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Due to the Nepal fuel crisis, I arrived at Mountain View Eco Farm (MVEF) in the late afternoon an hour or so from sundown. My first impression was the incredible view from the hilltop location of MVEF. Standing on the lawn adjacent to the farmhouse, the view included the glaciated Annapurna Mountain Range turning a beautiful shade of orange and below, Begnas lake nestled among the foothills of the Himalaya. Govindas wife and father greeted me with the traditional tika and a flower necklace. Just beyond the lawn were rows of organically grown lettuces and a greenhouse full of ripening tomatoes, and two dairy cows munching on freshly cut forage. I was taken to my room, a quaint and comfortable room adjoined to the traditional rustic Nepali house. It was good to home.

I can recall the first time Govinda talked to me about his dream to establish his own organic farm. I was volunteering at the Sustainable Agriculture Development Program in the picturesque Kalesty Valley in Central Nepal, where Govinda was working as the farm manager. Over the previous few months, Govinda and I had become good friends. He had gone out of his way, and beyond his duties to ensure that I had the best time possible during my stay. Over that time, I had come to appreciate the sincerity, honesty and integrity that guided Govinda. I also came to appreciate his impressive work ethic, which was led not only by his upbringing on a farm, but by his passion for the cause of organic agriculture. Toward the end of my stay, when he asked whether I might like to help make his dream a reality, I agreed to help him fundraise for his own NGO.

Five years have passed. I write this at Govinda’s farm – MVEF, overlooking the Annapurna mountain range and Begnas Lake below. After I returned to Australia, I helped Govinda raise money to establish his vision. Apart from some financial help from others, and myself the credit goes in its totality to Govinda. MVEF now has a professional webpage, a farm site with an incredible view, a number of organic vegetables growing on site, connections with volunteering agencies who help send volunteers from around the world, and now a beautiful young family to share it all with – Chetena his wife and their 15 month old son Siddhartha (I might add that Chetena is an incredible cook!). Soon, Govinda and his family will be moving farm site to a piece of land near Rupa lake, overlooking the same Annapurna mountains to the North and with an equally incredible view to the South – somewhat reminiscent of the Vinales Valley in Cuba. I’d encourage anyone with a desire to travel to Nepal, to visit MVEF.

Benjamin Humphrey (Ben), Australia

 


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