Moving Mountains at the University of Bristol

© 2017 Moving Mountains Trust. Registered as a charity under reference NIC100742 with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland. 

Summary

This is an adventure in the foothills of the Himalayas, exploring traditional Sherpa culture and living in teahouses and Sherpa homes deep in the lush green mountains. The trek follows trails used by the local people and visits the beautiful villages of Bumburi and Bupsa where Moving Mountains has been setting up sustainable projects for the past 15 years.

 

The main part of your trip will be staying in these villages and running and assisting in the medical clinics, which you will all form an integral and essential part of. You can also see how a charity can transform an entire region in the remote Kingdom of Nepal. It’s a beautiful area to visit, and just going there will bring work and income to the villagers. The work of Moving Mountains has enabled Sherpa communities to set up and run their own businesses, bring wealth and families back to the region and become sustainable and successful. There is also a huge amount to do before and after the project such as riding elephants in the jungle, exploring the amazing capital of Kathmandu and the beautiful surrounding countryside.

The hills are very green and verdant, the hillsides covered in small homesteads and farms. It is very rural and rustic. In Bumburi, there is electricity from the hydro-electric "power plant" (funded and built by Moving Mountains). The evenings are spent socialising and drinking the local rakshi and a more pungent millet beer (chang), from a large plastic barrel until it is empty. Sherpa life is rather slower than in the UK, so expect to spend a lot of time being greeted with more rakshi, chang or tea! Protocol dictates that they simply must provide drink and often food, which might be the eggs laid that morning or fresh corn on the cob, grilled over an open fire.

 

This trip is for people who are fit, enthusiastic and open-minded. It really appeals to people who are interested in travel and trekking, sustainable tourism, charitable work in remote regions and learning about new cultures. This trip looks particularly at community development in the Himalayas and 60% of the trip fee is spent in Nepal benefitting local people and businesses.

Throughout the trek you will be staying with local Nepalese families, mainly of the Sherpas who guide trips up Everest. This will be a great opportunity to live in Nepal and experience the local culture first hand. The culture is obviously very different to the western culture here and the places we will be staying won’t be as advanced as in other regions, such as on the Everest Base Camp trek, but you will mostly be staying with local families so this will be a great & unique experience which very few companies offer!

This is a great opportunity for everyone to bring their individual skills to help in the village. Medical clinics in Bumburi and Bupsa have been hugely successful in previous years, with nearly 2,000 patients being seen over 10 days. Medics may run basic first aid courses, dentists can provide basic dental care, or you can teach English, play sports or just help out in the daily tasks around the village. Moving Mountains have built a hydro-electric power plant in Bumburi, eco-friendly cooking stoves, and primary schools in Bumburi and Bupsa, renovated a monastery in Bumburi and Bupsa, and have also helped many businesses in the area. Bumburi now produces its own dried tea with the resources Moving Mountains have supplied and exports to local markets. In 2010 Bristol RAG fundraised for and helped in the finishing of the water project which provided all the houses in Bumburi with clean, running water.

Without doubt you will witness the strong links between Moving Mountains and the communities that you are placed in. As such, you will be an ambassador for Moving Mountains. As a medical volunteer, you will be working closely with a fully qualified local doctor who has insight into the needs and common problems of the local community. They will guide you and act as your support, helping you to make the most of this international medical volunteer experience. You will not be expected to be a visiting doctor who sees patients, although sometimes misunderstandings occur. We advise you to discuss your role clearly with your supervisor and make it clear to patients that you are a student, not a fully qualified doctor. Read Adventure Alternative's blog and webpage on the ethics of a medical elective and medical volunteering.

Bristol University students and Moving Mountains have a long-standing partnership and have been running annual medical clinics in Bumburi and Bupsa since 2010. These trips have formed the core of a very successful health programme in the villages and Bristol students have funded these free medical clinics for the local community each year and contributed to the development and building of a permanent clinic in Bumburi. This scheme is part of a wider ongoing initiative to improve the quality of life of people in the lower Khumbu region of rural Nepal. The village regeneration project is the implementation of a long-term development plan focused around two rural villages. Overall enhancement of quality of life and sustainability of the community has so far been achieved via investment in infrastructure, education and healthcare as well as training and reliable employment.

Fundraising requirements 

 

Participation as a medical volunteer in one of our medical camps does require reaching a stated fundraising goal. This fundraising goal is incredibly important to Moving Mountains and will play a vital roll in our health initiatives on the ground for long after you have finished your medical camp.


The fundraising requirement doesn't just cover the costs of the medical camps, it helps us to pay for the salaries of nurses who work on the frontline in these rural communities, treating minor ailments or referring patients to official clinics in nearby cities.


It can also support Moving Mountains’ long term development goals of building and staffing fully equipped clinics or health centers within the local communities and other long term sustainable development projects. Additionally, the funding helps support us in our data gathering work, establishing a baseline of knowledge about common health problems within the local communities.