as grandiose as a “spiritual breakthrough,” whatever that means, but it does disorient. It confuses. We lose our bearings, and find new ones. Or not. Either way, we are jolted out of old ways of seeing the world, and therein lies the transformative magic of travel.

It’s not clear who first uttered the term “thin places,” but they almost certainly spoke with an Irish brogue. The ancient pagan Celts, and later, Christians, used the term to describe mesmerizing places like the wind-swept isle of Iona (now part of Scotland) or the rocky peaks of Croagh Patrick. Heaven and earth, the Celtic saying goes, are only three feet apart, but in thin places that distance is even shorter.

So what exactly makes a place thin? It’s easier to say what a thin place is not. A thin place is not necessarily a tranquil place, or a fun one, or even a beautiful one, though it may be all of those things too. Disney World is not a thin place. Nor is Cancún. Thin places relax us, yes, but they also transform us — or, more accurately, unmask us. In thin places, we become our more essential selves."

"Mircea Eliade, the religious scholar, would understand what I experienced in that Tokyo bar. Writing in his classic work “The Sacred and the Profane,” he observed that “some parts of space are qualitatively different from others.” An Apache proverb takes that idea a step further: “Wisdom sits in places.”

The question, of course, is which places? And how do we get there? You don’t plan a trip to a thin place; you stumble upon one. But there are steps you can take to increase the odds of an encounter with thinness. For starters, have no expectations. Nothing gets in the way of a genuine experience more than expectations, which explains why so many “spiritual journeys” disappoint. And don’t count on guidebooks — or even friends — to pinpoint your thin places. To some extent, thinness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Or, to put it another way: One person’s thin place is another’s thick one."

"Many thin places are wild, untamed, but cities can also be surprisingly thin. The world’s first urban centers, in Mesopotamia, were erected not as places of commerce or empire but, rather, so inhabitants could consort with the gods. What better place to marvel at the glory of God and his handiwork (via his subcontractors: us) than on the Bund in Shanghai, with the Jetsons-like skyscrapers towering above, or at Montmartre in Paris, with the city’s Gothic glory revealed below.

Bookstores are thin places, too, and, for me, none is thinner than Powell’s in Portland, Ore. Sure, there are grander bookstores, and older ones, but none quite possesses Powell’s mix of order and serendipity, especially in its used-book collection — Chekhov happily cohabitating with “Personal Finance for Dummies,” Balzac snuggling with Grisham.

Yet, ultimately, an inherent contradiction trips up any spiritual walkabout: The divine supposedly transcends time and space, yet we seek it in very specific places and at very specific times. If God (however defined) is everywhere and “everywhen,” as the Australian aboriginals put it so wonderfully, then why are some places thin and others not? Why isn’t the whole world thin?

Maybe it is but we’re too thick to recognize it. Maybe thin places offer glimpses not of heaven but of earth as it really is, unencumbered. Unmasked."

[See also (via litherland) ]
thinplaces  buddhism  spirituality  travel  2012  ericweiner  place  cathedrals  churches  nature  newdelhi  jerusalem  rumi  turkey  nepal  boudhanath  katmandu  shanghai  paris  montmartre  powell's  portland  oregon  bookstores  divine  god  nyc  istanbul  kongkong  airports  tokyo  japan 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Documenting Exodus: Hit Man Gurung and Nepal's Departing Youth | Los Angeles | Artbound | KCET
"Much of our Southern California culture is defined by the continuous influx of new residents from far-flung parts of the world. At the receiving end of migrations of people fleeing economic hardship, ethnic or religious persecution or civil unrest, we may at times worry about the effect immigration on jobs, schools, and our resources, but we rarely consider the effects that emigration has on the countries left behind. Artist Hit Man Gurung has traveled from Nepal for two month residency at the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica. While here, he is creating a series of photo collages illustrating the recent exodus of Nepalese youth who are leaving the country to find work. Rows of passport-style photos of young Nepalese faces glued onto sheets of handmade paper, these works read like missing persons posters. Gurung is depicting the unraveling of a country, one person at a time."
hitmangurung  california  ummigration  art  artists  2013  nepal  losangeles  santamonica  emigration  migration  youth  braindrain 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Open Learning Exchange
"Open Learning Exchange (OLE) is committed to universal access to basic education by 2015.

Over one billion school-aged children in more than one hundred countries lack access to even the most essential learning opportunities. Enabling them to acquire at least a basic education is not charity – it is a universal right. Every child is entitled to an opportunity to develop an intellectually and economically strong life consistent with their abilities. This ultimately benefits all of us.

And it is now possible as never before. The global reach of the Internet, low-cost laptops and other information technologies, combined with a greater awareness of the importance of universal basic education, make it possible for this to be achieved by the UN Millennium Goal of 2015.

Basic education enables one to:

» Read local newspapers, magazines and books» Complete job applications and obtain employment» Write letters to friends and employers…

[list continues]"
education  learning  open  openlearning  openlearningexchange  economics  sharing  online  web  internet  olpc  community  access  rwanda  ghana  nepal  mexico  dominicanrepublic 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Seed: Nepal: Laptop School
"realized that providing high-quality, free programs & content on the laptops would be vital to the project's success...his team has been working with education experts, animators & software developers to create interactive & engaging programs in Math, English & Nepali. They are also developing a library of open-source digital learning materials that the children will be able to access online...also runs teacher training-sessions & composes sample lesson-plans to prepare teachers for the collaborative-style class work that the laptops encourage. Nepal is the first country in which this type of dynamic laptop education system is being rolled out. Rabi is now getting inquiries from Bolivia and Guatemala. "The Nepali program is way ahead of anything I've seen elsewhere in terms of content ...In other places, such as Uruguay, the laptops are distributed & the children use them for independent Internet research. But here, they are integrated into lessons in a progressive & innovative way.""
olpc  nepal  education 
january 2009 by robertogreco
laptop distribution - a set on Flickr
"these photo's were taken on the day we at OLE Nepal distributed XO laptops to two Nepali schools, Bashuki and Bishwamitra, both in the Kathmandu Valley area."
olpc  flickr  photography  nepal 
april 2008 by robertogreco

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