Gyamjo Sherpa has been growing kiwis for the past four years. For he and his wife, kiwis are extra income that pay a premium versus the effort that it takes for traditional crops like potatoes and radishes that are common in the area. He was able to produce 30 kg of kiwis last year, though he gave most to relatives as gifts. But the extra NPR 3,000 (US$29) he earned in sales, in a country where the average daily income stands at NPR 205 (US$1.95), these kiwis provide an extra bonus.
Aythos has profiled many Nepalis in the areas where we work, often asking how extra incomes are spent. Many common responses include saving time on less profitable crop production, money to pay for schooling for their children, and health care expenses. In Gyamjo’s case, he had a different purpose.
At 70-years old, Gyamjo says he is losing energy in his age. There was a time when he would get excited to use his labor to support a community project, such as helping to build a monastery in his village. In these Buddhist villages, a monastery is a source of pride and contributing to their construction and upkeep is a charitable endeavor to benefit everyone. But as he’s gotten older his body can’t keep up. For Gyamjo, kiwi profits allowed him to contribute money to offset construction costs for the monastery. It’s hard to be a part of something special as he ages, and to contribute something to help the community keeps him connected.
We are happy to see that Aythos’s projects can help give Gyamjo and his wife a sense of purpose in their community. Nepal is experiencing an economic shift as many young people leave their villages for cities and work abroad. Traditionally, generations of family members would be nearby to provide emotional support for community elders. Recent urbanization of Nepal leaves gaps for older members of the community having to adapt to change with less support than in the past. Many of Aythos's projects are taken on by young adults in the community to provide for their family, but sometimes our work has other positive consequences that our donors should feel proud to support.
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