In 1974, Broughton Coburn hiked up to a Gurung village on a ridge at the eastern edge of Syangja District, and introduced himself to the headman. He had been assigned by the Peace Corps to teach at a high school. The headman found lodgings for Coburn with a 70-year-old widow who lived alone with a cat, some chicken, and a water buffalo. ’Aama’ was even more surprised by the sudden appearance of such an unusual lodger, and Coburn eased the transition by helping Aama with her daily chores.
Aama did not have children, and Coburn’s own mother had died three years earlier. A mother-son bond grew between them, and culminated in two books: a photo-portrait of Aama’s life, Nepali Aama: Life Lessons of a Himalayan Woman, and Aama in America: A Pilgrimage of the Heart, the tale of their odyssey in search of the soul of the United States.
Coburn recently revisited Aama’s village of Kolma after 31 years. Aama died in 1991, at age 87. When her only daughter, Sun Maya also died two years ago, he vowed to return to the village and visit descendants four generations on. If Aama were still alive, she would have a new great-great-grandson.
A long the northeastern edge of the Tibetan plateau, a treacherous landscape where yaks graze above the clouds, basketball hoops are everywhere: at the bases of cliffs; in the courtyards of centuries-old, golden-roofed monasteries; in nomadic villages tucked into the hills.
It was within such a village, Zorge Ritoma, that Dugya Bum, a sheep and yak herder from the Golden Stone Clan, took up the sport. He’d played in school, but after dropping out at 16 he became a full-time nomad, the livelihood of his ancestors. During winter, his family lived in a mud-walled house about four miles from Zorge Ritoma’s center, grazing yaks and sheep at the foot of the mountains. In the summer, when the weather improved, they took the herds up to rich, high-altitude pastures and resided in temporary tents. In the fall, they would gradually make the journey back down.
Some passports afford their bearers more freedom than others and if you’re a U.S. holder, you’ll be able to enjoy an impressive level of visa-free travel. According to the latest edition of the Henley Passport Index, the U.S. passport is one of the world’s most powerful, granting its holders visa-free access or visa-on-arrival access to 186 countries. That’s a level of freedom shared with Austria, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom.
After its citizens gained visa-free access to Myanmar earlier this month, Japan has been named the country with the most powerful passport. Japanese travelers are now able to cross an impressive 190 borders without restrictions. Singapore, another Asian island nation, is in second place with 189 destinations. France, Germany and South Korea follow close behind with visa-free travel to 188 countries. At the other end of the scale, Afghanistan and Iraq have the least powerful passports worldwide with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to a mere 30 jurisdictions…MORE
Nepal buys Rs 700m mansion for its ambassador in Washington
At a time when state agencies have been prescribed austerity to reduce burden on the public coffers, the government has purchased a lavish mansion as the residence of the Nepali ambassador to the United States of America at a cost of $6.8 million—approximately Rs700 million.
The cost, which does not include the additional three percent commission to the middleman, totals the entire rent Nepal pays for all its missions aboard annually, including the embassy buildings, and residences of the embassy staff and the ambassadors.
Himalayan climate is ideal for coffee growing but farmers face numerous hurdles
Nikkei Asian Review
KATHMANDU — As the aroma of freshly brewed coffee fills the air, Nima Tenjing Sherpa bends and perches his nose above a cup at a table inside a tiny roaster in a posh Kathmandu neighborhood. He inhales the fragrance, an act reminiscent of wine-tasting, then sips at the coffee. “It’s sweet with traces of fruit,” he says.