I flew home last week from Hong Kong, where our new investors are headquartered. I passed through on the way home from Kathmandu where I had one of these amazing visits. Long story, but my wife Missy and I had planned on being in Nepal to participate in Habitat For Humanity’s Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter’s build on behalf of Nepalese who had lost their homes in the recent earthquakes. To put a painful capper on a terrible year, the blockade of fuel from India, for the last 90 days, has made getting virtually all things accomplished orders of magnitude more difficult. Habitat For Humanity had to cancel its initiative so as not to put an even greater strain on the system by supporting the relief workers’ efforts.
We’d really been looking forward to the trip. Missy has deep roots in Nepal, but had never visited. Her grandparents were medical missionaries there in the 50s and 60s and helped to start one of the country’s first western hospitals over their ten-year adventure. So…when we heard the trip was cancelled, we decided to follow our own spirit and make the trip anyway.
At the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Manila last month, I grabbed my acquaintance Binod Chaudhary, Nepal’s first and only billionaire, and explained our situation. I told him our challenge. Far from trying to dissuade us, he told us that as luck would have it he was taking his annual trek that very same week. (“It is karma!”) So, we committed to a remarkable trip that would take us trekking deep into a lesser-known mountain and lake region, Dolpo, in Nepal.
As we marched from village to village going higher and higher, I watched Binod in action. The Chaudhary Foundation has committed to building 10,000 homes and 100 schools as part of an extensive earthquake relief program. Each home costs $750 and, in some areas, they can be as low as $550. They are primarily built using Nepalese materials such as the bamboo, concrete and cement, and always working with home owners. Imagine… you can provide a homeless family, usually five people, with a home for a few hundred dollars.
We followed him from elegant Nepalese formal wear at the Forbes Global CEO Conference to campsites with hill residents in the freezing cold Himalayan Mountains. We slept in tents and teahouses, ate (with our hands) traditional Nepalese rice, cauliflower, and lentil soup and were even “treated” to fresh goat!
I asked Binod, who is now a friend for life, how he manages living so close to these overwhelming issues. His answer was…” Mike…If you’re not living close to the edge, you’re taking up too much space!”
The above is excerpted from the original article by Mike Perlis, Forbes CEO, first published on www.forbes.com. Click here for the full article here : http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeperlis/2015/11/17/750-houses-earthquakes-and-fuel-shortage-what-i-learned-on-my-trek-in-nepal/