Wanaka-based Nepalese men in quest
Energetic Taekwondo coach Laxman Basnet has spent many hours helping Wanaka and Cromwell athletes compete at their best in tournaments around the South Island.
Now he and his US-based brother Binod Basnet are turning their hearts and minds to their home district of Kavre in Nepal, where their parents, Hare Krishna and Isori Basnet, and Laxman’s wife Chandika and their children Sasman and Sasmini are battling the impacts of Nepal’s devastating earthquake.
Laxman Basnet has lived in Wanaka since June last year and works in the evenings at New World Supermarket.
His efforts in the Central Last month he was named one of five finalists in the Central Otago Sports Awards. One day he hopes his wife and children can join him here. But for now, he is focused on relieving the suffering he has seen on television. While his family is safe, their village has been destroyed, as has the village of one of his assistant Taekwondo instructors, who is now homeless.
Laxman Basnet said Kavre is one of the most affected districts in Nepal. His friend Ghammar Bohara, who works at the Saigun Restaurant in Wanaka, says his district of Baglung is not so badly damaged. Bohara said his family were OK and he has decided to donate money to a fund set up by the Basnet brothers rather than return to Nepal at the moment, for visa reasons.
‘‘Our goal, with my brother who is living in the USA, our goal is one village at a time. Me and my brother, maybe we can help rebuild also . . . First, my job is to help my family and then my Taekwondo family,’’ Basnet said.
Basnet had tears in his eyes watching televised reports and realising some people may never be freed from the rubble.
‘‘First, we will go home and look at what they have had [in the way of relief] recently. Then maybe we will go to the very remote areas and try to help there. Because in some places, there are still no rescue teams,’’ Laxman Basnet said.
Members of the Wanaka Taekwondo Club have rallied to contribute more than $700 since their coach’s Facebook plea for prayers and financial aid.
Binod Basnet told the Mirror from the US that fundraising was going well and he had Wanaka men Ghammar Bohara (left) and Laxman Basnet, are helping fundraise for earthquake relief in their home districts in Nepal. Basnet will join the relief effort later this month in the district of Kavre.
Photo: Marjorie Cook/Fairfax NZ raised nearly US$10,000 towards their $50,000 goal. Binod Basnet works as a biomedical engineer in Fort Worth, Texas, and returns to his family village at the end of this week, while Laxman Basnet plans to follow later this month.
To support Laxman and Binod Basnet’s relief effort: ring Laxman 02040152714; go to the Wanaka Taekwondo Facebook Page or donate via www.crowdrise.com/OneVillage-At-A-Time-LocalizedRelief-Effort.
There were rumours in Central Otago that Laxman Basnet was already in Nepal but this is a case of mistaken identity. Basnet said the rescuer was a man of the same name, working with Nepal’s armed forces.
The Wanaka guiding company’s main Everest team arrived safely in Kathmandu on Sunday morning and were staying in a hotel in Lazimpat, which was mostly unaffected by the quake. Many were intending to fly out but Guy Cotter, Suze Kelly, Rob Smith and Scottie Simper are still in Nepal. They stayed on in the Khumbu Valley to help with the cleanup at Everest base camp and were to start walking down the valley on Monday. The Wanaka-based company has now lost six staff, with the death of injured man Jangbu Sherpa at the weekend. The families of the deceased and seven other injured staff members are being supported by Adventure Consultants. Contributions can be made to the Adventure Consultants Sherpa Future Fund: adventureconsultants.com/ adventure/AC_Sherpa_Fund.
Wanaka mountain guide and speed flyer Mal Haskins and his wife Sophie Ward have been living and working in Nepal for several months.
They are now working to support relief teams in outlying villages. Haskins has been deployed in Timbu in the Helambu district. Haskins’ work has included helping an earthquake victim stuck in a creek bed with a broken leg. The pair have raised nearly $35,000 on givealittle.co.nz/cause/ Nepal-earthquake-2015.
Masterton eight-year-old Emily McMaster has been awarded the Best Photo in the 2015 Top Outdoor Spot, for this picture of the autumn trees on the edge of Lake Wanaka. The national competition invited students to send in photos, drawings and descriptions of their favourite outdoor places to the New Zealand Walking Access Commission’s Both Sides of the Fence website. Emily, who’s great-grandfather was a mayor of Wanaka, said, ‘‘Wanaka is a beautiful place with nature all around you. You would fall in love there. I will never forget this place’’. Commission chairman John Forbes said the judges were ‘‘blown away’’ by the quality of entries. A total of 180 entries were received. The Best Drawing went to Boston Beanland, 12, of Christchurch, for his picture of Mt Cook and Best Description went to Laura Johnson, 12, of Hastings, for her piece about Makorori Beach, in Gisborne.