THREE WEEKS WITH RAJ
This is Raj, a trekking guide in the Himalayas who has a dream to Clean up Nepal.
Back in 2017 I began planning a trip to Nepal to trek to the Base Camp of Everest. I ran across Raj’s Instagram while searching for others who had done the trek. But unlike the other instagrams that I found, Raj didn’t just have beautiful shots of the mountains, he showed what others hid. He shared pictures of the trash and the impact that tourism and the locals are having on the heavily trafficked trails throughout the mountains. Raj sought to find a solution, so he started his own campaign called “Clean Up Nepal”. His program is an open invitation to anyone who would like to volunteer during clean up events in the city or help pick up trash while trekking with him in the mountains.
After seeing the work he was doing, I quickly reached out to him about possibly teaming up to use my photography to spread his message while trekking to Everest. We spent the next year planning a clean up event in Kathmandu and mapping out our trek to Everest.
WEEK ONE (KATHMANDU)
During my first week I got a glimpse into the chaotic yet beautiful city of Kathmandu. I spent the majority of my time in an area called Thamel, the center of town, essential the hub of where all tourist begin their journey before heading to the mountains.
I spent the majority of my first week documenting and talking to many of the kind locals who spoke about the problems of trash in the city. Later in the week Raj had set up a clean up event on the one year anniversary of the campaign “Clean Up Nepal”. The small event went perfectly with dozens of locals showing up and several tourist joining in as we walked through the center of town. It was amazing to see tourist take time out of their own vacation to stop and help us clean the streets.
Through Instagram I happened to meet Elise who already had spent a month in Nepal and was now looking to go trekking. After Explaining what Raj's goal was with his program and the trek, she quickly jumped on board.