Mark Galpin’s recent trip to Mugu
Mark Galpin’s recent trip to Mugu

I have had the privilege of regularly traveling to Mugu, in
the far North West of Nepal – since I first arrived in Nepal
nearly 10 years ago. The scenery always takes my breath away and at this time
of year with snow on the tops of the hills, the yellow of the wheat ready to
harvest, and the fruit trees beginning to blossom, it is as beautiful as it

Amidst this beauty Mugu remains one of the poorest places in
Nepal, and yet
I was astounded with the changes that have occurred in the last few years. The
road to Jumla (2 days walk to the south) has meant that goods from outside are
cheaper and much more available as they can be more easily transported into
Mugu on the backs of mules rather than flown in at exorbitant cost. Local
infrastructure has improved with a road up to the airport from the bazaar and improved
school and hospital buildings.  Visiting
outside the bazaar area, a number of villages had solar panels and decent water
systems – a more reliable supply of water and electricity than comes to my
house in Kathmandu

It was encouraging to hear about the changes in peoples
lives brought about by UMN and other organisations working here over the years – toilets are now common and in use, women give birth in the house rather than
in the cowshed, and caste barriers are gradually being broken down. The changes
brought about by UMN’s partners were also exciting with new crop varieties
being grown to tackle hunger and better education opportunities being provided,
particularly for those traditionally excluded.

There are still huge
challenges and deeply engrained poverty, however these signs of transformation
indicate that change can happen and people can be lifted out of poverty.  Perhaps the most encouraging thing was
meeting the UMN staff – a small but committed team of capable people – working
and living closely together, demonstrating the qualities of a serving
community, and working with others for the transformation of society in Mugu.
Please continue to pray for them, for UMN and our partners, and for the people
of this beautiful but tragically poor area.

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