Project Origins and Purpose
A few words about the origins of Namche Chautauri (Meeting place) and Linking Everest
This site belongs to Tsering Gyaltsen Sherpa and the Sherpas of the Khumbu. It will seek to link Tsering’s vision of sustainable economic development and Sherpa cultural preservation in Namche Bazaar and the Khumbu with his inspiration to open a Cyber Café at Everest Base Camp. It also seems to be a lesson in good karma.
Here’s what I mean. I have known Dave Hughes since late 1980. Dave was the inspiration behind Big Sky Telegraph between 1988 and 1992. Dave taught Frank Odasz how to create an online educational Community in remote southwestern Montana. In 1992-93 Frank inspired Dileep Agrawal, a student from Nepal who in 1995 founded WorldLink Nepal’s first and now largest in user base ISP. I met Dileep on my first and second visits to Kathmandu in 1998 and 1999.
Last Summer as I was getting ready to return for a third visit Dileep said to me that there was a Sherpa in Namche whom I really needed to get to know. This sherpa had been working single handedly to restore telecom to the Khumbu after the Maoists had destroyed a repeater tower link north east of Jiri in June 2001. I missed meeting Tsering in Namche, but with Dileep’s help met him on November 3, 2002 in Kathmandu. We talked for about 45 minutes about technically what he had accomplished in the Khumbu. His system had gone live only two weeks before. And then after explaining the economic important of reliable telecommunications to Sherpas, he said there is something else. We are Tibetan in origin and our language is Tibetan, but Sherpas younger than 40 or so can not read or write Tibetan. I want to change that by getting Tibetan fonts for our computers and by teaching Tibetan again. I believe it is very important to preserve Sherpa culture.
I was stunned. For more than 20 years Dave Hughes has articulated the same vision about the use of technology to preserve culture. I had never before met anyone who had independently come to the same conclusion. I was in Kathmandu for another four days and spent several hours with Tsering on each day. He had not yet gotten the idea for the base camp cyber café.
When I arrived back in the US on November 9th I called Dave and announced to him that he had been reincarnated on the slopes of Mount Everest. We weren’t in regular touch with Tsering until December but from then until late January we used the Meta network to plan the base camp operation. The both of us have contributed many many hours. When in the last days of February the ISP that Tsering was using told him that Cyber café was undoable for the 50th anniversary season, Dileep Argawal stepped in with a major commitment of WorldLink’s resources and saved the day.
Meanwhile After the January 23rd publication of Nancy Gohring’s article in the New York Times Michelle Matossian (Michelle at lightweaver dot com) an outstanding designer and artist contacted me. I cajoled her into donating the preliminary and basic work on the site design coordinated with Tsering. When the cyber cafe opened on April 14 (Nancy Gohring, New York Times) and the virtual yetis asked to get some pictures up, I turned to St. Petersburg Russia.
There Anna Khotina the daughter of Arcady Khotin who several years ago had designed my site. She donated time on the spot and stayed up half the night to get pictures there. Finally about a week ago I had a long and very fortuitous chat with Dave Hughes’ oldest son David. To my extremely pleasant surprise we found our designer. David, a Linux security specialist brought the Photo Gallery software to the site and it is hoped will remain as the permanent designer.
Gordon CookThe COOK Report on Internet firstname.lastname@example.org 703 738-6031