Antigua, Guatemala: Site of the Engineering World Health Winter Institute in 2015. The coming two weeks 15 engineering students from around the world are going to put broken medical equipment back into service to aid the Guatemalan health care system.
Getting to Guatemala was probably the longest flight of my life. The trip started in Copenhagen at 3:30, went through Amsterdam and Atlanta to finally reach Guatemala Airport at 8:30 in the evening. Once I arrived in Guatemala I had been on the way for 24 hours exactly.
Antigua is like a small and very romantic town. It could have in Spain apart from the fact that’s it’s surrounded by volcanos(!) Very cool. Have a look at the Gallery! It gives a quite nice impression of small and romantic Antigua.
On the way to the Central Park
The Central park #1
The Central park #2
The Central park #3
The Central park #4
The Church at the The Central park
The Central park #5
The Central park #6
In Antigua there’s a Volcano at the end of the street!
Guatemala Antigua Markets #1
Guatemala Antigua Markets #2
Guatemala Antigua Markets #3
Guatemala Antigua Markets #4
Football the end of edge of town in Atigua
Small local tourist market in Antigua
After a 14 hour walk we had finally arrived in Bhattechaur, the furthest village we would reach.
Before we would proceed to conduct our first health camp in the village, we went to an incredible view point from which we could see the Southern end of the Dhaulagiri mountain range, namely Sisne peak of 5911 metres, the highest point of Rukum.
This gallery contains photos of mountain side villages, the people of Bhattechaur and the mountain views. The gallery is one of my favourites; it really shows the true beauty of Nepal.
Village across the valley #1
Village across the valley #2
Local Rukum mountain side houses
Local kids playing around / working
Local kids working
Rukum village cows
Rukum village bhattechaur goat with huge ears
Local kid in Bhattechaur, Rukum, Nepal.
This boy was the first born son of the family we stayed at in Bhattechaur
Local kids in Rukum, Bhattechaur #1
Local kids in Rukum, Bhattechaur #2
Local kids in Rukum, Bhattechaur #3
Elderly woman, who was a bit intimidated about our camera. We showed her the picture afterwards and she was very happy with it.
Small crop storage shed
Small crop storage shed#2
Beautiful Rukum nature, birds
Beautiful Rukum nature, with our guide Mr. Bharat Sharma on the mountain side.
Dr. Saujan Shrestha on the mountain side
Drying crops on the roof top
Storing crops on the rooftop in mountain views
Storing crops and mountains
Incredible Rukum Mountain range (Dhaulagiri) #1
Incredible Rukum Mountain range (Dhaulagiri) #2
Carrying firewoods and crops. This traditional way of carrying heavy loads is seen everywhere in Nepal
Incredible Rukum Mountain range (Dhaulagiri) w. Dr. Justin Jung Malla
Incredible Rukum Mountain range (Dhaulagiri) with Mr Chandra Malla
Myself, Mr. Chandra Malla, Justin Jung Malla and Rajkumar Silwal relaxing at the viewpoint out side Bhattechaur
Myself, Mr. Chandra Malla, Justin Jung Malla and Rajkumar Silwal at the viewpoint out side Bhattechaur
The famous Himalayan Rhododendron Incredible Rukum Mountain range (Dhaulagiri)
The famous Himalayan Rhododendron Incredible Rukum Mountain range (Dhaulagiri) , David Kovacs
The famous Himalayan Rhododendron Incredible Rukum Mountain range (Dhaulagiri)
Dr Saujan Shrestha at the at the Rukum Mountain range (Dhaulagiri), Sisne peak in the background
Rukum Mountain range (Dhaulagiri)
Mr Rajkumar Silwal at the at the Rukum Mountain range (Dhaulagiri), Sisne peak in the background
The Incredible Sisne, Rukum Mountain range (Dhaulagiri) #1
The Incredible Sisne Rukum Mountain range (Dhaulagiri) #2
The Incredible Sisne Rukum Mountain range (Dhaulagiri) #3
The Incredible Sisne Peak Rukum Mountain range (Dhaulagiri)
The Incredible Sisne Rukum Mountain range (Dhaulagiri) #5
The Incredible Sisne Peak Rukum Mountain range (Dhaulagiri) #6
The Incredible Sisne Peak Rukum Mountain range (Dhaulagiri) #7
The Incredible Sisne Peak Rukum Mountain range (Dhaulagiri) #8
After reaching Rukum on impossible roads, meeting with the Local Development Officer, visiting the Salle Bajjar/Musikot District Hospital where we experienced the harsh reality for the patients of Rukum, buying medication and receiving donations at the Chitwan Medical College Teaching Hospital we were finally ready to start are trek towards Sisne. On our trip this far we had seen amazing sceneries, however the best was still to come, as you can see in the gallery below.
One of our initial goals with AHCN was to reach an area that was as rural as possible, where we would document the health care situation. Rukum is not a frequently visited are by tourists and in effect it was virtually impossible to find out how long it would take to reach a given village prior to our departure. Due to a limited budget we only had one day to walk and we wanted to reach all the way to Sisne. While we did not manage to reach Sisne village it self (at the foot of Sisne peak), we did reach the village of Bhattechaur, which is located in the Sisne Village Development Committee region.
