Huge forest filled hills plunge down towards the river Arun where it winds its way into the national park Makalu-Barun, north-east of Nepal. A narrow path follows the river, but not along the river bank. A thousand meters up, a thousand meters down. Three day’s march from the nearest road, at the foot of the Himalayas, lies the village of Hongon.

This is the home of the Bhote people. The village is isolated and has yet to be affected by the massive mountain tourism that takes place further west. Only a few years ago the national park was opened to all people. Therefore, the area is affected by poverty and low development. No electricity, poor schooling and total lack of health care.

- Life is difficult here. It is a place where you have to work hard every day. If you don’t work, you will get nothing back. You always walk around with an axe, a knife or a shovel. You have no choice, says Chheji Bhote.

Her face is wrinkled and all the teeth in her mouth are gone. Chheji looks like she is well over 80, but is only 64. She has given birth to eleven children. Only six of them are alive. The lack of health care means that people die if they become ill. This is the reality of such remote areas in Nepal. Help is several days away.


Story by Sindre Thoresen L√łnnes