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A TRIP WITH AN ASHOKA FELLOW

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by Martyna Rubinowska

ASHOKA FELLOW JACEK BOŻEK went on vacation and wrote to us about his adventures.

ut his adventures.

It is fascinating that after many years of Ashoka not existing in Nepal, I was able to meet an Ashoka Fellow in a situation which I would consider unusually uncommon. I had previously met Lucky Chhetri, a name known beyond the borders of Asia who, together with her sisters, founded the first women’s mountain guide company in Nepal.  As the Gaja Club, we had the privilege of hosting her during our program The Festival of Trees. However, I met Megh Ale, a great fighter for rivers and peace in the world, by chance while I was visiting the tourist office in the center of Kathmandu. It was during our conversation about rivers and the works of people like Lucky that we were led to discover that we were both Ashoka Fellows! Coincidence?

This meeting led to a trip to Pokhara, where I had been with my partner Beata, who was also present on this vacation, 37 years ago.  The lovely time we were having with Lucky could not dispel the dark sides of tourism which results in dramatic ecological and social changes. This darkness could not be hid. I had the opportunity to talk about this on the local radio in Pokhara, in particular regarding the problems with clean water and air pollution. Our conversations resulted in the desire to act together. Together with Lucky, we want to support the candidacy of Pema Bhuti from Sikkim for the Ashoka Fellowship. We had the opportunity to visit this extraodrinary man who showed us the work that he has been doing in the Himalayas for years.

Megh Ali dedicated an entire day to me, sharing his knowledge with me knowledge and showing me his work in behalf of the rivers in Kathmandu and Nepal.

To end I will add that Beata, my daughter Jagoda, and I were not on a vacation, but we had been organizing the arrival of Polish doctors to help the local community in the Himalayas through the devotion of their time and education.

It was not an easy trip, but it was the trip of an Ashokan, no?

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