We suspected on the way, that we would have a long walk ahead of us. The locals had told that Bhattechaur took a full day to reach. We quickly found out however, that a distance which would take a local a day too reach may very well take two days for a city folks. Finally we ended up walking 14 hours to reach our goal before we, with soar feet and aching legs, reached Bhattechaur and had the best portion of traditional Nepali food in our lives.
Map of Rukum Nepal where we were trekking for 14 hours
Climbing down to Bheri River, dangerous, steep roads
Bridge crossing Bheri river in the beginning of our journey
Meeting woman with eye-sight issues, We told her about the health camp, for which she would show up later.
At the Foot of Bheri River
Woman with eye issues who would show up for a health check up two days later
Bheri River, Nepal
High risk of Rock-slide area
First patient #1
Local girl drinking tea
First patiens #2
Dr. Saujan and Dr. Justin
Mr. Chandra Malla
Dr Saujan and Dr. Justin at Treck
Bheri River Waterfalls
Bheri River Waterfalls #2
Justin on the way to Bhattechaur
Bheri River Waterfalls #1
Bheri River Waterfalls #4
The Himalayan chickens are huge. Really. Huge!
Me, Chandra MAlla, Saujan and Justin trekking.
Me, Justin, Saujan, Mr. Chandra Malla Trekking on the Dangerous roads of Rukum
Sherri river waterfalls
Crossing Bheri River
Himilayas and blue skies, Rukum Nepal
Goatskin Village of Rukum
Walking through Rukum villages
Rukum villages #1
Rukum villages #2
Kids of Rukum playing games
Swing in the mountain sides
Trekking to Bhattechaur
The beautiful people of Rukum, Nepal #1
Himalayan agriculture #1
Himalayan agriculture #2
Himalayan agriculture #3
Girl with her chicken on the way to Bhattechaur
Rukum Mountain man #1
Saujan as mountain man #2
Trekking on dangerous roads
These tracks were pretty dangerous to walk on — not to say very.
Himalayan rice and mustard terraces
Beautiful rice terraces#1
Beautiful rice terraces#2
Beautiful rice terraces #3
Rukum goats #2
Rukum goats #3
Rukum villages #3
Rukum villages #4
Rukum villages #5
Rukum villages #6
Rukum villages #7
As the sun set it lit up the skies from below and turned everything red. We put on music and we were having a great time with the whole staff, listening to Dimmi, Promesses (the Obama song) – the speach that says:
“it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what you look like or where you love…”
One of the guys told me he gets the chills everytime we listen to it. We agreed that we would listen to it every evening on the rest of the trek.
even this 76 year old german guy came by to have a look
the greatest sunset
The guys on the pictures include Agapit, Rashiti, Kalisti, Thomas, Calvin, Gofrey, Hilary.
People around here believe it is the gateway to hell…
Sure enough it’s an intimidating experience: Its in the middle of the night and just few meters away waves of lava are splashing into the mountain side spraying lava up into the horizon in front of us.
Located at 160m below see level the Danakil Depression is the lowest, hottest and most hostile place on earth. The vulcanically active areas found in this desert are surreal: they look like something from a different planet. Some friends I have shown these pictures thought they were manipulated. They are not.
The Danakil region is inhabited the Afar people and their salt miners go here to chop salt blocks from the flat grounds. Caravans go from Afar Salt Mines to Mekele, the nearest large town, where 5 kg blocks of salt are sold for 22 Ehtiopian Birr, the equivalent of just one American dollar.
In September (2014) I went to the Lava Lake at Ert Ale (smokey mountain). The following days we saw a salt lake, a sulphur lake, salt mountains, an oil lake and the salt miners of the Danakil.
By the Lava Lake on Ert Ale at midnight
The lava lake on top of this erupting volcano: wathing a volcano erupt “live”.
When We started climbing there was still a storm. Lightings were so frequent that one could easily get a picture
On the way down the Ert Ale after slepping on top of the mountain we had this sunrise
The salt lake in the Danakil Desert is incredible; on a wide stretch everything is completely white.
Sunset at Saltlake with my friend Birhan
The surface was entirely hard
The sulphur lake looks like something from a different planet. Everything is yellow, green, blue, red.
It was 34 degrees celsius at this time but it gets above 50 during the day in the hot season. At this time the whole area is active.
A closer view of the suphur crystals.
One could break off pieces of the salt mountain and eat it
Salt mountains – looks gothic.
The Oil Lake was about 60 degrees warm so you could put your hands in it and be surprise: it really is oil and not colored water. The consistency is litterally like oliveoil. I can’t recommend tasting it, it burns quite badly.
These salt miners work in 40-50 degrees to chop of 5 kg blocks of salt and sell them for 22 birr (1 dollar) a piece.
See more photos on the page for the Danakil Depression.