Bringing Progress to Paradise: What I Got From Giving to a Village in Nepal
by Jeff Rasley
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What does it mean to bring progressschools electricity roads running waterto paradise? Can our consumer culture and desire to do good really be good for a community that has survived contentedly for centuries without us? In October 2008 climbing expedition leader and attorney Jeffrey Rasley led a trek to a village in a remote valley in the Solu region of Nepal named Basa. His group of three adventurers was only the third group of white people ever seen in this village of subsistence farmers. What he found was a people thoroughly unaffected by Western consumer-culture values. They had no running water electricity or anything that moves on wheels. Each family lived in a beautiful hand-chiseled stone house with a flower garden. Beyond what they already had it seemed all they wanted was education for the children. He helped them finish a school building already in progress and then they asked for help getting electricity to their village. Bringing Progress to Paradise describes Rasleys transformation from adventurer to committed philanthropist. We are attracted to the simpler way of life in these communities and we are changed by our experience of it. They are attracted to us because we bring economic benefits. Bringing Progress to Paradise offers Rasleys critical reflection on the tangled relationship between tourists and locals in exotic locales and the effect of Western values on some of the most remote locations on earth.
- Red Wheel Weiser, September 2010
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