Nepalese lodge of Tashi and Lakpa Sherpa, who have ties to Grand County, burns down | SkyHiNews.com

Nepalese lodge of Tashi and Lakpa Sherpa, who have ties to Grand County, burns down

Last week Tashi and Lakpa Sherpa's world turned upside down when the mountain lodge in Nepal the couple called their home, and which served as the source of their livelihoods, burned down in a late night fire.

Grand County has a strong culture of volunteering and charitable giving and many residents are familiar with the Sherpas, who come to Grand County each summer during Nepal's monsoon season, through their work with the locally-based nonprofit called Nepal: Here to Help. The organization focuses on improving the quality of life of Nepal's residents in the Everest region and Tashi and Lakpa are the organization's in country representatives. The Sherpas help with fundraising events in the US and also help to distribute donated funds to children and families in need in the high Himalayas.

Sandy Kukoy, one of the founders of Nepal: Here to Help, confirmed the details of the tragic fire Monday evening. Kukoy confirmed the Sherpas were not injured during the fire, nor were any of the guests staying at their lodge.

"Their world is upside down," Kukoy said. "They lost their home. It was a big beautiful lodge. They built it. It didn't take more than half an hour and it was gone."

Kukoy said the Sherpas lost almost all of their possessions as well as the lodge's main facility, including the kitchen the couple used for cooking, but thankfully a detached bakery and a few detached cabin rooms survived the blaze. Unfortunately the Sherpas were booked for the season and guests are staying in the remaining rooms, leaving the Sherpas to sleep in tents on the lodge's large patio.

Over the last week the Sherpa's and dozens of their relatives in villages near the northeastern village of Namche Bazaar, where the Sherpa's Ama Dablam Lodge was located before the fire, have been busily removing rubble and debris from the area where the lodge burned down. Compounding the difficulties the couple face is the fact that December in Nepal is a brutally cold time of year with severe weather. Additionally the region of Nepal where the Sherpas live is on the remote mountain trails leading to Mount Everest and as such there are no formal roads in the area.

"Tashi and Lakpa are the villagers who always are the first to help, to offer hope, and opportunity to their neighbors," Kukoy stated. "I hope now, we can be in a position to help them, offer them hope, help, and opportunity."

Nepal: Here to Help, is asking local citizens, who know the Sherpas and know the value of the charitable work the couple does, to donate to help rebuild the Sherpas home. Kukoy noted the organization has already received a pledge of up to $5,000 in matching funds that will be donated as other funds come in to support the rebuilding efforts.

Nepal: Here to Help is a 501(c)3 organization and as such all donations to the group are tax deductible. If you are interested in helping out the Sherpas you can send your donations by mail to Nepal: Here to Help, P.O. Box 4207 Evergreen, CO 80437. You can reach Nepal: Here to Help by calling 303-408-9736.