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INTERVIEW. Alain Laville, lover of the Himalayas takes the book and surrenders with an open heart

INTERVIEW. Alain Laville, lover of the Himalayas takes the book and surrenders with an open heart

the important thing
Alain Laville, originally from Rampoux in Lot, has lived in Nepal for 23 years, is engaged in mountaineering and mountaineering, in 1996 he went to Nepal for the first time and fell in love with it. Edilivre publishes the book “Himalaya with an open heart”.

In 2000, Alain Laville left his job at the Ministry of Economy and Finance in France and moved to Nepal, with only two suitcases containing 65 kg of personal belongings including his photo albums, a tie and a suit, remnants of his past that he absolutely does not deny. Today he lives with his Nepalese wife and two children. He devotes part of his time to health and education associations. An interview with this Himalayan enthusiast.

What are you doing in Nepal today? Talk about associations, tell us about your everyday life and your obligations?

I am engaged in the modest activity of a social worker in contact with the population. We are currently organizing campaigns to distribute quilts or blankets in the cold season, because in Nepal people die from the cold every winter. We did a lot of work after the 2015 earthquake by distributing tons of rice, other food products to several villages and restoring water systems, which were damaged by the ground shaking. So, by returning the water, we bring life back to the villages. We distributed a lot of food baskets during covid in several areas of Kathmandu when people without jobs could no longer eat. Finally, I am the education of sponsored children. All this is possible only with the help of associations and donors, to whom I hereby thank. Finally, I have two sons who will soon leave the nest, as they say, and I need to find solutions and contacts in France where they want to go live one day. All this occupies my time and my thoughts enough.

Lotois with nomads in Tibet in 1997
DR

What is life like in Nepal after the pandemic and the global economic crisis?

As for the pandemic, I believe that we tolerated things better than in France if I believe the atmosphere that prevailed in France for two years. Here, people wore masks, a safe health distance was established, vaccinations were introduced. But economic activity stopped and practically put millions of people on the street, without income, without work, and some even without a roof over their heads. Today, tourism is starting again, it is the economic lung of Nepal. But the cost of living has increased dramatically (+25.30%) for everyday products. Life remains a challenge for ordinary Nepalis. Behind us.

What changes have you noticed in Nepal in 23 years?

Sometimes I tell myself that nothing is changing when I see waste piling up in the rivers, poor people, often the elderly, begging on the street. But, of course, the education of long-neglected girls has greatly improved. The health sector benefits from well-equipped hospitals, the only problem is that you have to have the means to treat yourself. Finally, something recent and important, young people on the fringes of political parties seem to want to take control of the country’s destiny, pulling things up, as the newly elected mayor of Kathmandu seems to want to do. But the influence of political parties is still strong and often harms the general interest.

Do you return to Lot from time to time? What do you feel?

Delicate question, I haven’t been back since 2011. I don’t think you can escape your past, those years make you look back on your childhood and what later led to personal choices. In this sense, the 20 years spent in Lot, in Rampoux, were made up of the pleasant things of childhood and youth. I plan to develop this in my next book. However, the life I lead in Nepal makes me focus on the future. In any case, I think that Lot is full of culinary-tourist treasures, a center of activity and a certain quality of life, that is, a certain quality of life.

INTERVIEW.  Alain Laville, lover of the Himalayas takes the book and surrenders with an open heart

The cover of his latest book
DR

What is your book about?

There are journeys and countries from which you never fully return. Like Nepal or Tibet. Like many, I was also marked by my stay in these countries. Contact with the local population, despite the language problem, was always equally warm, in contrast to the cold evenings in the Himalayas, often punctuated by the song and dance of the natives. There are images that remain, there are stories that last. There are people we meet whose faces, smiles and sometimes tears are never forgotten. There are those moments of travel, of sharing, of togetherness, when you tell yourself that you will leave your baggage and stay with someone you meet. He shares these two cookies at the Drolma La pass, Tibet, as a symbol of brotherhood. There is also that endless sadness when you leave the country and collapse, when a friend puts his hand on your shoulder and says: “Yes Alain, it’s over, you’re sad”. And in your so-called normal life, there is this feeling that you cannot be free when you know that others, brave but sometimes destroyed, are not free in their own country. Writing allows you to express feelings, emotions, faces in words and to ease a little the sadness of not being with those you once met, saw and sometimes saw again. This book is the result of all that, written without a doubt from the heart and as a sign of respect for all the characters in the book. With the desire to share a little of this adventure and togetherness with the readers.

Food distribution after the 2015 earthquake

Food distribution after the 2015 earthquake
DR

Tell us an anecdote or a person who marked you in the Himalayas?

I refer this question to my book, which is full of significant encounters and anecdotes. To single out two situations (outside the book), I would say that I was impressed by the resilience of the Nepalese after the 2015 earthquake and the strength of the Tibetans, which I also talk about in the book. An anecdote would be that old woman who came to have her tooth extracted at the dental health camp. After the extraction she lost consciousness, it took 8 glasses of water mixed with coke to bring her back to full reality. We learned from her daughter that she spent the night in the corn field where she took care of weeding, and weeded during the day. She didn’t eat for two days. Her husband went in to extract the teeth, he didn’t pay attention to the woman who was still lying on the ground. The lady went home carried on her daughter’s back. In this way, dozens of stories can be told that will be the subject of a book that will be written soon.

What do you think about the new face of the “business” Himalayas, the mountain highway, pollution and waste in the mountains?

On this issue, and I’m not an expert, I would say that the opening of access roads to places that used to be accessible only on foot also brings its inconveniences: more tourists, overcrowding of places like in Annapurna, price increases in lodges and hotels. So much so that Nepali agencies are looking for other routes in this part of Nepal. Much has already been said about the pollution of the site, including the bodies of climbers left lifeless in the Everest sector. There are cleaning actions, but actually the solution lies in disciplining people: “Don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to you.” Do you want your trash to stay outside your door? Obviously not”. So don’t throw anything on the ground, leave the place clean. As for the Nepali government, it adapts to this tourism business because this term often has the word “Business” at the expense of intelligent and sustainable tourism. Because one day if nothing does not take action, the sector will unfortunately come to an end if the sites are too busy and dirty.However, the new generations, I am convinced, will react to this problem, proposing a wiser tourism.

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