Collin Richie in Nepal
In February, I traveled to Nepal with several friends, including Phil Templet, well known around Spanish Town as Blind Phil. This trip was organized by Adam and Abby Pitts, for their organization CompassionAsia. CA works in rural Nepal helping with schools, sex trafficking, and housing and educating blind children. Phil—who had never left the United States, and has been
completely blind for 10 years—accompanied us to assist in vocational and life skills training for the 17 children cared for by CA. We spent the majority of our time in the Jumla region, a very remote area in Northeast Nepal. We had to travel by a 6-seater prop plane through the Himalayas, at the whim of the weather and the pilot’s hangover at the time. From the airport, with a runway that doubled as a pasture, we traveled by Jeep for five hours into the mountains. We stayed at the CA encampment in the mountains, with no electricity or running water, for several days working with the children and the pastor who oversees their care. The majority of the people here were Evangelical Christians, and they had a passion that was fascinating to photograph. After several days, we had to trek out due to rockslides caused by a snowstorm. This presented a challenge for Phil, as the trail was very difficult. It took us almost 12 hours to make it back to the region’s main city, and we were further trapped for days waiting for a flight out. This was a small segment of our trip that included Nepalgunj, Kathmandu, and other regions of the country. I have traveled many places, but traveling with a blind man was truly an experience. I had to think more about every step and describe everything I saw.