Sunday, September 30, 2012

Nepali Fundraiser Whets the Appetite of Diners at St James Church




The Friends of St James Church in Dalby work hard to raise funds for charity, but with an autumnal chill  in the air and a chance to taste the food of Nepal this proved, for some, irresistible.

Sold out before the ink was dry on the tickets, the old schoolroom was stuffed as a Nepali ravioli, with the prospect of a three course meal whetting diners appetites and the opportunity to learn more about the work of the Pahar Trust within this land-locked region.

With the distinctive Nepali flag decorating the tables, some of the country’s artefacts exhibited around the hall and the aroma of cooking filling the room, the scene oozed with conviviality. Our supper was prepared by Dolma Sherpa, a native of Nepal and her husband Tony Parr who live in Kirk Michael, where they also arrange exciting treks and expeditions to the Himalaya in association with Budget Adventure Treks and Expeditions of Kathmandu.

Feeding the hungry masses was a huge logistical exercise, and as Dolma quietly and diligently got on with the job in hand she was ably assisted by a network of hard working helpers who passed a variety of freshly made starters amongst the tables which included spicy chick peas, peanuts and the aforementioned Nepali ravioli, generously stuffed with assorted meat. This was followed by a choice of main course with steamed rice suitable for both carnivores and vegetarians and a distinctive rice and coconut pudding for dessert. Washed down with fresh lemon soda and the distinctive taste of spiced Nepali tea, Dolma and her hard working team were now able to sit back and enjoy the rest of the evening, as they handed over to Howard Green of the Pahar Trust.

Set up as a charity in order to raise funds to build schools for the children of Nepal and with Howard Green as its Chairman, the Pahar Trust is currently based in Onchan, although its work is well known across the Island.

We dallied over the sensorial delights of the Nepali menu but Howard’s talk about the charity’s work quickly opened our eyes to the rigors of daily life in Nepal which bears little resemblance to our own. We were charmed by the scenic landscape and the legions of smiling children, but saddened by the devastation of natural disasters and the lack of facilities which we take for granted.

Despite this the inhabitants of the mountain region appear to be at peace with themselves, and likely could teach those of us in the west a thing or two about living within our means and how to resist a sometimes misplaced value in consumerism.

Howard’s work in Nepal is greatly appreciated by its people who ask for little, but cheerfully emerge from their homes to help build much needed new schools for the region where the value of education is seen as an important asset for the future.

Many brightly coloured hand-made artefacts from Nepal were bought by diners at the event followed by a raffle with prizes generously donated by local businesses based in the west of the Island.

Proceeds from the evening will be divided between the Pahar Trust, Hospice Isle of Man and St James Church as they continue with restoration and refurbishment of the main building.

Valerie Caine
© September 2012

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