Chaudhary Foundation Newsletter

Newsletter Vol 01 No. 02
November 2016 - April 2017

Dolpa Eco lodge Project

It was an interesting learning over conversation we had in Kagani of Raha VDC in Dolpa. After a tiring walk from Dunai we decided to stay in Hotel Kagani, one of the shortlisted hotels among seven hotels selected for Dolpa Eco lodge project that Nepal Social Business has started in Dolpa. The team was stationed inDunai for 4 days completing the orientation training on the Dolpa Eco lodge project initiated by Nepal Social Business. The objective of the project is to promote tourism of Shey –Phoksundo trail and to promote this trail into a global trekking map.

Yes, I was talking about an interesting learning, and I am going to share that with you all. Rai ( Raini ) didi, 42 yearls old from Okhaldhunga married to RanamalOkheda, 42 from Dolpa.

They met in Kathmandu, fell in love and got married. After they returned to Dolpa and they started a small lodge for their living apart from agriculture and yak farming that Ranamal Dai is fond of. Rainididi is very famous along the trekking route of Shey- Phoksundo for her amazing food that she cooks. As soon as we got there, she got busy facilitating her hospitality. We sat around the firewood where she was cooking inside her kitchen. She boiled some potato for us and grinded some red chilli, garlic and salt for us. A bite of potato with pinch of spices paste was perfect for us to forget our tiredness. Also every once in a while the sound of river splashes from Phoksundo river would hit the ear to make us realize that we are far far away in Karnali in Dolpa , hearing stories from these couple. Rainididi is very determined to renovate her lodge through Nepal Social Business project. She was at the training with us all day. While she was cooking food she explained everything to her husband about the orientation program. “Look, this kind of opportunity will not repeat, madam has said that they will help renovating our lodge structure and they have also said that they will help us to guide on how to do an ethical business. Their project will assist on helping our community as well. Looks like even our son can come back from Kathmandu and live with us to run this hotel in a newer way. (Hamro kalyan hunekamra hecha RajuKa Ba) This is for our welfare Raju’s dad.”Rainidi was confident that the Dolpa Eco lodge project will change her life and the life of many hotel owners in Dolpa if they are able to replicate the idea shared by Nepal Social Business team.

The plan of Dolpa Eco lodge project is that it will enhance 7 different lodges along the route of Lake Shey- Phoksundo Trail namely in Jufal, Kagani, Chepkka, Reyachi, Saijol, Rigmo and Dunai. Each of this lodge will be properly equipped with basic facilities for any tourist who comes to the door. A proper sleeping bed, bath room with hot shower, a kitchen with menu, hygienic and organic food and clean and healthy green environment of the lodges will be a basic criteria of these lodges. Nepal Social business will invest in all of these lodges without any interest and without any collateral, however the principle amount of investment should be returned back to the NSB in five years of time. NSB, then will invest that money in other social entrepreneurship program in the district. Team was really fascinated with the interaction between husband and wife. It was an inspiring time with them as we realized that these couples are making money in Dolpa to send their son school in Kathmandu. She told us how happy she is to start this project because these days when tourist comes they come with their own tents, camping gears and food. “When tourist comes they don’t buy much from us at all besides renting our land for camping. Our business is supported by local tourist and local people. We hope this project will meet the standards of our guest from abroad. It is also very hard and expensive to carry everything for them. But I think with the help of this project, more tourist will stay at our hotel with all the new facilities being updgraded by Nepal Social Business.” Ranamal was smiling opening his heart, perhaps he was happy to listen to his wife about the project and her confident. He added “Of course, but we have to do commit from our side as well. We have to focus on the hotel business and providing tourist with more facilities.” We were completely happy to stay at Hotel Raju and to listen the conversation between these husband and wife. It was 7 PM already and we could her the radio from outside which was hanging on the wooden frame of the balcony and it was a news hour. We thought the radio would air the news about Nepal Social Business project because one of the radio reporter came to our programe on that afternoon. Crushing our expectation it did not say anything about our project. Rai nididi was busy whirling her spatula inside the pot making her Dhido( Corn food). Oops! I was supposed to tell you all the learning from the conversation at Kagani. I am getting there.

After everything was cooked, we sat around and had more discussion about the training and how to execute it and implement it properly. Someone from our team wanted to have a cheese and asked with Rai nididi if she could provide us with Yak cheese. She started giggling and Ranamaldai giggled at my friend. She asked him why he was giggling and if she said anything wrong? Ranamaldai then revealed us something that we were surprise to hear. He told is that Yak is a male and Chauri is a female. Chauri is the one which gives milk therefore if you wanted to eat cheese then you may ask cheese of Chauri not a Yak. Chauri is also called nak in our language. We were stunned to hear this and started joking around on how cheese business group has been selling Yak Cheese. We thought, perhaps once we are back in Kathmandu we will lodge a complaint and correct them to use the right information. However, it was our learning during our Dolpa visit that cheese comes from chauri or nak but not from Yak. This was the learning we had over conversation with owners of Hotel Raju in Kagani. We suggested them that they should have this information in the menu when they develop a menu for their restaurant to let everyone know that Yak is male Himalayan cow and cheese comes from Nak or Chauri which is female Himalayan cow. “

(The first level orientation training took place from Dec 18th through Dec 21st of 2016 in Dolpa. Seven lodges has been shortlisted. Also the Dolpa Eco lodge committee has been formed with local leaders. The second incubation training of Dolpa Eco lodge was held in Bardiya with seven shortlisted hotels and 4 more interested hotels along the trail. The training was held in Bardiya to give them knowledge about eco lodge and to show them how Bardiya National park has been maintained. The third level incubation training will held in April and the proto type design of this project will start in April as well.)